Updated: Apr 8, 2022
I was just reading an article about mommy burnout on today.com - and it got me thinking... No-one ever tells you being a mother or a parent is a never ending gig. I mean its blatantly obvious of course, but truth be told there are many things I didn't realize before becoming a stay at home mom! I mean, yea sure, you'll never sleep again because infants don't sleep through the night (and spoiler alert neither do toddlers...). You have feeding schedules, school drop offs and play dates yup all true! With all of the word of mouth parenting advice the advice stops there it seems.
The truth is that once your child starts sleeping through the night you're on to the next milestone they need to hit, the endless laundry and meal planning - throw in incessant jumping and screaming or tantrums for no particular reason and it can get really overwhelming. I have been pulling my hair out for 6 months now trying to figure out how to potty train my youngest boy, and I've tried every tip and trick in the book - all the books for that matter! He's just not interested. UGHHHHHH. I just (gently) want to shake him and say... help me help you, for the love of god- help. me. help. you! But alas here we are, he wakes up in the morning takes his pull-up off himself, gets a new one on and hides the dirty one so we won't know he went in his pull-up... I mean the least he could do is put in the trash, but no, I find dirt diapers in every drawer and closet - no wonder we can't find where the "mysterious smell" is coming from.
I've reached the point of no return in being fed up. I'm actually fed up with being fed up. My focus is constantly being diverted with some new thing I need to work through with the kids. It has taken me years to realize just how important it is to make sure I have adequate self care as a stay at home mom. Burn out is all too real.
It's important to know when you're feeling burnt out.
For me I start to get caught up in the day to day. I get into a displaced state of mind, where I'm just going through the motions like pre-programmed routine of housework, morning routines, food prep ...and I don't think about my needs at all. When burn out starts lurking into my world I'm already way past the point that a small break or quick walk around the block could fix. I don't even recognize I'm burnt out until I'm acting out a lot of the time.
I now notice that there is a pattern forming, and I have figured out that I'm starting to feel burnt out when my inner talk changes, its in the occasional mood swing and when I start resenting my husbands time outside the house that isn't work related, like going to the gym. Once this sets in my mind starts spiraling and I start feeling trapped.
My natural instinct is to push those feelings down and keep chugging along because the whole family depends on me. But when I push those feeling down further more hostility pours out of me, like yelling at the kids for little things - which makes me feel ugly and guilty and completely out of control, especially if it ends up with my kids in tears for something that isn't justified. I fly into fits of sobbing on a daily basis, which I think is how my body is coping with the stress I'm feeling. this has been a long personal struggle and journey in which I've learned that I need to get to know myself a lot better if im going to be a successful stay at home mom.
Getting to know yourself is important, if you want my advice start taking action today and identify the early signs that you're starting to go down the rabbit hole of burnout? Some common signs are:
Losing interest in things you typically enjoy
Lack of sleep
Changes in your appetite
Anxiety or worrying more than usual
Mood swings that are not tied to hormonal fluctuations
Task paralysis - feeling like just one more responsibility will make you lose it.
Feeling resentment towards loved ones
Waking up tired and unmotivated, possibly even depressed