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Updated: Apr 8, 2022

I was just reading an article about mommy burnout on - 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.

  • Isolation

  • Feeling resentment towards loved ones

  • Waking up tired and unmotivated, possibly even depressed

When you start reaching the burnout phase - in fact scratch that, when you start feeling not quite like yourself, even if its just a bad day - take action with these 5 things that nurture self care.

1. Recognize it for what it is, if you can, and make a plan of action to take some time to yourself

What it is... its your body's way of saying you need a break. Let your body guide you, when its telling you you need a break - take it. Do you notice any patterns? Would it serve you to have some regular time to yourself? or are you okay on the hustle and need to crash and rejuvenate then get back at it. Try to make it happen, whatever type of selfceare is right for you. And hey, its not all going to happen like a well oiled machine all of the time, and that's okay, because raising kids is a HUGE responsibility - you may have weeks that will not permit you having even an hour to yourself but once you're through that storm take action to get yourself back on a schedule that is manageable. One which allows you some down time to recharge. Striving for a perfect and balanced schedule may stress you out more if it doesn't work out as well as you planned.

2. Journaling

One of the ways I cope through the ups and downs of a day is to keep a journal, I keep one in my phone and if something is on my mind whether I'm annoyed or feeling insecure I just go and type it all out - it gives me a sense of release. That my mind doesn't need to hold onto this anymore because here it is in black and white written down. Even though typically I delete the note it still has a powerful effect of releasing what is going on in my brain so I can focus on more important things. When these small releases of stress don't add up or cloud my day I notice I don't get burned out as quickly.

3. Claim a Siesta

I went through a long phase, when my schedule was little different, where I noticed around 2 or 3 pm I could get both of my kids busy with either a coloring project or a TV show. I took this time as modern day Siesta, I'd brew myself a cup of coffee and sometimes sneak into another room and put on a show that I actually wanted to watch, or I'd read a book and work here on my blog. It was great and a moment in my typical day that I actually looked forward to regularly because it was a little bit of a break to recharge before I had to think about getting dinner ready.

4. Schedule time for yourself on your calendar

Somewhere between feedings and diaper changing I created a habbit of putting everything I needed to get done on my calender, and it just kind of stuck with me. I have a color code, each for a responsibility I need to stay on top of - yellow for kids, pink for myself, a family shared red (where my husband can also stay in the loop) and Blue for household chores and forget me nots. It all started by needing to stay on top of my feeding times when my son was an infant, it grew into a place that helped me track his progress- like how much he ate (mommy brain got in my way of many pediatrician appointments lol) and now it's my lifeline. So the rule is, what goes into the calendar is set in stone. Once I adopted a "respect" for the calendar I was able to carve out time for myself that could give me time I needed to decompress without feeling guilty or like I was taking time away from someone else in my family. I joke about this all the time now, its like akin to how a budget is permission to spend, having a schedule is permission to use your time as you need to.

5. Reach out for support

We can't do it all alone. Having a family is a big job. Reach out to the people who make you feel the best about yourself, and who remind you of who you really are to get that pep in your step again. Better yet schedule a dinner date, or coffee date with a friend and go have fun and feel like yourself again.

Reaching out for support can also include recognizing that you can't do it all, and maybe you have too much on your plate. Reach out to services or support groups that can help you where you need it. Whether it be free after school activities to get the kids out of the house for an hour, or a friend willing to come clean your house for a fraction of the cost it would cost a professional would do it - outsource anything you need to get yourself back on track.

Please remember you are not in this alone, we all face the burden of motherhood now and then. Parenting is hardly ever perfect and as a caregiver you are the foundation of your household, it's important to stay strong, healthy and happy. Mental health is health.

Are there any self care tips that are your favorite go-tos? lets us know in the comments and thanks for reading.

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