Have you ever felt like you are at the end of your stick?
It’s no secret that moms experience a special kind of tiredness in their lives, but feeling totally “done” with mom life and ready to crawl into a hole and hide is an indication of something more significant.
It’s called Mom Burnout and, while it seems to be a normal part of motherhood, it doesn’t have to be a normal part of motherhood.
No mother should “suffer” motherhood – being a mom is something that should (and can) be enjoyed.
But the more we normalize our struggles, the less we are aware of them, and the less we can do to actually address them and make our lives better.
In order to help you put a name to your struggle, here are some signs that you may be experiencing Mom Burnout:
Signs That You Are a Burnt Out Mama
These are some common signs of Mom Burnout.
However, if you experience any of these so deeply that you cannot function in your everyday life, it may be time to talk to a health care professional. There’s no shame in seeking medical help.
1. You Have a Short Fuse
One of the most definitive signs of burnout is that you lose your temper for the smallest reasons.
You know the saying about getting on your last nerve? You are there.
When your mind is ready to check out, your patience has beat it through the door.
Moms get legitimately angry for all kinds of reasons, but if you’re finding yourself exploding because someone put an empty juice container back in the fridge or because that affirmative “fine” came out with a bit more attitude than usual – you are burnt out.
2. You Are Forgetful
Ever looked for your cell phone while you were talking on it?
Seriously, mom brain is a real thing and it’s completely normal to find yourself forgetting stupid things like where you put your keys (check your pocket) or where you sat your sunglasses down (top of your head).
However, it becomes a real problem when you start forgetting significant things like picking your child up from school or packing their lunch in the morning, or putting on your shoes instead of walking out the door in your slippers.
This is caused by the mental fog associated with burnout. Your brain is tired and is not working at 100% charge.
So if you find yourself forgetting things that you really shouldn’t forget, you are probably dealing with burnout.
3. You Always Feel Tired
It’s so easy to think of your mind as just this squishy blob that rests in your cranium that should really have no bearing on your physical state.
The truth is your body and mind work as one system.
When your body is tired, your mind is tired and when your mind is tired, your body is tired.
And when you are burnt out, everything is tired. I mean, that’s really the basis of calling it “burnout”, isn’t it?
You could also refer to it as “emotional exhaustion”, which is the feeling of being emotionally drained because of stress. It can lead to a lack of energy, poor sleep, and decreased motivation.
Which then makes it difficult to overcome fatigue and creates a perpetual cycle of burnout.
(Best to nip it in the bud then, right? Keep reading to find out how!)
4. You Let the Rules Slip
Mom burnout often leads to a laissez-faire attitude about child-rearing and family maintenance.
You may find yourself letting the rules slip and throwing discipline to the sidelines. You just don’t have the mental fortitude to tell your children that they can’t, so you just let them do it.
Screen time? Go ahead and watch YouTube for 6 hours.
Not going to finish your supper? Here’s some ice cream.
Staying out late? Just don’t die.
While letting the rules slip once and a while is actually a great way to reduce stress in your mom life and avoid burnout, constantly letting it happen is a sure sign that you are already there.
5. You Feel Trapped
Remember those days before you had kids when you were free to do what you wanted?
If you’re experiencing burnout, you may be longing for those days of less stress and fewer responsibilities. It doesn’t mean you regret having your children – you just feel trapped by your role as a mother.
Struggling to reconcile what you need with what you are capable of doing for yourself is a strong sign that you need a break.
Keep reading to find out how you can take this important step in combating burnout (as well as a few others)!
6. You Stop Taking Care of Yourself
This doesn’t just apply to your physical appearance. Self-care incorporates how you nurture your mind and your soul as well.
You may find yourself not doing activities you used to enjoy or bottling up your feelings instead of communicating them.
I know it’s hard as a mom to find time to do these things but, if you don’t, you are going to experience burnout. If you’re already there, it may be time to start prioritizing your self-care and making time for it.
7. You Forget Who You Really Are
The more you slip into burnout and exhaustion, the more your mind goes into autopilot and you become a sort of Mom-zombie (Mombie?) who really sees herself as nothing more than a mother and caretaker.
Figuring out who you truly are is a journey that takes a lot of self-reflection and effort. When you’re burnt out, you’re going to default to the role in your life that is easily defined: being a mom.
Yes, being a mom is hard, but the tasks required of being a mom are pretty straightforward.
Mainly, just keep your kids alive.
So when you are exhausted and done with life, you’re likely going to focus on just getting the “job” done and let your passions and true identity take a backseat.
8. You Fake Happiness
We have this innate instinct to not fall apart in front of our children. We don’t want them to be affected by our weaknesses.
Oftentimes, when you’re burnt out, you’re going to make extra effort to be happy in order to hide the pain and exhaustion.
Fake it ’til you make it, right?
How to Deal with Mom Burnout
Find Time For Yourself
It’s important to find time for yourself in which you are ALONE. That means taking up offers of babysitters and visits to grandmas to go do something that is just for you.
Find Your Mom Tribe
Despite the judgment and shaming that flies around social media between moms, mothers are actually very supportive and empathetic people. You won’t find anyone else who can understand your struggles like another mom.
You can easily burn out when you keep saying “yes” to people. Figure out what your priorities are in your life and start saying “no” to everything else.
Being in nature is greatly beneficial to your physical, mental, and spiritual health. A simple walk can do wonders for clearing your mind and helping you put your struggles into perspective.
Beat the Exhaustion
It is frustrating to be exhausted, burnt out, and overwhelmed as a mother.
But recognizing the signs of burnout will help you understand why you feel like a zombie/rage monster/nobody most of the time. There’s nothing wrong with you – you’re just a mom.
But that doesn’t mean you have to accept burnout as a part of your mom life.
And once you find something that helps you overcome burnout, try to incorporate it into your everyday life!
How do you deal with exhaustion and burnout? Share your tips below!