Whether you’re a brand new mom, or a seasoned veteran, mama burnout is a real (and common) feeling. Even when you’re LOVING your life as a mom, as with anything, it’s important to have time to step away, focus on yourself, and renew your energy for parenting.
What is Mama Burnout, Exactly?
Mama burnout is what happens when you feel physically, emotionally and/or mentally exhausted from the 24/7 job that is parenting. When you’re a parent (especially a mom) it can be difficult to step aside from the daily grind and put your own needs before that of your family—which can include sleep, food, exercise, and even showers. And while each of these small choices doesn’t feel like a big sacrifice, once they all add up it can contribute to a mama feeling tired, overwhelmed, overworked, irritable, and maybe a bit disconnected from feeling like you.
How Can I Avoid Mama Burnout?
Let People Help You
When you’re a mama, it’s incredibly easy to take on most of the parenting responsibilities—especially when your baby is young. The mentality of ‘it will be easier if I just do it myself’ is understandable, but also can make you feel like every single task is on your shoulders!
Even if something isn’t done just the way you would have done it, ask your partner (or a friend or family member) to take some things off of your plate. Even outsourcing small tasks can feel like such a relief.
For instance, take advantage of grocery delivery whenever possible, or ask your partner to be in charge of handling dinners for the family. If you’re the one who usually puts your baby to bed, ask your partner to step in and handle it so that you can relax on the couch in peace and quiet for a while. Being a great mom doesn’t mean that you have to do everything yourself. And handing off responsibilities to your partner can help lighten your mental load.
Find What Fuels Your Fire
When we spend so much time taking care of someone else (even when it’s our adorable children), it’s easy to forget to make time for ourselves to do the things we love and enjoy. At the end of the day, it might be easier to collapse onto the couch and binge a show on Netflix. But what if you start that new book you’ve been meaning to read? Or get out of the house to take an art or exercise class? Or meet a friend to catch up without the kids? Making it a priority to do the little things you used to do before becoming “mama” can make you feel more…well…like yourself!
Take the Pressure Off
It can be easy to fall into the comparison game—especially when every time you open social media, you see other people’s perfectly curated lives. But remember that the only things your children and family need is your love, affection, and joy. A spotless house, meals from scratch, and perfectly coordinated outfits just aren’t that important in the end. Put your energy into the things that truly matter, and give yourself a break when things aren’t picture perfect. Because the truth is, no one’s life is!
Say What You’re Thinking
Don’t feel the need to hold all of your thoughts and emotions inside, mama. It’s heavy to carry all of that around. Have an honest chat with your partner about your feelings so they can truly understand how to help take the mental and emotional load off of your shoulders.
And don’t forget to take the advice of a fellow or veteran mama! We guarantee they understand exactly what you’re going through, and they may have some tips or tricks about what worked for them when they were experiencing mama burnout. Just getting your feelings off of your chest can help you feel lighter. And having a productive conversation about how you can take a step away to fill your own cup can be a great help.
If you feel like you’re unable to shake overpowering feelings of stress, are losing pleasure in everyday things, or feel sad, hopeless or empty, you may be experiencing more than just mama burnout. It’s important to seek professional help. Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety can affect women up to a year after baby’s birth, and you don’t need to continue to suffer. Contact your provider (or have a loved one call for you) to set up an appointment to discuss how you’ve been feeling, and explore treatment options.
Remember—while mama burnout can feel overwhelming, it’s something that every mom goes through at some point in parenting. You’re not alone. Deep breaths, and remember to take care of yourself. You’ve got this—you’re a GREAT mom!