Mom burnout isn’t a new thing – it’s not ‘made up’ either. Typically, it’s used to reference a mom who is exhausted from taking care of her kids or balancing her work and home life. What we don’t typically focus on are the moms that always stay at home.
Stay-at-home moms experience mom burnout just as much as working moms. Taking care of children is a full-time job, why do you think daycares charge so much? Between ensuring they’re eating right, sleeping, potty-training, learning, and playing, it leaves very little time for stay-at-home moms to have “me” time.
Although “me” time isn’t necessarily the only way of avoiding mom burnout, it’s one of the best solutions since it helps give you a mental reset required to stay present for your kids. But, since we’re not always capable of having time to ourselves, here are a few more ways of avoiding stay-at-home mom burnout:
Learn to Just Say No
More than one trip to grandma’s or a birthday party has been rejected by me because I couldn’t handle going out that day – and that’s 100% okay. We’re not required as moms to say yes to everyone, or everything. We get into the habit of trying to please our family and friends or just trying to make sure our kids get to “do it all” at the expense of our own mental health.
Being a good mom is not defined by how often they see family in a week or how often they get to bring over their friends. Learn to say no when you’re not mentally capable and you’ll discover you’re able to say yes to the more important things and actually enjoy them!
Having a hard time saying no? Learn Why it’s Okay to Say No as a Stay-at-Home Mom.
It is hard as a stay-at-home mom to keep up the boundaries between you and your child. When you’re home alone with your kids it’s easier to help them with the hard things, like potty-training and fixing meals. On the other hand, you also find yourself helping them with the easier things too, like picking up toys or grabbing a snack.
Of course what your kids can do without you will depend on their age (a one-year old won’t be as independent as a five-year old), but identifying what they can be independent doing will help now, and in the long run. Take the time to teach a task or a system for dealing with stuff independently.
For example, find a place within their reach to keep snacks in between meals that you automatically approve of – I recommend veggies, fruit, and, if you have a low shelf in the fridge, cheese sticks, yogurt, and a cup of juice or water when they get thirsty.
Another option is to have specific spots for toys! Cubbies are my favorite choice for organization because you can sort their toys in sections – legos, music toys, books, cars, blocks, etc – all in a specific spot! Teach them how to clean up on their own (make it a game!) so it’s one less thing you have to worry about, and they’ll learn to be more responsible for their messes!
Keep Up Nap Time – or Break Time
When my toddler no longer wanted to take a nap, it was a huge hit to my mental health. My one break time before bedtime was taken away and I didn’t know how to cope. Instead of spiraling, I decided to try break time.
Break time is similar to nap time; it’s time alone in their room while you have time alone in yours. They don’t have to sleep, they can play with toys, read, listen to music, or anything else that’s safe alone. Not only is it important for you to have a break, but kids need their space as well to understand their emotions and develop self-soothing and self-play skills.
You can do this for only thirty minutes, or go up to an hour and a half! It’s up to what you and your kids feel comfortable with. The important thing to remember is that whatever you choose, you should stick to it and to add a clock to their room so that they’re aware of what time break time is over.
Find a Mom Friend or Join a Motherhood Support Group
A common side-effect of being a stay-at-home is feeling isolated from the rest of the world. Instead of adult interaction, your conversations are held with children. You don’t have the ability to speak freely, you’re limited to speech abilities, and you’re not able to vent as you may need to. Thankfully, there are moms and motherhood support groups both virtual and local to help.
Most local motherhood support groups work as group therapy, they allow the moms to talk and express themselves while their children are being watched by a provided caretaker. Typically, these moms have children the same age as yours and understand what you’re going through. This gives you a break and allows you to express pent up emotions that your significant other might not understand.
Virtual motherhood support groups are larger, but allow you to build smaller groups with mothers that are dealing with stages of motherhood like you. You’ll be able to reach out when you need support at any time, but you’re not able to step away from your child the same way you would a local group.
Communicate With Your Partner
While they might not understand everything you’re going through, communicating how you feel with your partner will help you lift the weight off your shoulders. They may even be able to offer a solution. Sometimes, it’s as simple as them helping you take time off, or agreeing to you hiding out in the bedroom while they make dinner and get the kids ready for bed.
Either way, it’s important that they understand what you’re dealing with and how you’re feeling. Think of it from their perspective – they might not be aware of the mental strain of being a stay-at-home mom, and if you have a breakdown, they won’t know what’s going on if you don’t tell them.
Starting to Feel Burned-Out?
It’s okay Mama, we’ve all been there. Stress is okay. Anger is okay. Exhaustion is okay. There is no shame in feeling burned out as a stay-at-home mom. Take the time to identify what you need and how to make it happen, then implement a way to avoid burn-out in the future.
No matter what, you got this!