First, I want to say that I think having it all together is.. overrated.. and honestly, as a mom, there’s just truly no such thing. Every day has it’s challenges, it’s peace, it’s chaos, it’s spontaneity.. and that’s OKAY. With that being said, it can still be overwhelming at times to manage everything going on in our lives as we juggle numerous responsibilities. If you’ve ever experienced the all-too-familiar state of mom burnout – that overwhelming feeling of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion – you’re not alone.
We are not in a season of getting it just right, of quiet, of sleeping in, of picture perfect homes, of date nights without planning weeks in advance. We are in a season that’s even better. A season of growth, of beauty, of tiny fingerprints everywhere, of messes, of learning, of interrupted bathroom breaks, of endless diapers, of unwashed mom-buns and stains on oversized tees, and of days when sometimes we just want to cry because our patience is worn so thin.. but then we look at them and are reminded that this is all just temporary. It’s just a season in our lives.
We are in a season of taking care of others first, and then, giving ourselves the best that we have left. Mamas, we still deserve some time. Time to create a feeling of ‘balance’ amidst an incredibly unbalanced season. And we should NOT feel guilty of that! When we are filled up, then we can pour out onto our family. Everyone reaps the benefits!
Here are 8 ways to help you overcome mom burnout and rediscover a sense of balance and well-being in your life without the mom-guilt:
1. Prioritize Soul-Care
I like the term ‘soul-care’ more than ‘self-care’.. we are caring for our soul, our inner being. This is so much more than de-puffing eye-patches, ice-rolling our face, or taking a 10-minute hot shower solo! (But I do have the perfect self-care routine for busy moms here.) Maybe it’s waking up 30min before your littles, so that you can read a book or journal! Maybe it’s taking a walk listening to your favorite podcast. Find a creative outlet. Whatever makes you feel like yourself, do that. Personally I love to read on my kindle before bed. It’s the perfect way to unwind and quiet my mind. Make this a non-negotiable in your day to avoid mom burnout!
2. Set Realistic Expectations
Recognize that you can not do it all (especially in a day!), and that’s okay! OOOOOFfff. This was a hard realization for me to come to grips with! Some days I wouldn’t be able to even touch my ‘to-do’ list, and would be so upset at the end of the day, feeling like I was falling further and further behind. I’d want so badly to be this super mom – doing it all, and any time I fell short I’d beat myself up mentally. That frustration rolled out onto my family, a not-so-fun cycle to be repetitively caught up in. My husband had to continuously remind me, “there will always be something to get done, and that’s okay!”
Set realistic expectations for yourself and LET GO of perfectionism. Make a running list of your most important tasks, and chip away! No matter what you accomplish in a given day, know that.. you ARE doing your best, and that is MORE than enough. There is always tomorrow, and you are not competing with anyone! Your productivity does not equal your worth!
3. Ask For Help
Do not be afraid to ask for help and delegate tasks! If you’re like me, you might have a hard time asking for help. Which goes back to thinking I can do it all. I’ve found that asking my husband for help, my mom, my MIL, SILs and others when I need to get something done has made a world of difference in the mental load that I tend to carry! If it’s in the budget, hire a house cleaner, or a part-time nanny. I realized quickly after having our daughter that my husband isn’t the mind reader that I wanted him to be, ha, go figure! Once I communicated my needs, those closest to me helped to take the weight off of my shoulders. It truly does take a village.
4. Establish Boundaries
Saying ‘no’ has never felt so good! I keep our calendar pretty open to better prioritize my time, and where I want/need to put my energy. Saying yes to every commitment often led me to being overwhelmed and having mom burnout. Now, I say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t support the intentional life I’m creating for my family. One day we’ll be able to say yes to more, for right now, we protect our boundaries, recognize when we are becoming overwhelmed or overloaded, and adjust accordingly!
5. Practice Effective Time Management
I have to be honest, I did not understand the importance of this, until I became a mom! I just used to wing most everything. Now, we’ll write down important appointments or events months/weeks in advance on a shared family calendar, and will remind one another of them often! Communication again is KEY to this! My husband and I will make it a point to talk about our plan for the month ahead of time, whether it comes to work or house things that we want to accomplish. The week and day of we’ll run through what we need to do so neither of us are surprised and can walk-through a stress-free day!
6. Embrace Imperfect Moments
Another big OOOFFFF moment for me. Let go of the notion that everything needs to be perfect. The house. The outfit. The hair. The nap. The lunch. The day. Give yourself grace. Embrace the beauty of the imperfect moments, and look for the joy in the chaos of motherhood. Recognize that it’s the quality of your time and presence that matters most. I love the quote, “there is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.” I think the same can be said for moments.. there are a million ways for a moment to be a good one. Treasure the little moments and be fully present in them, rather than striving for an idealized version of motherhood!
7. Build a Support Network
Mom friends, you can sit with us. Surround yourself with a supportive network of fellow moms and friends. I’ve joined two local play groups through word of mouth and have made so many new mom friends this way. Ask your circle, seek out community groups, online forums, or local play groups where you can connect with other moms! You can share experiences, advice, and support can help alleviate feelings of guilt and let you know that you’re not alone!
8. Know That Your Good Enough, is Good Enough.
When the day is over, don’t look at the sink full of dirty dishes, the toys scattered everywhere, the unfinished to-do list and think about what more you could have done.. be PROUD of yourself. Did you know that being a mom is equivalent to working 2.5 jobs?? It’s a job that we can’t just clock-in and clock-out of. In my opinion, it’s the most important job in the world. Your babies don’t need you to do the job perfectly. They just need you. And it starts all over in the morning. So, rest. And know that your good enough, is good enough for them.
We’ve got this, mama! One day at a time. Share with me below any tips you’ve found to help overcome mom burnout!