Ever wake up for work, reluctant to get out of bed, and feel like you want to call in? Or in mom life- like you just need a moment away from your kids, like there isn’t possibly anymore you could offer of yourself to them or anyone else, for that matter? That’s called mom burnout, and it’s so real.
First, I want to say it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Second, everyone experiences it. Third, you are enough! Fourth, don’t let it steal your joy!
The truth is we guilt ourselves into believing that we should be on top of it all the time, and that we should want to spend 24/7 with our kids, significant others, and family. We guilt ourselves into believing that we should be going to the gym daily, have our kids involved in extracurricular activities, the neat house, healthy home-cooked food for every meal, our life should center around everyone else and our house, and not have a single complaint. But, that’s unrealistic, and batshit crazy.
The first year of life with twins, I tried to be supermom, because I’ve always been the type to try to juggle way too many tasks. I was the employee at Fairbanks, the mom to twins, the fiancé, the chef, and the maid. I was moody, exhausted, and in a complete fog. Not only was I dealing with the normal tasks with having a house and family, but also PPD/PPA. The burnout became so so real, and it hurt.
The second year of motherhood, I realized I needed to make some changes. I won’t deny that I have tough days, but I’ve followed a few ideals, which have helped better the burnout in my life, and I suggest you try them to see how they work for you!
1. Slow. Down.
You don’t need to do everything in one day. I felt like I had to run all my errands in just one day, rather than spreading them out over the week. I felt like I needed to get everything I could done, and manage the house and kids. You don’t need to. Worry about the mess later. When the kids nap, lay down and relax. Create a designated PJ day. No hurry, don’t worry!
2. Put yourself first
Buy yourself the shirt you’ve been eyeing, eat your warm meal first, shower/take a bath, go get a mani/pedi, travel, go to therapy. Whatever it is that will make you feel better. For example, I get facials, and go to therapy once a month. I schedule it the month ahead, and tell my mother and husband when it’s scheduled. I know I’ll be going, because it’s in both of their calendars well in advance. If my husband is out of town, my mom will have the time set aside and help or vice versa.
3. Set boundaries
Just say no. I know sometimes it’s not that simple, but you need to be realistic with yourself and your partner. You truly can’t do it all.
4. Let your child do things him/herself
You don’t need to entertain your child all the time. You don’t need to hold your child all the time. Set your child down to play. Let them watch an episode of Mickey Mouse. If your child can feed themselves, let them. It’ll probably be a mess, but OH WELL. Do what you need to do while they entertain themselves.
5. Walk away
Kids throwing their dinner on the walls. Kids climbing on the counter. Kids hanging from the chandelier… okay maybe not that dramatic, but sometimes kids can be a$$holes, and it’s FRUSTRATING. If you feel anxious, stressed or like you’re going to blow, W A L K AWAY.
6. Laugh it off
This goes with the last point- walk away and laugh it off. Even if it’s the crazy maniacal laugh. Let it out. This is emotional homeostasis, and it’s important for moderating feelings.
To begin with, the mere fact of believing that you can regulate your emotions has been correlated with “increased levels of well-being and decreased psychological distress.” In turn, individuals who reappraise negative feelings—meaning they take time to change their views on a situation to which they reacted negatively at first—“express greater positive emotion and lesser negative emotion.”
7. DON’T FEEL GUILTY
I save this for last, because it’s so easy to feel guilty and it should be the takeaway point. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t do it- don’t feel guilty. About ANY of this. Don’t feel guilty that you’re having pizza tonight for dinner. Don’t feel guilty that the laundry is in a pile, rather than hung up neatly. Don’t feel guilty that you went to the grocery store in the afternoon rather than in the morning. You’ll live. They’ll live. Everything will be fine.
It’s important to remember that you can only give so much, whether it’s mentally or even physically (I’ve been guilty of giving my kids my food-even though they have their own-but mine just looks better). It’s okay to be selfish sometimes. In order to be the best parent you can be, you also need to take care of yourself.