Motherhood is a rollercoaster ride, especially for first-timers and stay-at-home mums. It’s a job where you’re always on call and break times are next to none. And things don’t get any easier as our kids get older. So, before you push your stress levels to the limit, take a step back, breathe and assess the situation. Your goal to be the next super mum may be directing you to the unhealthy path of mum burnout. If so, then it’s time to rethink our strategy!
What Are the Signs of Mum Burnout?
Mums work round the clock, ready to take care of everyone in the family. It’s a noble job, but sometimes, setting your needs aside to give your best for others can be exhausting. Spending your time doing nothing but household chores and childcare, without recharging your batteries, leads to chronic stress and mum burnout. Not sure if you’re already physically or emotionally spent? Here are some tell-tale signs:
- You’re unusually forgetful. With your mind full of tasks to accomplish for the day, not to mention all the little stress factors you have to overthink about, you’re likely experiencing mum burnout.
- You’re constantly tired. If you always feel like dragging yourself back to bed right after waking up in the morning, it’s a signal you have worries that are too much for you to handle.
- You find it hard to control your temper. And when you don’t get enough rest or sleep, you can snap and get irritated over minor things.
- You feel guilty. Setting your expectations too high can only result in disappointment and thoughts that you’re not doing enough. These negative emotions often make you uncaring or depressed.
How Can We Keep Mum Burnout at Bay?
Yes, parental burnout is not a happy sight. It’s something we need to avoid and cure because the last thing we want is to enjoy motherhood less. The first step to steer clear of mum burnout is to look after ourselves first. It may sound counter-intuitive, but we can only look after our families if we’re healthy and happy. Here are other remedies we can do to stay that way!
Know when to say “no”
No one succeeds in doing everything. So, don’t be afraid, or even feel guilty, when saying no to people making requests or adding tasks to your day. Don’t make it a goal to please everybody. Instead, keep your family, career and social activities balanced. Say yes to things that matter the most. The rest should take a back seat.
Make time for me-time
Before you became a mum, you’re probably a person who loves to exercise, paint, dance or write. Don’t stop doing your favourite hobbies just because you now have a family. Spending time for things that you love doesn’t make you a less effective parent. These can even help you relieve stress, recharge and find new friends.
If you feel happy having your nails done or putting makeup on then do those, too. Looking beautiful makes you feel the same way. It’s also good to spend your me-time with your partner or significant other. An occasional date night or daily catch up can be uplifting and lessen feelings of mum burnout. Most importantly, after a day’s work, get enough sleep. No mum can drive kids to school, change nappies and cook dinner without a good rest after all.
How can you squeeze in me-time to your already loaded day? Make a schedule, and trim it down to your most important activities. Identify priorities, tasks that you need help with and things that you can do some other time. Involve your partner and kids when creating your schedule. This way, everyone knows when nap time is or when everyone should gather for dinner. Having a set schedule lets you know when free time is, too, so you can plan how to make the most of it.
Build your support
In most cases, there’s nothing personally wrong with us mums. The problem might be the people around us. So, as much as possible, try to avoid negative people. More than anything, you need people who sincerely care for you, can help you make decisions or can be your sounding board. If you don’t have a support group yet, then make sure to build one. Other than family or relatives, mum friends are also a great addition to your positivity team. They have first-hand experiences and useful pieces of advice that can help you get through things.
It’s also essential that you include your partner or husband to your support group. Communicate your needs clearly to him so he can help you out. Let him share your daily load, be it reading bedtime stories or feeding your baby. Knowing that you have someone to rely on in case you need to do something else or are not feeling well is a big stress reliever.
Don’t baby your babies too much
Mums tend to do everything for their kids, even if they are big enough to take care of themselves. I understand that this approach can help mums feel at ease, but it’s also best to teach them how to be independent. For instance, let your little one feed himself when he already can or assign small tasks to him as he grows older. Every achievement will make you and your kids happy. Soon, they’ll be taking on greater responsibilities and helping you manage the household.
Find remedy in therapy
Sometimes, mum burnout happens not because of piled up stress factors but because of one particular problem. It can be a marital issue, illness, death in the family, constant anxiety, a problem with your child’s development and more. In this case, seeking professional help may be more appropriate. Don’t shy away from asking help from a doctor or therapist. It’s always best to address a problem early on than let it take a turn for the worse.
Stay Happy to Avoid Mum Burnout
When you’re a mum, some days you’ll be over the moon, and at times everything’s a struggle. And that’s perfectly fine. Parenting won’t be as fun without its daily challenges anyway. The important thing is that you know what’s best for you and your family. Also, forget about aiming for perfection. Bury your inner critic to make room for your ultimate stress buster – lots of love and happiness.