Let’s talk about it. Because it happens. Every. Single. Mother. Has faced mom burn out. The point of exhaustion where you don’t want to answer anymore questions, change anymore diapers, make anymore meals, do anymore laundry, do anymore “mom things”. You become tired of the fighting and you become tired of the cleaning. Being a mom becomes a dauntless task. Sometimes when we aren’t quick to resolve mom burnout, a shift happens. Moments of burnout changes to days, days to weeks, and weeks to a month… perhaps even more!
So what do you do? How do you handle when the joy of raising your children has now become an exhausting and seemingly “unrewarding” job?
Find Out the “Why?”
Why are you feeling this way? Has something changed in your life? For me when I begin to hit mom burnout, something has thrown off our normal. Perhaps something happened with family that was emotional, requiring some energy and time. My husband might be putting in more hours at work that what we had become accustomed. Hormonally, my body might be adjusting. All the kids getting sick or recently overcome a sickness. I find that when I start to get overwhelmed by a life that I genuinely love, something has changed. If I can work on pinpointing the “why”, I have a much easier time adjusting back into truly enjoying motherhood.
There are few things for me, that are more stressful and a recipe for disaster, then having more tasks than time. This almost always happens from a lack of planning. This morning, I had to go to the library, get gas, go to two different grocery stores and make it back home by 9:30 so I could get the Littlest down before the non stop scream crying in the car happened. Why did everything need to be done this morning? Well, it would be because I didn’t plan. I forgot our library books were due… until the lovely email reminder, informed me that unless I wanted to pay a late fee for each of the fifteen books, I had to drop them off this morning. Then there was the food, to be completely honest one of the stores was walmart pick up… but it still counts. Walmart pickup has been such a load off… BUT this morning they were apparently out of half my order, and well, I didn’t want the substitutes, so off to another store that was only supposed to be a quick run in (yeah right with kids) turned into a full on grocery shopping. If you are that mom who can get three kids five and under loaded up quickly and be out all day.. more power to you. That is not me. I LOVE being home, I would rather pay someone to run all my errands. Obviously, that isn’t a reality for me, so I must tread on. Also, our second Little peed in his car seat on the way home.
Find Your Groove
There is no keeping up with the Jones’ here. With that being said, every now and then, I will find myself trying to live out a life that isn’t best for us. It is so tempting with technology today to allow yourself to feel inadequate. Despite the temptation, don’t fall into trying to live out someone else’s Instagram life. Enjoy your own life, in all its simplicity or with all its adventurers. No one will know what makes your family tick like you do. A family that is working and running smoothly will bring much greater joy and peace than attempting to fulfill desires that you don’t actually have. There would be times I would get on social media and see the many adventures people were having and I would long to do them. Even though, I had never nor would I ever, come up with those same adventures on my own. Being and becoming who the Father created you to be is a journey and process, that often times gets put on the back burner, to the lifestyle of the here and now. It would be hard to feel inadequate if we stopped comparing ourselves, life’s, parenting style, marriage, etc. to anyone else.
Engage the Littles
Is there a bigger trigger for a mother than constant bickering, whining, or complaining? Honestly, it’s exhausting, annoying and most often avoidable, Wait, what?! I have found that when I begin to feel “mom burnout” I withdrawal from my kids. Unconsciously of course. Nonetheless, it has happened, when this happens my kids sense the withdrawal and their flow is thrown off course. I have to have specific time set aside for my kids. Where it is just me and them, doing what they want to do, so that they feel connected with me. When I make sure that I have given myself completely to my kids they actually play together longer and are more kind to one another. We have worked hard at teaching our kids to communicate when they feel disconnected. Still, there are times that I realize the disconnection when they become grumpy or they seem to constantly need me. There is a night and day difference in the Little’s attitude when I spend quality time with each of them. When I don’t allow life to take away from time that they need with me.
What if its none of the above? Maybe, it’s just the endless tasks of motherhood that seem to be drowning. It happens, there are a lot of errands, chores, meals and tasks throughout my day that are a must. I have to do the dishes, laundry, buy food. I also HAVE to cook for the Little ones, wipe bottoms, change diapers, and at times facilitate play. I also must, feed the dogs, get them fresh water, and take them out as well. While I do have a lot of MUSTS I also take on errands, schedule events for the kids, and spend time maintaining “things’ that are not important and not needed. Our culture put a value of “busy”. It seems everyone is busy. Running from one thing to another, barely catching up with our “to-dos” before having the next load of items that need maintaining. What if we weren’t busy? What if we decided that our kids didn’t need to be entertained and preoccupied at all times? Or, we took tome to decluttered our homes, getting rid of belongs that take up time and effort to maintain. When the time it takes to maintain something is more than the value we have placed in it, maybe its time to part. When I first began to simplify our lives, we got rid of 70-80% of our belongings. Guess what? We haven’t missed anything! Not only have we not missed anything…BUT we are not done. We continually see that we can live with even less, and it is so FREEING!
Give Yourself Grace
The odds are, you are a good mom. Moms are generally really tough of themselves. Motherhood is a journey, there is no handbook given when you leave the hospital that will lay out exactly what you need to know on raising your child. Any mom with multiple children can tell you that even if there was, it couldn’t possibly be a one size fits all, for no two children are exactly alike. There are seasons and moments in life that are tough. If we allow ourselves to believe that a difficult season or moment in life will last forever than we lose sight of a simple reality. Raising our children will go by fast. Much faster than anticipated. By all means, continue to grow in your desire to be better… without allowing your short comings to define motherhood. I have never met a mother who felt like she raised her kids perfectly. Not one. I believe most mothers do and did the best they could with the knowledge they possessed. Mom burnout happens, being exhausted, frustrated, irritated, and overwhelmed by motherhood is something almost all moms have faced. You are not alone. Remember, grace is a beautiful gift, that many times as mothers, we don’t extend to ourselves.