Are you on the verge of mommy burnout?
If you’re not enjoying your role as a mom, you’re probably about to burnout, if you haven’t already. The simple truth is that motherhood is meant to be fun and beautiful with some light sprinkling of stress and irritation. If your motherhood looks more like exhaustion, anger and nonstop chaos – you’re probably facing up against burnout.
Burnout is a feeling that occurs when we let our stressful environments determine what kind of day – and in turn, life – we are going to have. Burnout is often described as feeling exhausted, angry, resentful, stressed, overwhelmed, and overall just hating your job.
You see the problem here? If you’re “job” is being a homemaker and a mother, then hating your job isn’t going to end well for you or your family. When we feel like we hate being a mom, this not only means having a bad day at home with your kids, but it leads to feelings of shame because how can you hate being a mom? Right?
Here’s the deal, being a mom is not a job. It’s a relationship. You don’t hate having children, and I know that relationship is one of the most important relationships in your life. So what’s really going on?
You hate all the responsibilities of being a homemaker, you hate feeling like you have no control, you hate that you are so tired and worn out that you can’t enjoy being a mom anymore.
You hate the feelings that are happening inside you: you don’t really hate your house, your motherhood, or yourself. Feelings can be changed. Burnout can be changed.
Why time to recharge is important.
I know you’ve heard that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Think of burnout as a result of running on empty. And this is referring to multiple cups in your life. You’ve got an energy cup and a love cup. Avoiding burnout relies on keeping these various cups from draining. .
When you don’t get adequate sleep, eat well, drink water, and you’re inefficiently using your time on housework, you drain that energy cup.
When you don’t take time for gratitude, self care, bonding and quality time with your kids, husband and self, you drain that love cup.
When you don’t have any energy or love left over, how can you expect to have joy?
There’s one big thing that’s going to help you to refill your energy and love cups: time. You need to have some regular time with yourself to recharge and refill.
3 Creative ways to get some time alone.
1. Make it a routine – Take 15 mins to be alone when your husband gets home. Sneak off to your room or out the back door while your husband takes a few minutes to give the kids attention when he first gets home. This practice is great for the whole family, not just you.
2. Hire a babysitter for an hour – Childcare can be super expensive, but have you ever just had a high schooler come over to watch your kids for an hour? It’s not very expensive, most will do it for $10 or even just to get you as a reference to get other babysitting gigs. I know it’s hard to trust someone with your kids, I struggle with that, too. Here’s what you do: hire the sitter for an hour, while you’re still home. You don’t have to leave the house. You go take a bath while your sitter distracts your kids with a new activity or movie and snacks.
3. Time swap – Sometimes even $10 can be too much, especially if this time is needed multiple times a week, that can add up! One way to get a sitter for free is to time swap with a friend or neighbor. If you’ve got another mom friend, agree to watch her kids for an hour or two for her so she can have some time alone, then she can watch your kids. This is fun for the kids because they think it’s just a play date with their friends – psych – it’s really mommy’s time to get a fricking break.
But what even do you do when you’re alone?
It’s been awhile since you’ve had a moment of peace to yourself, hasn’t it? Let me give you a few ideas on what to do when you get this precious time:
Take a luxurious bath, read something for fun, meditate and self reflect, journal, eat some chocolate, stretch, workout or do some yoga. Do something that fills you up and recharges you.
What not to do: chores, cleaning, work, anything that exhausts your energy or drains that love cup.
How to get alone time without getting alone time.
What if you can’t manage to get time alone often enough? Try out some of these options (obviously use your own judgements on whether it’s safe and appropriate for you to leave children unattended or unsupervised).
1. Noise cancelling headphones – Turn on Cocomelon and tune out the noise while your kiddo glues themselves to the tv. Yeah, screen time isn’t the best thing for your kids, but neither is a burnt out mama who can’t control her mommy rage anymore. Use the screen time to your advantage.
2. Use a baby monitor for older kids too – It’s a pretty regular practice around here for me to step outside while my kids are safely inside the house. I use the baby monitor to keep an ear out for the older kids fighting with each other so I know if I need to step back in before I’m ready.
3. Take them for a drive so they fall asleep in the car then hang out in the front yard while they nap – I do this at least once a week. This only works if your kids are the kind to fall asleep in the car, but it’s a great option to have. Sometimes my oldest won’t fall asleep, but you know what gets him to leave me alone and let his brothers sleep too? A little bit of time on his tablet.