I’m a stay-at-home mom of 3 kids and I’m burnt out. I am mentally, emotionally, and physically tapped. I have no more left to give, but keep giving I must because my 5-year-old, 3.5-year-old, and 16-month-old need me. My husband needs me. My family needs me. My friends need me.
My 5-year-old needs to chatter about her social escapades, ask random questions (“What do mermaids eat for dinner?”), and safely lose every one of her marbles in evening meltdowns while I listen, answer, and herd her back into wholeness. My 3.5-year-old needs to ramble about Rock Star Barbie and princesses’ hair, ask 15 times in 1 hour if we are going to Meme’s house even though his book bag and lunchbox are clearly set out for school, and request impromptu cuddles, while I act enthralled, calmly respond, and happily embrace. My 16-month-old needs to cause calamity, rough-house, and breastfeed on demand, while I ensure safety, fun, and nourishment. My husband needs me to communicate and interact like a loving, appreciative, present, well-mannered partner. They all need me to cook, clean, wrangle, organize, referee, chauffeur, and schedule. And just generally be a decent, happy human.
I have neither the energy nor the wherewithal to effectively do any of this right now. Nope. Not a bit.
I’m done. Keg’s tapped. Peaces!
So what do I do when I’m burnt out? Honestly, I snap more than I should. I lie awake wracked with mom guilt from all that I expect myself to do but can’t due to lack of time. I mentally berate myself for each of my accurate and perceived shortcomings. I replay every misstep and lament what was left undone. I feel every ounce of my overwhelmed state. I feel guilty for being overwhelmed instead of savoring this fleeting precious life stage that, one day, I will earnestly wish back into present time. Then I self-defeat by piling more tasks and to-dos onto my rambling list of expectations. Because I’m a mom… that’s what we do. Life does not stop simply because we are exhausted. There is no vacation day for us… no breather.
Without true respite, how do I pull myself out of these natural and normal burnout blips? Self-care, fortitude, and friends. Mainly, though, patience. I try to focus on things that fulfill me, fuel me, and make me feel healthy overall. For some that may be painting or jogging, yoga or reading. For me, sneaking exercise into my daily routine helps immensely. I fuel myself by focusing on hydration and nutritious foods, without depriving myself of whimsical treats. I surround myself with fun friends that leave me feeling supported, happy, light, and positive. I afford myself patience knowing this blip is reasonable, understandable, and temporary.
I cut myself slack. I forgive myself for my abbreviated patience. I remind myself this is temporary. I’ll be back in the game soon.
Mommy burnout doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom. It means you’re human.