When you’re a new mom, it is very easy to get burned out on motherhood fast. The lack of sleep, trying to figure out why the baby is crying, and nursing all the time really take their toll.
But it’s not just new mamas.
Even if you’ve been at this mom thing for a while, you can become burned out too.
Is Mom Burnout Real?
Yes, it’s a real thing and not some hashtag everyone’s jumping on. This is when you feel exhausted, and like you’re going through the motions as a parent instead of feeling present.
You may have doubts about your abilities or if you’re doing things right at all. Mom burnout involves physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion.
And on top of that, you may even be working too. This takes a toll, whether it’s from home or back at the office. You feel bad that you’re working when you should be home with the littles.
For those staying home, you may feel like you have no life. No matter what kind of lifestyle you live, you can experience that mom burnout.
And then, let’s look at the roles we play in our homes. You may have a husband who expects you to be the primary caregiver who – even when you have a job – must go pick up the kids from school. You likely cook all the meals and do most of the cleaning too.
But how do you know you’re not just having a bad day or if you have true mommy burnout?
What to Watch for with Mommy Burnout Symptoms
It doesn’t matter if you are a stay-at-home mom, a mom that works from home, or a mom that leaves the house to go to work. ALL moms can experience this type of burnout.
If you show these symptoms, take it seriously and get some help. You do not have to carry the entire world on your shoulders. I know we all try to do that, but it’s not possible for any of us. Set it down and pick yourself back up.
No matter what kind of mom you are, if you have mommy burnout, you are likely feeling extreme mental fatigue or physical exhaustion… probably BOTH of those things.
Burned out moms also have a short fuse. It’s easy for even the smallest thing to set you off. That’s because you feel emotionally bankrupt and like there is nothing to look forward to in your future.
Moms who feel burned out feel disconnected and isolated, even from their kids. This spawns a ton of guilt and those feelings that you don’t measure up. You may even question your life choices in a why-did-I-do-this-to-myself kind of way.
Your fantasies may be your only form of escape too. You may catch yourself shaken from a charming reverie where life is rosy in some appealing way to you, like a daydream.
Because you feel so rundown from all this, you may even do the opposite of what you need, which is to stay connected with others. That includes your partner as well as your friends and family.
If you are going through all this and saying, “OMG, that’s me,” then you need to stop shoving your needs aside and start dealing with them.
And it is normal to feel like you’re doing a terrible job and unappreciated AT TIMES. But if you feel like this ALL the time, you deserve better.
What to Do About Mommy Burnout?
You need a break, and the sooner, the better. Ask for this help from your husband, parents, in-laws, or a friend. You must carve time for yourself each day to avoid these feelings.
I love the analogy about being on an airplane and putting your mask on first before anyone else in your row if the cabin pressure changes. It’s true…you need to care for yourself first because you will not be able to help anyone else.
Let’s put it another way…if you have to serve your family orange juice for breakfast, you can’t pour anything into their cups if there is nothing in the juice pitcher, can you? You are that pitcher…you need to fill yourself up and care for your needs.
You matter too, and I’d love for you to start making yourself a priority again. Those kids need you to love yourself and do what’s needed for yourself.
I wrote a post a while back about why you need a break and how to get it, so check it out for how to get through this. If you feel like nothing is working, it helps to ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist who can help you start feeling more like yourself again.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.