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Mom Burnout is physical and emotional fatigue resulting from the accumulated daily stress of raising kids. As moms on the brink of burnout, it’s important to incorporate stress-relief techniques into our daily routines. While kids contribute to the majority of the daily tension, it’s the amassing of many things that can end up pushing us over the edge. For me, toys all over the floor, a blaring TV, and constant barking from the dog can cause me to go from calm mom to crazy mom in a matter of seconds.
Our dog is an absolute lunatic when anybody comes to the door. If he so much as even senses someone approaching, it’s as if he’s got blinders on and only sees one thing, INTRUDER! The hair stands erect on his back and foam pools in the corners of his mouth. Like something unworldly taking over his body, he thrashes about, barking uncontrollably. We yell, throw shoes, and literally have to wrestle him away like bouncers breaking up a bar fight. It’s no use. He won’t stop until the “threat” is gone. I’d like to say I was suffering from mom burnout long before I ever had actual kids.
When it’s finally over we’re exhausted. Our pulses race and blood pressures peak. It’s incredibly stressful. At 7 months pregnant with our first, we hired a dog trainer for help. We couldn’t have this happening with a sleeping baby in the house. While she was cheaper than an exorcist, she wasn’t able to provide a lasting solution for the incessant barking. She was a waste of time and a waste of money.
She did say something though, that has resonated with me over the years. “Losing your cool makes you look unstable. Dogs are looking to you to be Alpha, so you must always keep a level head if you want them to do the same”. While this has never actually worked on the dog (he’s certifiable), it is a useful philosophy for raising kids and keeping the daily stress from reaching mom burnout proportions.
Fast forward to the present day, and my husband and I have two babies, Jameson and Charlee, in addition to our snarling canine. I’m not even going to pretend it’s been easy. Most days are loud, frazzling, and chaotic. Scattered toys have turned our living room into a minefield, and getting through unscathed requires a master’s in hopscotch. It’s a constant struggle to prevent mom burnout and keep stress levels at a manageable level.
It’s amazing the negative effects stress can have on our bodies. Anxiety, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, vulnerability to illness, muscle tension, headaches, and irritability are to name just a few. Letting it build up over time becomes the perfect recipe for a mental breakdown. It’s no wonder so many of us suffer from mom burnout.
While I don’t have it all figured out, I’ve adopted some useful techniques throughout my motherhood journey that not only help me hold on to my sanity in times of intense stress, but also maintain Alpha status in the eyes of my kids. Below are my top 5 stress-relief tips to prevent mom burnout and keep a level head.
Mom Burnout Tip #1: Scream into a pillow
I’m not even kidding. I know this sounds absolutely demented, but you’d be surprised what a good scream can do for the nerves and for the prevention of mom burnout. I like to go to the garage where I have a dedicated scream pillow. Try not to let anyone see you obviously, because well, the whole unstable thing, but give it a try and see how you feel. Go ahead, let it all out!
Mom Burnout Scream Pillow
Mom Burnout Tip #2: Make Some Alone Time!
This isn’t always feasible if you’re a single mom, but the goal here is to get away from your kids. If you can manage it somehow, take the dog for a walk (or in our case a pull), or go for a drive. For me, just going to the grocery store has become a welcomed retreat from the chaos. If you find yourself with a little more time on your hands, focus on self-care. Get a massage, a manicure, or get your hair done. You deserve it!
Mom Burnout Tip #3: Naps! Use ‘em if you got ‘em
If you’re fortunate enough to have kids who still nap, take advantage of it! My husband and I will put the kids down for a nap, turn off the TV, put the dog in his crate, and just enjoy the silence. Use this time to take a nap yourself, read a book, or sip a nice cup of tea. If naps aren’t an option, there are other ways to get some quiet time.
Mom Burnout Survival Kit
My cousin does something called “blanket time” in her home. She spreads out a blanket for each of her kids and has trained them to sit quietly on it for a certain amount of time. They play with puzzles or read books, and do whatever, as long as they remain quiet and on their blankets. This teaches them to self-entertain, and it’s a great respite for mom to recharge, relax, and ultimately get a break from the stresses that contribute to mom burnout.
Mom Burnout Tip #4: Get Movin’
I never enjoyed working out prior to having kids. Lately though, going to the gym has become a pleasurable escape. I look forward to the time away to focus on myself and break a sweat. Exercising isn’t just a great release in the moment, but over time it helps to reduce pent-up tension and stress, which left to fester, can lead to exhaustion and mom burnout. It’s nice to put some earbuds in and just zone out.
Mom Burnout Exercise Favorites
Mom Burnout Tip #5: Meditation
Meditation is something I try to integrate into my schedule as often as possible. What’s great, is you don’t need to dedicate a lot of time to it in order to reap the benefits. You can meditate first thing in the morning before even getting out of bed when you’re already calm and clear of mind. Nowadays, apps like “Calm”, “Headspace” and “The Mindfulness App” offer wonderful guided meditations. From breathing exercises to calming music, they’re great for helping you relax and find peace of mind.
A Great Read On Mom Burnout
Parenting is hard. Taking a break from your kids (and dog) from time to time is healthy for everyone’s headspace. If mom burnout goes unaddressed, it can lead to more severe feelings like resentment and even depression. Don’t worry, getting away doesn’t make you a bad mom. On the contrary, it makes you a better mom. Pressing the reset button every now and then allows you to recharge your batteries. Upon returning, you’ll be less agitated and more attentive jumping back into the action.
Furthermore, getting a chance to miss your kids makes you better appreciate the things you love about them. Remember, your children mimic your actions. As the pack leader, they’re looking to you for leadership, structure, and to be a positive example. Hmm, maybe that dog trainer wasn’t such a waste of money after all?
Related to “Prevent Mom Burnout”:
Mom Guilt: Why You Should Cut Yourself Some Slack
Anxiety: When To Worry About Worrying
The Shame Game: An In-Depth Look At Mom Shaming
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