Many stay at home moms are happy to have the ability to be at home with their children, even if it is sometimes stressful. These are the moms that are most surprised when they catch a case of stay at home mom burnout.
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What exactly is that? And why does it take hold?
Stay at home mom burnout is when you feel like you can’t be a full time caregiver anymore. You question your choice to stay at home with your child. You dream of handing your child off to someone–anyone–who can mother even half as well as you do.
Stay at home mom burnout is when you are filled with anxiety. You wonder if you’re doing everything wrong and failing as a mom.
You’re tired of waking up in the mornings and it is a struggle to get out of bed. You wonder if your kids would be better off at daycare, or in school.
You find yourself yelling more, crying more, and longing for a well-deserved break. You might feel like you’re at the end of your rope.
You may struggle with guilt of not doing everything perfect. You might wonder if your kids would be better off with a different mom. One who can actually adult.
Stay at home mom burnout is when you run out of f****. Suddenly the things that you are against, like letting the TV babysit, seem very appealing.
You may resent having to care for your children, and regret the decision (or need) to be a stay at home mom. You may find yourself wishing you had any other mom’s situation than your own.
You might get snappy at your husband. You might get confused or misunderstand well-meaning offers of help. You might keep your eyes glued to your phone and wonder how it’s already time to cook dinner when you just woke up.
You might dream of outsourcing it all… hiring a nanny, a maid and a cook. Having someone take care of all your needs for a change sounds like paradise.
Most stay at home moms have likely experienced mom burnout at one point or another. Many moms experience it during the newborn stage. But many others don’t experience it until much later.
How do you get stay at home mom burnout?
Stay at home mom burnout is the result of too many expectations. It’s a sign that we’re not living in the here and now. We aren’t being true to ourselves.
It is a result of doing too much. Mothers often try to meet everyone’s needs, and that’s simply impossible. But as stay at home moms, sometimes we overestimate the time we have. Sometimes we think our clock should never stop ticking because we have the “luxury” of time.
You get stay at home mom burnout by doing, doing, doing. And rarely ever, or maybe never, taking a little time for yourself.
How do you prevent stay at home mom burnout?
- Realize that you are just one person
- Plan out your day (but be flexible)
- Say no to things that overwhelm you
- Try to get adequate sleep (and take naps if necessary)
- Avoid the social media vacuum (it can be very draining)
- Allow others to help
- Resist the urge to strive for perfection
- Prioritize yourself, and pen in time for self-care
You can prevent stay at home mom burnout by remembering that you’re only human.
Yes, you are super mom, and you do some amazing things. Acknowledge that. And then remind yourself that you also deserve to take care of you. Sometimes that means saying no. Sometimes that means making sure you rest. It definitely means taking time out of your busy schedule for self-care. Practice self-care on a regular basis.
Take time for you.
You can prevent stay at home mom burnout by not doing too much. Do the basic necessities, and then a little more.
Don’t spread yourself so thin that you can barely squeeze in the bare necessities.
Your time and energy are precious, limited resources. Realize that they aren’t endless and you’ll begin to value them more. You’ll begin to spend your time and energy where it is necessary, and then prioritize the non-essentials.
Stay off of social media, and avoid comparing yourself to all those “perfect” lives. You’re doing just fine without that unnecessary stress, and you’ll also find that you have more time to do the things that are important to you.
Sleep when you can. And take naps instead of trying to get just a little more cleaning or laundry or this or that done before your baby wakes up.
Don’t worry about being the perfect homemaker. Don’t worry about being the perfect mom.
You’ll begin to thrive in the finite instead of trying to mold yourself into an infinity that doesn’t exist.
What to do when you feel overwhelmed as a stay at home mom
- Accept that you are overwhelmed
- Prioritize only what’s necessary
- Prioritize yourself
- Enlist help
- Learn how to recover from mom burnout
When you’re feeling overwhelmed with being a stay at home parent, the first thing you should do is accept it.
Accepting the fact that you’re feeling burnt out will help you come up with a game plan for change.
There’s no shame in being tired of wrangling your kiddos every day. There’s no shame in being tired of the day to day–picking up the toys you picked up yesterday, making food for kids who don’t want to eat it, folding clothes that your kids will put on and then take off 2 minutes later because they’d much rather run around the house naked.
There’s absolutely no shame in being tired of smelling like sour milk, and changing diapers that promised they’d hold the blowout poops in, but failed miserably.
It’s OK to feel overwhelmed. Accept it. Accept that you aren’t made of boundless energy. Accept that you don’t have all the time in the world to do everything and anything that someone else needs you to do.
Accept that you are only one person and that you have needs, too.
Prioritize only what’s necessary. This means making sure your children are fed, safe and loved. Drop anything else that stresses you out. It’s OK if the laundry isn’t folded for a few days. Don’t guilt yourself one bit.
Right now it’s time to take care of you. Learn how to practice self-care as a busy mom. Do it daily. Prioritize you, and remind yourself that you are worth taking time for.
Enlist help. If you have a significant other, let them know that you are feeling overwhelmed. See if you can get at least 15 minutes to an hour to yourself, to do whatever it is you’d like to do. Even if it’s just sitting in the car eating French fries.
See if you can find the money in your budget to hire help. Maybe you can afford to hire a mom’s helper to help you play with the babies and clean up their toys. Maybe you’d like to hire a babysitter or part time nanny for 4 hours once a week so you can grocery shop without the kiddos, clean in peace, and do something nice for yourself.
Maybe you just hate cleaning bathrooms and want someone else to do that for a change.
Do what makes sense to you.
By following these tips, you can nip things in the bud when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you’ll be well on your way to avoiding stay at home mom burnout.
But if you feel like you’re already over the edge, go check out these tips to help you recover from mom burnout.
There’s no shame in feeling burned out when you’re a stay at home mom. It’s normal to get overwhelmed at times. It’s normal to feel stressed out at times and question if you were cut out for this job.
It’s not normal to feel like you’re drowning. But even if you do, there’s no shame in that, either. You just need a little help getting things back on the right track.
And you’ll get there!