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  • samanthagreenlmhc

What does "Mom-Burnout" look like?

You won't find it in the DSM, but it is so very real!

Burnout mom covering face

  • Anger/snapping at kids and/or husband ("mom-rage")

  • Loud noises are irritating

  • Fatigue/tired

  • Want to pack a bag and leave

  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks

  • Not wanting to be touched

  • Household chores/work task seem more difficult than usual

  • "Needing" instead of "wanting" a glass of wine at the end of the day

  • Increased headaches

  • Feeling like your "not good enough" for you kids/husband

If any of these sound familiar you may be experiencing burnout as a mom/dad. People often confuse burnout for depression or anxiety (while it's not impossible to overlap) it's very treatable, and just takes a some effort!

Mom's in particular are most prone to this type of burnout, whether you're a SAHM, or a working mom, burnout makes no discrimination. SAHM find the constant grind, with no breaks and little to no adult interaction difficult, while Working Mom's often find there no "break in the day" working all day, coming home to crying children. And in both scenarios little time for your own needs.

With typical burnout we would start discussing your "work/life" balance, self care and possibly a vacation. With Mom's it's similar idea but different execution; we can't just simply clock out, leave for a tropical vacation on whim, or start going to the gym for hours a day. Here are 4 realistic steps to rekindle the flame inside to enjoy being a mother and life again.

1. Basic Needs Met

This is most basic and biggest necessity. Are you eating? Are you sleeping? Are you actually resting when sleeping? How about showering on a semi-regular schedule? Are you getting any movement or exericse?

This is one of the biggest and most ongoing challenges of parenting but absolutely the most vital. You cannot take care of your children if you don't care of your self, if you've ever been on a plane think of the instructions in the beginning Put your oxygen mask on before your childs, you can't help them if your unconscious. Truer words have never been spoken.

This one takes some practice but make it easy on yourself, if you're making scrambled eggs for the kids, make a double batch and eat with them. If your breastfeeding keep some easy pre-made snacks around like granola bars, cheese and nut bowls (most grocery stores carry pre-made ones) etc.

If you simply don't have time to start a new workout routine (one thing at a time!) go for one walk a day with your kiddo. Fresh air is good for both of you.

Showering can be done after babies are in bed or before they wake up, or simply put that little guy in the crib for 10 minutes and give yourself a break! Everybodys needs are different so the solution will look slightly different too.

When in doubt go simple!

2.Take Micro-Breaks

These are small breaks (perhaps just a few minutes plus) that you may already be taking but make them intentional. For example, your commute to and from work, a shower or time in the bathroom, your child playing (mostly) quietly or driving to the grocery store with your kiddo buckled in the back.

These small moments give you time to either shut out all the noise, or perhaps listen to a podcast/music that you enjoy. Each person is different so your "you-time" will look different. Theses will also stretch out over time, so try your hardest not to be so hard on your self. We hear it all the time, but I will say it one more time.

This phase does not last forever, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it absolutely will get easier to manage.

Focus on one day, one moment at a time. Enjoy that iced coffee while you go to pick up your groceries, you deserve it!

3. De-Stimulate

One big symptom of burnout is the overstimulation. This can look like irritation, anger, rage, difficulty concentrating and inablity to make decisions. Often people feel these moments come out of nowhere and feel they may be "overreacting." Repeat with me this phase will pass, give your self the time and space to let it. If your baby is in a safe spot, take a step out of the room. Take a step outside the house if the fresh air is what you need.

Sometimes you can't remove yourself and thats okay we just need to get more creative. Play music as loud as you're comfortable, the opposite can be helpful as well and invest in a nice pair of foam ear plugs made for concerts. This give you the benefit of hearing baby/kiddo cry but taking the edge off the cry/tantrum occuring in your home.

One of the best ways to de-stimulate is taking a shower, it can double as micro break and the warm warm and white noise create a sensory break from the chaos that is parenting.

4.Time Away

This one may be the most difficult to impliment as if relies entirely on your husband or other family/friends to help out but can quickly start to alleviate symptoms of burnout. It doesn't have to be an overnight but even a solo trip to the grocery store, Target etc can be the ticket. If you can swing something more relaxing the better, hair appointemtns, nails, massage or a trip to the gym can be incredibly invigorating!

Talk to you hubby, mom or neighbor and see if you can pop out of the house one a week, once a month, however often you think you need. Often they understand and can see the toll motherhood is taking on you so don't be afraid to ask. Family wants to help, as long as you trust them, let them help!

I'll repeat this one more time just for fun, but this phase will not last forever. There's a time and place for white-knuckling it and now isn't it. Take care of yourself, so you can enjoy taking care of your kiddos again!

Good luck and don't be afraid to reach out for support if you need it!


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