10 Ways to Achieve Mommy Burnout

There are few topics that allow me to present myself as an expert, but this is an exception.

There have been many times during my almost 15 years as a mother when I have experienced–maybe even asked for–mommy burnout. And while mommy burnout is probably most acute during the years when there are small, needy infants and toddlers in the home, I’ve learned that burnout can occur at any stage of motherhood.

Take this month for example. (This month we are highlighting The Power of Balance. What comic irony! I have been anything but balanced.) After moving all the contents of our home two times in one week while staying in a hotel (long story, don’t ask), hosting out of town family for my daughter’s baptism as well as a week-long reunion (part of the time in the hotel, part of the time in our new home which had neither a refrigerator nor washer/dryer for several days), immediately packing up my family (again) for a week-long reunion with the other side of the family, and then coming back home for just one day to prepare a dinner for about 70 family members at yet another larger, extended family reunion where we would be camping overnight (deep breath), I was feeling a teensy weensy bit off kilter; especially when I finally came home “for good” to a house still full of boxes and messes.

One night smack dab in the middle of all this craziness, the effects of burnout played out in a most unfortunate way. My youngest, a 4-year-old, was obviously feeling off kilter too because she woke up crying not once, but twice in the middle of the night–our first at yet another hotel. After going to bed absolutely exhausted and then spending over an hour trying to get her back to sleep around 2 am (and another hour trying to get myself back to sleep as she unintentionally kicked me over and over again), she woke up screaming and crying–again. (I thought I was done with middle of the night crying jags!)

What can I say? It was the final straw. I lost it, was less than patient, and threw a little tantrum of my own. My husband wasn’t meeting up with us until the next day, so I was doubly frustrated by not having any back up. Needless to say, by morning I wasn’t quite feeling the love for any of my children when the requests came for breakfast and clean underwear.

And therein lies the rub of motherhood: There is no day off. No mandatory 15 minute break. No vacation time. No 5:00 finish line. No TGIF. It’s a 24/7, all day, every day kind of job that can be absolutely unrelenting in its demands while receiving very little recognition, appreciation, or validation. And if you’re going at it alone on a daily diet of Diet Coke, Teddy Grahams, and adrenaline-you’re totally setting yourself up for burnout.

The good thing about my situation is that it was temporary. What’s really worrisome are the mothers who endure chronic stress day in and day out without ever taking a break. That will unravel the best of mothers. And while I feel a little guilty about illustrating all the travails of moving into a beautiful new home, experiencing my daughter’s baptism, and attending multiple family reunions with loved ones, that’s the other tough thing about feeling burnout in motherhood: it’s supposed to be wonderful, and you’re supposed to be happy about it. Like adding insult to injury, many burned out mothers heap guilt on top of their other burdens simply because they aren’t feeling deliriously happy and grateful all of the time. But everyone would agree that it’s hard to feel happy and grateful when you haven’t even had time to eat breakfast or take a shower.

Stress is stress, whether it’s the good kind that accompanies the birth of a new baby and family reunions, or the tough kind that accompanies moving and middle-of-the-night scream fests. And chronic stress leads to burnout. These past few weeks of chronic stress were a good reminder for me of why it is so important to strive for balance in both the good times and the bad, because imbalance, chronic stress, and burnout suck the joy out of every type of life experience.

Wondering if you have mommy burnout? Ask yourself if you are experiencing any of these classic symptoms:

  • chronic physical and/or emotional exhaustion or illness
  • cynicism about your situation and the suggestion that things could be better
  • a sense of powerlessness and hopelessness
  • a lack of meaning or personal accomplishment in your work
  • a general feeling of being disengaged and uninterested in your life

I don’t know about you, but I am just dense enough that sometimes I have to learn my lessons the hard way. So without further ado, I give you my personal list (from my personal experience) of the top ten ways to achieve mommy burnout.

  1. Neglect your body. Burn the candle at both ends so you are chronically sleep deprived. Stay up really late at night so you can get some “quality” alone time, and then sleep in until the kids wake you up so that your day begins with a feeling of panic and dread. Do not nap, do not exercise (not even a 15 minute walk around the block), and definitely do not eat healthy foods. When you’re feeling fatigued, eat lots and lots of simple sugar carbs and caffeinated beverages. You can’t afford the time it takes to do things that will make you feel better.
  2. Starve your spirit. Because you are waking up to the sound of children bellowing from the four corners of the earth, forget the idea of indulging in such things as personal meditation or prayer. Reading uplifting literature or scripture is also a selfish luxury you can no longer afford. Your children need you. NOW! Stop attending your usual place of worship. It’s a pain in the neck to get everyone there looking half decent, and no one wants to see or hear your wriggling, whispering children anyway.
  3. Forget fun. Leave behind all outside interests and passions that made your life full and interesting before having children. You have more important responsibilities now. Date night with your spouse is also superfluous. You need to save money for your children’s college fund, and it’s too much of a hassle to find a babysitter or try to swap with another couple. Mothers don’t have fun; fun is for kids. Anyone in a similar life situation who looks like they are enjoying themselves too much is obviously not tending to their highest priorities. Parenting is serious business.
  4. Keep to yourself. Shun the practice of socializing with friends who can commiserate and help give you perspective by laughing with you about your life. Do not join any kind of supportive group for mothers, whether it be a weekly park day or an online community like Power of Moms. No one wants to hang out with you anymore anyway since you lost your sense of fun.
  5. Practice negative self-talk. Tell yourself that you stink as a mother. All. Day. Long. Never acknowledge your accomplishments. Never make mental or physical lists of all the ways you have succeeded. Only seek validation from outside sources that value motherhood in terms of post-postpartum jean size, the ability to clean and organize, and the number of words per minute your child can read by age three.
  6. Expect perfection. From yourself, from your children, and from your spouse. Expect your home to be perfectly clean, your children to be perfectly well behaved, your body to be perfectly trim and toned, and your husband to be perfectly understanding and compliant. When you all fail at perfection (which you will), beat yourself up by comparing your small handful of weaknesses to everyone else’s real or imaginary combined strengths.
  7. Say yes to everything. Be sure to over-schedule yourself and your children by saying yes to every invitation and request you receive. Sign your children up for all the extracurricular activities they are interested in, buckle up, and drive your life away! Spend the time your children are in school at school as well, heading up every committee humanly possible. Take on extra projects at work to impress your boss so he/she won’t think you’ve gone soft now that you’re a mom.
  8. Shun all outside help. Only wimpy whiners ask for help, and no one can do it as well as you anyway. Don’t risk your child’s well-being by hiring an incompetent babysitter, don’t let a cleaning person anywhere near your bathroom floor, don’t let your husband do a load of laundry in his own special way, and–heaven forbid–don’t spend your hard earned money on precut vegetables!
  9. Avoid being in the moment. Don’t take the multiple opportunities that present themselves on a daily basis to be in the moment with your children and remember why it was you signed up for this crazy life in the first place. Stick to your ever-important to-do list and avoid playing with your children. Do not slow down to linger over them and watch them do the adorable things that children do. Do not bend down or pick them up so you can look them in the eye and listen to them with all of your heart. Keep your daily routine as superficial and mundane as possible.
  10. Miss the big picture entirely. Avoid any practice of mindfulness that would help you see the big picture. Forget journaling, taking pictures or videos, reflecting with your spouse or someone else who loves your children on the joys of motherhood and the uniqueness of each of your children. Don’t take the time to celebrate the big or the little events in your family’s life that would help you appreciate the simple as well as the grand joys of being a mother. Just keep focusing on how annoying and pointless it is to try to organize the pantry while a toddler screeches and pulls on your leg for the fruit snacks on the upper shelf.

While there will always be unavoidable times of imbalance like I experienced this past month, most of us have the power to do something in our lives if they are full of chronic stress and potential burn out. (I wrote this article last year with those truly overworked and frazzled moms in mind.) I hope this post prevents at least one mother from biting the dust. See you at the playground! (Let’s taaaawk.)

 

QUESTION: Have you ever experienced mommy burnout? What caused it? How did you get over it?

CHALLENGE: If you are experiencing burnout or have successfully overcome it, please share your thoughts in the comment section below. If you know another mother who is experiencing burnout, please share this with her!

 

Photo by FV4 at Flickr.com

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    GREAT points that are always good to remember in the striving for balance. I love how you always “hit the nail on the head” with your articles! Thanks Allyson!

  2. Paula says

    I’ve been a mom for nearly 19 years. I can honestly say at some point during that time I have done all of the 10 things you describe. They NEVER work. Thanks for the reminder that motherhood is a huge job and keeping things in the right perspective is the only way to get through it.

  3. Ashli says

    I’m right in the middle of Mommy burnout and yet didn’t realize it. I just couldn’t put my finger on why I’m feeling like myself. We just finished our 2nd cross country move with 4 kids which made a total of 13 moves in 13 years. I’m tired and cranky and emotional. Thanks for the article!

  4. jenn says

    A couple of years ago I had just had my adorable twins and I was definetely experiencing mommy burn out. I was able to take a some saturday morning classes at a local college and it really helped me work through the negative feelings I was having. I think the essential things for me was getting those couple hours alone where nobody was going to talk to me about motherhood. I love me kids but sometimes you just need to not think about diapers for a couple hours! This is such a good article and i really feel for all the women experiencing burn out. I think the important thing is remembering taking care of ourselves is ok and actually helps our kids

  5. says

    I followed this prescription for 4 years and ended up in the doctor’s office suffering from exhaustion and adrenal fatigue. I am now in a process of very slow recovery. I was especially bad about staying up super late and then waking up to the sound of kids yelling for breakfast. I have given myself health problems because of my supermom lifestyle. If you are reading this and thinking, “Well, some people are weak and don’t care enough, but *I* can handle it,” please reconsider. I drove myself like a donkey and nearly ended up in the hospital. It’s just not worth it. Also, I love this article, because not enough people talk about this problem, especially the attitudes that underlie it, which are the real problem. The constant fear of ruining your children by not being perfect, etc. That can’t be solved by hiring a babysitter every now and then. You have to actually work on yourself and figure out why you have the attitudes you have. But it’s worth it to start the work.

    • maria says

      Great wisdom Lisa! I have been learning the same. Praise Jesus that we don’t have to go through that process alone. It IS so worth it.

    • Lauren says

      Lisa what is adernal fatigue? Does it have anything to do with insomnia? Because I think I may be suffering from it…do you have any advice on how to fix it? It just all of a sudden hit me and for the past month I just stopped sleeping and finally realizing I may be have burn out…

  6. says

    Great post–unfortunately, all of the items on the list have been a little too relatable at one point or another…:( Thanks for the healthy encouragement that we have the power to hope for better things.

  7. Jami says

    This has just hit home… directly. I have a 16 yr old daughter and now 6 month old b/g twins. I truly think I have accomplished just about everything on this list. And now being a single mom during the last 2 months, its gotten worse. I hope to take this list and start reversing something one day at a time and get back to a better, more happier & pleasant me!

  8. says

    Ugh just finished my SEVENTH move in 3 1/2 years!

    This time away from family and friends. It has been a fun experience but hard when the hubs is at work :-) I have been in a burn out too (for FAR too long)
    This article couldn’t have come at a better time as yesterday I made the promise to myself to slowly change things and get back to normal!
    (so far no sugar today and its almost 12!! Woo hoo! lol kinda sad i know)
    did i mention i didnt make it to our family reunion because of the move? and my grandpa died right after it?! yeah been beating myself senseless about that
    Anywho thanks so much for the article! such a needed thing right now for me. :-)

  9. jamie says

    Thank you for a wonderful article! I just had a mommy burnout moment this weekend and it helps to step back and see what I can do to prevent this. Thanks again!

  10. Mallory says

    Yes. I would like to think that I am a good Mom most of the time, but I get burned.out.bad. I am a single mother, working full time, and going to school full time. I try to stay in each moment with each thing I am doing, but I hate it when strangers or even friends that don’t have kids say, “Wow, I never thought I’d see you like that,” after I have a snappier moment with my 3 year old who throws a tantrum in the street.
    A. who wouldn’t?
    B. seriously? take one day in my life and don’t freak out.
    Burnout is real and tough, but you are right, we all need support, laughs, mindfulness, and we NEED to try of take care of ourselves.

  11. Rosie says

    Thanks for the article. This is me and you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. I will put this list up as a remindered to myself of what not to do!

  12. 5kidsmom says

    Yeah…it’s nice to know I’m not alone in this way of life. A very good reminder that I do need time for me if I want to take care of my kids. My husband is working 2000 miles away for the summer. I have spent 10+ hours a week at different dr offices for back problems. While working part time, being a mom to 5, in the YW Pres, PTA Pres, and upset with myself that dinner isn’t on the table @ 5, and my floors didn’t get mopped this week. Thanks for the wake up call.

  13. schelle36 says

    Mommy burnout nearly ended my marriage! You get lost in taking care of kids,husband, household then look in the mirror one day and have no idea what has happened. That happened to us almost 2 years ago. Since then, I have made sure that it does not happen again. The way I avoid this is by exercising every single day. Even if it is only a 15 min. walk alone when my husband gets home from work. He gets home and I leave for 15 min to walk and think and de-kid! It does not make the everyday stress of being a mom go away, it just makes it easier to deal with. Much much easier. Sometimes I even force myself to get up a few hours before my kids do and pop in a workout video. Exercising everyday has become something I have do for my mental health. Without, I would go crazy….almost did.

  14. Evie says

    yep! I totally understand Mommy burnout. I am a sahm to 6. with SURPRISE #7 on the way. my kids are 14, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2. I live on a 66 acre farm with 10 cows, 8 pigs, 3 horses, about 100 chickens, 2 dogs. you get the picture. We raise and process our own meat and have a garden that is nearly an acre in size. I think I was starting to actually enjoy my kids/ life, a whole lot. Then I found I was PG with #7, and have been in a funk since then. (10 weeks). I am exhausted, emotional, and while happy that I will have a new baby, overwhelmed by the fact that *here we go again!*. This was a great article. Helps me put things in perspective. especially as my husband left this AM for a 2 day trip. and 2 of the kids woke up crying last night. kept me up forever! then I was up at 4:15, worried my dh wouldn’t get up in time. And of course, when you are exhausted is when the kids decide that arguing over EVERYTHING is the thing to do!!!

  15. Diana says

    I can definitly say I’m in this phase now. In Nov 2010 I gave birth to my 2nd daughter. One month later my 4year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Late night blood sugar checks or crying fits from the youngest make for lack of sleep. Work outs are nonexistant and a full time job that doesn’t help to make my budget work well. I am home all day with my girls due to a lack of funds to pay for babysitting and so work evenings and weekends when my husband gets off work, family life has suffered, date nights don’t exsist. Hard to find someone to watch my girls that qualifies being able to take care of my Type 1 girl. I wouldn’t change a thing, but it has definitly taken it’s toll. Every time I try to get out of this rut something else happens. Ok now that I’m done with my fit….Thanks for the reminder :) HOpe that this will kick me in the butt!

  16. Heather says

    I am in the middle of this and it too sent me to the Dr. I am now trying to work my way back from a serious illness and trying to stay as POSITIVE as I can, not wanting to get sucked back into that whole. Thanks for the article!

  17. Carrie says

    Thank you so much for this article (and your prescription). I am going through mommy burnout right now. It began as chronic stress: I am divorced and share custody of my two beautiful children. I don’t see them for days at a time when they are with their dad who is often critical about my parenting. The fear, no matter how irrational, that he could somehow take them away makes me work so hard to be perfect. I am better for trying hard, but when I cross over into the land of unrealistic expectations, it’s not good. So much of the effects of my burnout occur below the surface (I’m anxious, distracted, tired) or behind closed doors (yelling). My solution is to try to eat well, get a little exercise and fresh air, share my feelings, accept compliments, practice positive self-talk (or at least stop the negative self-talk), take vitamins, smile and fake it ’til you make it.

  18. Susan says

    What if the explanation is two fold- there are times and moments that are simply too much work,(or we reach another phase of life with another baby or a traveling husband ) and because we tend to overadapt, try harder and harder – it leads to incapacitation. (“Overadaptation leads to incapacitation” is a way of saying it.) The daughter’s body had a way to signal overadaptation – disturbed sleep. It was her body’s way of shouting – all this activity is too much – her psyche telegraphing the stress through her body.

    Also, as intelligent, competent mothers, we may not be adept at asking for help. It may be easier to ask for help from our spouse, but in general we may not be clear-headed enough (overtired) and confident enough to size up a situation and say – I can’t do all this. We may not even know we can’t do what we are trying to do, (like grocery shopping with 4 kids) until we become incapacitated with a migraine or adrenal burnout, or simply lash out.

    And this “capacity” may not just be physical, but mental capacity – for example to go from one activity in the am., another in the afternoon, and something else in the pm., or early the next day.

    The year we vacationed with 7 young children, we had to hire a nanny, a friend at a very modest fee, to help us. After years I finally learned how to make statements that signaled my limitations while preserving my sense of competence.

    I’d say to the other adult: “We can do the morning activity or the afternoon, but we won’t do well with both – unless I have help.” Or “A sit down dinner in a restaurant? That’s going to be too much for everyone, but I’d like to go, if I can find a sitter for the younger two.” “I’ve noticed I’m always behind on laundry – I need help with that on a regular basis” – and figure out a way to trade with a friend who has a 12 year old daughter who loves to fold laundry, or pay her a few dollars.

    Very few women through the centuries took care of thousands of feet of home space, did all the cooking, all the laundry, and cared for all the children, all the time – alone. The work wasn’t divided like that. They had help, they lived with extended family or nearby, their husbands came in from the fields at lunchtime, they sent their laundry out. They had 2 outfits if they were lucky and bathed a few times a year. Modern life is very different – and we have tried to overadapt, and burnout is often the result.

    • Ruthie says

      I agree completely!

      Sometimes I feel like the only one who is shaking her head at our overly busy lives and wondering why we are all moving so fast and heaping so much pressure on ourselves. It’s like we maintain a fantasy of the past (apple pie on the window sill and grandma’s ever ready apron) and expect ourselves to replicate that in a world where families frequently live far away from each other. We feel guilt for setting boundaries (saying no) and shame when asking for help (though money is a real issue when your immediate family does not live near you).

      I’ve been trying to open my mind to building a family out of friends rather than pine for the one big happy family living in the same small town with the white picket fences and happy, smart children.

      Let’s embrace reality. I think there is tremendous peace in doing so.

    • tripletsplus1 says

      Thanks for the great post. I can’t believe I’m reading these, they’re exactly my life. So glad other women feel overwhelmed like me. I have triplets (4-yrs) a 2-yr old. ALL BOYS. Their energy level is through the roof. My issue is keeping them busy without making me exhausted. Looking forward to when they are old enough to go play outside without worrying about them playing with ridiculous things and/or going with strangers. I envy the neighbor’s mothers who can allow their 10 yr. olds to play outside.
      Just wanted to vent. I’m a 42 yr. old SAHM. I’m great at what I do. But definitely burned out. Want to exercise outside but the weather here is always hot and sticky. Will do that when it’s Fall/Winter. Until then I need to do indoor exercise with videos.
      Because I’m a “deliberate” SAHM, we don’t have the extra funds to hire. I will go back to work when our triplets go to school in one year. I am looking forward to that just to get some time with other adults. I miss my career but am waiting. Who the heck could take care of these kids alone like me? I doubt anyone for 9 hours/day while I work. Plus I feel I’m giving my kids a great gift by allowing them to be at home with me until they are in school.

  19. says

    Thank you for presenting these important ideas in such a creative way. It made me realize just how silly it is that we think we’ll have anything to offer our children if we stop nurturing ourselves.

  20. Megan says

    Thank you so much for this reminder! I just hit rock bottom on the mommy burnout. I feel like I m going CRAZY! Now I know why and I now know how to start changing and fixing this situation. I absolutely adore being a SAHM. These last 4 weeks though I have not been able to enjoy. Thank you thank you thank you. The lord knew just what I needed. Bless you

  21. BattyMom says

    Thank you so much for addressing this. It seems like most of my mom friends have it together 24-7, this is a “stigma” that one no ever talks about. I feel like I’m the only one always, always treading water! I have a child with special needs, a kid in the middle of the “f-ing 4s” and my 3rd child is my husband, who has been diagnosed with PTSD and has essentially checked out of our lives. I do EVERYTHING because he just doesn’t see the point in it, and as much as I’d like to move on with our lives, being a SAHM has pretty much made me unemployable (ironic, huh? Hardest job on earth but it makes us unqualified to do ANYTHING else!). We don’t have family nearby and I can’t leave the kids with hubby because of his anger issues, so unless they’re in school, my “me time” is GONE! I just keep reminding myself that my sanity is waiting for me at the door to their school in 6 more weeks. :)

  22. Rachel says

    If you have small children, especially several at the same time (three in three years, can I get an amen?) I think you’ll probably find you’re doing at least one of the things on this list (probably more) on any given day. Remember not to beat yourself up for that, either! I try to remember that something is better than nothing. I may not get to bed early and get up early to read the Bible and eat healthy food and be gracious about my husband’s mistakes and play with my kids and so on all in one day, but if I can do one of those things that I didn’t do yesterday, hooray for me! Just know that you’re not alone. Seriously. The mom who “has it all together” gets burned out too.

  23. Beki Olson says

    Don’t have a lot to add to this except that I am in the middle of this Mommy burnout…pretty sure I do all of the list above. Am seeing a counselor to try to get things right again. Thank you for posting this and for all of the comments that let me know that I am not alone. It was it was a good thing for me to see tonight.

  24. says

    {Kathy} Right on target. As the mom of four, 18,17,12, and 9, I can attest to everything you “suggested”. I am sharing this on our FB page. It is good for anyone to see and reflect upon. I especially like the twist you took in fooling us that burnout is something we create.

  25. Debbie says

    Pick Me, Pick Me! I’m SO on the Mommy Burnout Team right now, I’m bawling as I read this. Whoa! Thanks for writing this. I need it. I need to post this on every wall in my house to remind me of the things I can do differently to BE better and to FEEL better…

  26. Heather says

    Battymom- You did not mention if the PTSD is from military service in a combat zone. If it is, there are resources available to help him and the family, even financial assistance for families in need. I don’t know where you live but you can start at Militaryonesource.mil. There are numbers posted to call to get you in the right direction. Also, if you don’t live near a military installation, and are in fact military or veteran, google Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and/or Family Assistance Centers for your state. The key for you is to get yourself help so you can mentally support your kids and husband during this time. I am a military wife and former Army officer- you can email me if you need a little more direction- sukutathome@hotmail.com

  27. Jenny s says

    I have just one little girl who is two but still struggle sometimes with finding balance. I love the points you brought up in the article. I am a bit of neat freak and a planner. My burnout weakness is def expecting routine and perfection and it just does not happen and can get discouraging if that is what i stay focused on. This also causes me to miss the MOMENTS because I am so focused on a to do list or cleaning up after her and i get easily frustrated when she acts… Well 2… and makes messes. This evening when my husband was at work i pulled out the cookie recipe and let her hands on help me and did not let myself stress about mess at all. We had such a wonderful time and i found that after giving her 100 percent time and attention and teaching her in the process her love bucket was full (this even allowed a smooth clean up when we were done because she was content) and we laughed together and lived in the moment. i even loved that she was covered in flour head to toe and that she was able to be TWO!.
    On the other hand my strengths consistst of taking time to exercise and do things like go on walks with her which we both love. Just have to add my two cents how important exercise is and how it helps you to function as a mommy. I just go running for like 15 mins around my block in th morning before she wakes up. What a boost both mentally and physically!
    Also we have a quiet time during the day and instead of running around trying to get things done while she is quiet I take that time to sit down myself and read some scriptures. This helps me see the big picture of what i’m really doing and why i am here. It also doubles as relaxing time for us both.
    I love your articles and your website!

  28. Alicia says

    I know what this feels like. My husband & I both work full-time while sharing 1 car, figuring out babysitting situations and we just had our 2nd child. We have yet to find a good groove for getting dinner on the table or the house clean. Often I have a hard time falling asleep after my son’s 4am feeding. So fatigue is what usually does it for me. I’ve found that I relish in naps the 1 time of week I get one. And allowing time for me to socialize with women just like me makes a world of difference!

  29. LIDYA says

    LOL. AS SOON AS I WAS DONE ENJOYING THIS ARTICLE AND TRYING TO PREPARE MYSELF EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY FOR THE REST OF THE DAY, MY 6 YR OLD MANAGES TO SPILL HIS SMOOTHIE ON HIS SHOULDER AND THE COUCH AND DRIP ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE KITCHEN!! BACK TO MOMMYHOOD. HAD MY MOMENT OF REFLECTION WHILE READING…QUICKLY OVER. LOVE IT!

  30. Tamara says

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today! I am smack in the middle of the worst burnout I have ever had in 18 years of Mommying. I sooo wanted to just run away and everyone would be better off without me, since all I do is nag and cajole and beg with no change or end in sight. I am so done! The negative voices are seriously working overtime! Thank you for validating my distress and helping to put some reason for the madness. And for helping me realize that I truly DO love my family and they need ME. Here’s to making the necessary changes for myself. Step one…Realistic expectations.

  31. sara says

    Perfect for me to read–I am in the middle of a “mommy burn-out” and was just about to finish eating the entire pan of brownies (wallowing in my grief) when I found your article. It is just what I needed to hear. Thank you so much! It gave me the little charge I needed to try again and the affirmation that I’m doing ok.

  32. Allyson Reynolds says

    Wow! Thanks for all the positive feedback, everyone! Nice to know we’re all in the same boat together, isn’t it?

  33. unicorn39@gmail.com says

    O.M.G! You nailed my life exactly! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Clearly, I need to make some BIG changes! You were so spot on, and I am so tired. PERFECT reminder :-)

  34. says

    Definitely been there. Especially resonate with the meaningless work, uninterested in life.

    I also have done one of the “no-no’s” very often…assuming my friends don’t want to hang because now I have this baby that comes with me EVERYWHERE…lol

    Thanks for the encouragement and just being real.

  35. B Chadburn says

    great reminders-My Motto everything important gets done. This is for the overbooked, underpaid, overworked, etc. etc. etc. A good LOL (laugh out loud) it’s funner than crying.

  36. Kieylyn says

    Wow, this is my life. I am definetly suffering from mommy burnout. I almost quit my own education (only 1 1/2 months left) because everyone else has more important things for me to do. Thanks so much for the article. It is so easy to forget about yourself when guilt obliges you to put family first.

  37. Bly says

    I am a mom of two kids, 3 and soon to be one, boy and girl. He has become a needy toddler and she is a very attached and needy baby. I moved when she was born 1500 miles away from any family or friends I have to live in a climate I have never been in with only my children and husband. While I am starting to finally have friends here, I am so burnout I can’t stand it. I hate feeling this way toward my husband and children. I hate myself for the things I think and sometimes say. I am so short tempered, which I always have been but now it is 10 times worse. I had things under control and manageable for quite a while and now I have lost any sense of reasoning with myself. I have no time for anything enjoyable, with the kids, online college, and housework. I don’t get out of the house unless I go to the grocery store for the basics, and most times I take my daughter with me, the youngest. I haven’t been able to go on a date with my husband since Dec, and we really don’t trust baby sitters. I know on somethings we are only getting in each other’s way for getting out of the house, the other is financial obstacles. I have done every single one of those 10 no-no’s. I am desperately starved for mostly every basic need as a woman. I know I am being critical and over-dramatic, and I hear it everyday from myself and husband these analyzing remissions. I need to find a resource for these problems.

  38. margretamichelsson says

    I have just joined this website, because in spite of the pain I am in over the suicide of my son, I believe in motherhood. I need this encouragement to take care of myself. Reaching out to friends has always been hard for me. I love and enjoy my friends, but when I’m struggling, it’s difficult to call, and ask for a listening ear or a helping hand. It just occurred to me though that even though this is one of those days, I pushed my comfort zone, and sent a group text to several friends and my sisters to see if they wanted to try the bloom game with me. I’m not fond of texting, and haven’t sent a group text like that before, but I did it anyway.

    Of course some friends texted back that they just can’t get excited about it right now, but having others at least show interest, has helped take away the disappointment of me individually inviting someone and being turned down. It felt good to realize that trying something new, that challenged me, brought about a feeling of accomplishment. I inadvertently found a way to “lower the risk” of reaching out for help and being turned down, by working to increase my texting skills. Yeah me for choosing not to “keep to myself.”

  39. says

    Sheer AWESOMENESS …As hilarious and “why would we do this to ourselves” feeling that went through my head as I read through your list, I am guilty of at least 6 of the 10 ways here..and the best part is I then wonder- why do I feel so drained out! Thank you:)

  40. says

    hi I’m a mother of two a two year old and a 8 mos.old and I am experiencing a lot of those symptoms that you described in your article. I find it very hard to take care of my children because I have FASD and get constantly criticized by my in laws and husband. They think I should be doing more but I’m busy taking care of my two girls. I wish I could go back to when I had no children and could cook and clean I really enjoyed doing a lot of the household chores and being able to take care of my husband but now it’s just constant crying and screaming from my two girls and I have no time for anything. Well just thought I’d tell you a little bit about myself oh also I live with my in laws which makes it all the more difficult.

  41. stacey says

    yes, yes, yes. all of the above. thank you for a brilliantly written reminder of how easy it is to lose yourself in motherhood and how sometimes we don’t see how isolating the experience can be. there is great power in knowing that we are not alone and that we all struggle even if we wouldn’t trade our lives for anything.

  42. Babs says

    I am certainly in the middle of mommy burnout. My daughter is 2.5 and is such a joy. She is also in need of attention 24-7. The moment I start to get any sort of rhythm or structure to my week – something happends (someone gets sick, husband has to work OT, mommy’s helper goes to camp) and poof it’s gone. We do not have any family here – and have never had a babysitter. It’s just my husband and me – emphasis on me and I have certainly accomplished many of the 10 things to do to burn out. We have enrolled our daughter in preschool – and have been trying to find a babysitter that we know and can trust. I don’t want my daughter to see a burnt out mommy. I want her to see the athletic, playful, spiritual and joyful person I am. Hopefully she takes to school and we can increase the time she is there to three half days. I know exactly what we need to do – we just need to elicit the help we need in order to achieve it. I am thankful for your article – and appreciate knowing we are not alone!

  43. thriftychick22 says

    I’m laughing and crying at the same time! Every point in the article is dead on! Thank you for this and for the moms that have shared their stories here :)

  44. Jess says

    I am a bald tire catching on fire. I want to get new tires, yet I don’t know how. This post helped me see what I am doing wrong. I probably do every single thing in this list. :( In my head, super mom exists. I mind as well try to go out and find Big Foot while I am at it. It would probably be easier.
    I feel so alone sometimes with my house sometimes looking like a tornado went through it, 2 toddlers doing toddler things… did I mention I have a boy?
    All I can say is… HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • April Perry says

      Jess, we’re so glad you’re with us. Please make sure you get our Power of Moms newsletters (sign up on our right side bar). We have tons of resources for getting our homes in order, managing children, etc. Just visit the site often and let us know which topics you need!

  45. miss bliss says

    Funny, after having yet another breakdown in front of my husband, thinking that I am losing my mind I search online for “help for Mommy” and there was a link to this article. Thank you thank you thank you! I am not losing my mind, I have just been feeling the discomfort of pressure that is continually building up both from the inside, telling myself I am not good enough to take care of my children or husband or myself and the outside because everything I am taking care of constantly needs to be taken care of over and over again. It doesn’t stop, there is no break and the only person who can really change that is me. Today, right now, I decide that I am enough and I am doing the best that I can in this moment. These beautiful children that we made out of love are growing and changing every moment, it’s time to let go and take the time to enjoy them, not care so much about getting everything done everyday. Thank you for helping me to know that I am not alone in this, there are lots more mommies struggling with some of the same ups and downs that I am struggling with. As they say in Hawaii, Mahalo. Thank you for sharing. :)

  46. Tracy says

    I suffer from mom burnout regularly! My mind feels scattered, I feel crabby and sometimes depressed and I usually just want a little “alone” time, even for an hour here or there. Unfortunately, I have no social supports. My ex lives an hour away and we moved because my family is here, and the ex was an addict, and he didn’t contribute as a parent due to his selfish and destructive addictions. Each day there is renewed strength through my faith. I know this is a season but I wish I could be more energetic and give my kids more time, energy, activities, love, knowledge, fun and better clothing/food/lifestyle. I guess that is what all parents want!

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