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8 Tips for Preventing Mom Burnout

Reduce stress and experience the joy that motherhood can offer.

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I carry many roles… daughter, wife, friend, therapist. But the most rewarding and greatest role is that of a mother. However, being a mom is hard! I had no idea how challenging being a mother could be, but now I experience it, and I hear it from my friends, and I work with clients who struggle with the responsibility.

Stepping into motherhood is a beautiful experience, yet there is an enormous transition from being independent to being responsible and accountable for someone else all the time. Even if we have a partner who is supportive and shares the workload, as moms, there are many tasks that fall on us: meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, mess cleaning, playmate, and perhaps working an outside job as well. We maintain schedules and work to ensure our children are engaged and socialized. We juggle a lot, which can be physically and emotionally draining.

If you find yourself yelling more, losing patience easily, irritable, and overall feeling overwhelmed, you may be experiencing mom burnout. Everyone experiences daily stressors, but moms share the unique experience of not having much of a chance to settle or de-stress. Whether you work during the day and come home to children or spend the day at home caring for children, many times, you don’t have much of a break until the children are sleeping.

Even then, there may be tasks to complete, like putting the dishes in the dishwasher, cleaning up toys, paying bills, finishing up work from the day, or even planning for the next day. A mother’s job is never done. In order to prevent burnout from motherhood stress, it is important to take steps to care for yourself. The following are eight helpful ways to reduce stress and experience the joy motherhood can offer.

1. Schedule

Having and maintaining a schedule is beneficial for you and your children. Most children do better with the structure that schedules offer. For younger children (infants and toddlers), having set nap/sleep and mealtimes works wonders for ensuring those things happen without hesitation. It is also helpful for you to know that an escalating tantrum may be due to an approaching nap or mealtime. Another benefit of having a schedule is that you know when you will have some “free time” and can plan on how to use it best.

2. Step back

You don’t always have to entertain your children. In fact, by letting your children play by themselves, you are allowing them to build up their own skills of working independently and decision making. Get out. Try to spend some time outside.

Whether you spend the day at home or work, try to spend a few moments connecting with nature… something that is much greater than you. Take a few moments to mindfully take awareness of your surroundings. Take a few breaths of fresh air; notice the clouds, or how the breeze feels on your skin.

3. Present yourself

If you’re a stay-at-home mom, it may be very easy to spend your days in sweats with no make-up, and this look may extend to outings as well. Try putting yourself together in order to present yourself to the world in a way that makes you feel good. Put some care into yourself.

4. Ask for help and say no

If you notice that your list of to-dos, your schedule, or the amount of information floating in your head is becoming too great, it is time to ask for help or say no to requests. And that is OK! Ask your spouse to stop at the store after work, so that you don’t have to struggle to find time to pick up the milk. You don’t have to volunteer at the school next Tuesday… there will be other opportunities.

Make the most of personal time. When you’re lucky enough to have some time for yourself, take advantage of it, and do something that you really enjoy. Fit in a workout, read a book, watch your favorite show, and relax.

5. Stop overthinking.

In the timeframe of one day, we are faced with many decisions. Do you find yourself trying too hard to find the “right” decision? As they say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Spend your energy on those choices that are important and give less of yourself to the choices that will have less impact on your world.

6. Therapy.

I’ve already mentioned the importance of asking others for help to tackle tasks, but what about asking for help with your feelings, problems, or coping skills? Having a safe place to speak to someone who is unbiased and experienced in helping people reduce stress can be invaluable. I have worked with many moms with problems big and small. You would not be alone.

Stay Peaceful,

Dr. Andrea Tesher

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