Mommy burnout: 10 ways you can beat it like a Pro
Being a Stay-At-Home mommy (SAHM) or a Work-from-Home Mom (WFHM) is certainly the most underrated job one can think of. You might have quit your job or taken a career break to look after your toddlers. But that actually means – No power naps (because anyway, ‘Good Bye’ siestas! 🙁 ), no peaceful meal times, spending more time in the kitchen than in any other room, never-ending laundry, stealing snacks from your own cabin (Shh…without letting the wrapper into crinkling sounds, of course). And not to forget, no bathroom privacy! So, you’re already breaking into a tear or are holding your Tarzan’s yell back to yourself only to protect your domestic honor. These are obviously signs of a ‘Mommy burnout’ you’re suffering from, Mama! And your life may be very well summarized into this picture!
I’ve been there, done that too. And I can tell it’s better said than done to take motherhood with a pinch of salt. Well, we’ve managed to multitask over 50 things a day with steady practice. So, you know that nothing happens overnight. Nevertheless, you can fight a mommy burnout with absolute finesse in the following 10 ways:
1. Give yourself the first care
Now before you start thrashing me for saying something like that, let me ask you just one thing. Have you ever been able to take great care of your kids & family while you were terribly sick? Or have you hustled on those days to let them not suffer, only to fall more sick the next day? I know, moms ALWAYS put their kids first on their list of priorities but emotions apart, think technically. Especially, in the Indian scenario thinking about yourself before the kids is equal to a SIN! But, you know what, you should just CHUCK THAT! You cannot care for anybody if you cannot look after yourself well. A toddler at home means a hell lot of work, that too, 24/7!
I remember thinking like you until my daughter started walking. I realized that when I fell sick, the husband couldn’t make good customized food for the baby, so that meant excessive breastfeeds & abhorrent resting time for me. On other days, later on, restaurant parcels often sequelled into an upset stomach for the kid.
But how do you take care of yourself to prevent a mommy burnout?
- Make some time for fitness: Wake an hour or 30 minutes before your usual time to just ENJOY a walk, jog, Yoga time, or even simple stair-climbing. You’ll love catching some fresh air the first thing in the morning than clutching your hair up into an ugly bun to start cooking breakfast otherwise.
- Set aside a casual break time: if you happen to have your breakfast alone in peace after everybody leaves for work & you’ve dropped your kid to the playschool/school. Listen to your favorite music, browse through your feed or do anything you could then but tending to a chore immediately.
2. SOS: Borrow Help
You absolutely don’t have to feel guilty if at all you feel you cannot handle the house alone anymore. Hire a maid if you can, or simply ask for some help from your husband. NO. Your being a SAHM or a WFHM doesn’t mean that the house is all delegated to you & not your other half. You may be the heart of your home now, but you definitely cannot pump beyond your limits if the other organs do not coordinate along. If your partner works until late, simply share some quality time with him when he’s back. Do not demand it though. Engage in natural conversations & topics, exchange ideas & motivation for each other. That’s going to be a lot of win-win for both of you. Because, at the end of the day, sometimes, a little pep-talk is all that you need.
Of all the social media feeds, un-follow insignificant people, pages & groups right away. Especially on Facebook & Instagram. I’ve been saving a lot of my time after un-following irrelevant celebrity profiles, groups, pages & people on my social media. I’ve even un-followed my favorite celebrities, because their life events & brand promotions add no value to my time. Mute the boring but obligatory WhatsApp groups. What happens otherwise is that you sit lurking over your feed & the scrolling never stops unless you look up when your eyes start heating up & it’s already pick up time for your children. So, you panic & hope to rush over preparing lunch in a horrible hurry! Consequently, that leads to a mommy burnout again.
4. Comparison – the stepping stone to ‘Mommy Burnout’
Very contrary to what you think of your ‘the ideal mom’ friends, none of them is perfect. Like I always say, there’s no ‘perfect’ parenting style; however we can try to make parenting better & smoother by sharing our approaches. If you, therefore, feel that somebody is a much better & efficient mother than you, you’re very likely to be WRONG. That’s because, every human is different. So is every mom-&-child pair. What works for one parent may not always work for the other. So, stop feeling guilty. All the more, trying to copy somebody’s parenting style completely may give you a much worse mommy burnout.
5. Eat when everybody does
Many moms, specially in India, feed the meals to the children first & let themselves feast over their leftovers an hour or two after the serving happened. Sadly, they never realize they’re screwing up their metabolism by eating at erratic timings & the improper quantity of food. You might serve a lot of food in your picky child’s plate, which always gets wasted & you end up eating either that scanty or enormous amount of left over food, which will surely tamper with your health. What’s worse, you may be licking the lunch plate clean when it’s already going to be tea-time!
6. Teach the kids to lend help early
Kids will be kids until we start realizing that they’re outgrowing their capacities & abilities with every passing week & month. What your child could not do himself/herself the last month, could be something he/she may be ready to succeed at this time.
Encourage your child to start eating on his/her own either with the hand or suitable cutlery soon, so that feeding doesn’t remain a task for you for quite long. He/she is bound to spill the food haphazardly over the table & floor by surprisingly not staining the bib even once, but let him/her go for it. The time that will go into the cleaning will be way lesser than in feeding extensively them over time. Similarly, train your kid to put his/her toys back into the basket after playing. There are remote chances of defiance at such a young age if you say your instructions in a tone that resemble an enticing “On your mark, get set go!” This way, you’d not only minimize the mess for you to deal with after everybody sleeps, but also discipline the child the right way.
7. Steer clear from Negativity
You always have that one neighborhood aunt who finds extreme pleasure in demeaning your parenting instincts & efforts, or may be a relative who always brags about her parenting expertise with two kids, while having hired a nanny to look after the older one. I tell you, your troubles, challenges & circumstances are YOUR OWN. And you really need somebody’s back. At least, for a few words of appreciation & not advice streaming out of perpetual judgement.
Distance yourself from such people & negative thoughts, which only demotivate you no matter how hard you’re trying.
8. Take your kids out
Try to take your child(ren) out for a stroll or some nice playtime in a nearby park. Spend some time with them as both of you unwind from the boring atmosphere of home. The kids will find folks to call their new buddies & get home feeling happier. You, too, may end up becoming friends with a couple of like-minded moms & caretakers. That would mean less or NO tantrums & crankiness for you to handle at home.
9. Find your Passion
Do you have a part of you screaming at you for having quit your job? Are you always lost in an undying ‘mommy guilt’? Do you miss work? If THIS is the state of your mind, you may find work from home as the BEST outlet to your abilities. That could be breathing life & creativity into your passion, if you’ve had one. There are hundreds of Work-from-Home opportunities for moms like you. You may find these tips really useful if you’re already a Work-from-Home Mom.
10. Have a Baby-free time
There are days when you wish you could just take a break from your kid, no matter how evil this idea sounds. That’s when you should consider a day-out with your buddies or perhaps, a relaxing spa at your favorite salon, when there’s somebody attending to your kid at home.
How do you fight a mommy burnout? I hope you find this list helpful & I’d be more than glad to know how they’re working for you.
By the way, KUDOS to you, because you’re a fantastic mom!
Linking this to Write Tribe Festival of Words – June 2018 #writebravely