Mom burnout is real, especially when you’re a stay at home mom.
I stayed home with my daughter full-time till she was 16 months old.
The demands of motherhood and mom burnout are that which I have never experienced at any job.
The constant balancing act of meeting everyone’s needs while trying not to forget about yours can be managed…that is for a while.
However, it won’t take long before you want to throw in the towel before losing your sh*t.
Feeling overwhelmed as a mom is almost a rite of passage.
It can feel like groundhogs day over and over and over and over.
Part of that burnout is feeling guilty for being burnt out and like you could be doing better.
Why can’t I have my A-game every day?
Some days it just felt like no amount of coffee or antidepressants could get you excited about being a mom.
When I’m overwhelmed as a mom, I feel like an asshole that I am counting down the minutes until my daughter’s nap and bedtime when she is having a fussy day.
Some days this is just how I can survive and get through the day.
It’s like rationing my emotional and physical capabilities so I at least have some to give.
Mom burnout is real.
The First Year Can Be Brutal
Feeling Overwhelmed as a Mom
When our kids are young, like one year and under, you’re dealing with many of the same things daily.
They are fussy, gassy, crying, grunting, impatient, demanding, and loud.
Even my daughter’s happy sounds are so loud.
Once she hit ten months, it got more manageable for me to burn out simply due to how much constant noise she was making.
Especially if you’re at home, the stay at home mom burnout is insane.
It’s super easy to suffer from mom burnout in this environment.
When she was younger, she would only voice displeasure or cry if she needed something but wasn’t saying much else.
Now that she is exploring her voice, she is just making noises every second she awakens.
Happy sounds, curious sounds, exciting sounds, irritating sounds, impatient sounds, discontented sounds, and crying.
My default state for those first 15 months was pure anxiety.
Being a stressed mom straight up sucks dude.
Parent anxiety is one of the worst forms of anxiety I have ever experienced.
In a way, I was kind of afraid of her!
I didn’t know which Annabelle I would get on any given day.
My daughter was unpredictable in her temperament.
She has, as Lana Del Rey has coined, a chameleon soul, for sure!
However, as someone who struggled with anxiety and unpredictability before kids, I struggled to find any sort of emotional and spiritual equilibrium during those first 15 months.
Not being able to fully recover from being exhausted, depression and anxiety made burnout a weekly reality.
New mom anxiety is a part of the package deal and just ensuring you are getting the help and rest you need will help alleviate those struggles.
You’re Constantly Putting Out Fires
No Rest For the Wicked
It is a never-ending carousel of a problem after problem.
Once you put one fire out, the baby starts another fire you have to put out.
It is so hard to get into a state of balance and equilibrium with your kid so quickly that it can make burnout happen.
You will work so hard to solve one problem and have a moment of pride that you navigated the turbulent waters and got through it, just for another problem to start poking holes in your boat.
When you never have peace with your baby where you can just be and enjoy, the mom burnout bus is going full speed ahead.
There is very little time to celebrate victories in that first year simply because the second you win, another roadblock rears its ugly head, and you can’t even have a minute to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Luckily as they get older, all the typical baby problems that you have to navigate so endlessly in those early months become fewer and far between as their little bodies and minds become more capable of being human, but not without nearly killing you in the process.
Mood Swings Are Burnout Breeders
Babies are Bipolar
My daughter would take us to hell and back 21 times before 10 am.
By 10 am, I feel like she had already checked off, feeling every emotion a human is capable of.
I have emotional whiplash, and the mom burnout starts setting in.
Preparing for nap time is like a Broadway musical; we laugh, cry, get happy and irritated, then sleepy.
I think my daughter is a little different and feels so damn deeply and can go from a super happy, smiling, laughing angel baby to the super pissed daughter of Smaug’s fire-breathing baby dragon.
There’s no in-between with this kid.
Baby tantrums are scary man.
I am beat when she goes down for her first nap.
Then I blink, and her nap is over, and it feels like I had just put her down.
The emotional whiplash I experienced when my daughter was a baby was astounding.
She would be laughing while upset and trying to cry, playing with her toys, and getting irritated.
She will turn to me, wanting to be held.
I will hold her, then she will squirm and be upset she is restricted, I will put her back down, and she will start to fuss even more and not let go of me.
A lose-lose scenario.
Unfortunately, what’s hard is babies don’t even know what they want or are upset over, so there isn’t anything you can do to help, and you can’t keep up.
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Mom Burnout Leaves Me a Zombie Some Days
Some days, I don’t feel much from start to finish.
The mom burnout is simply too much some days.
I don’t have the energy or mental bandwidth some days to fight my daughter on anything.
These days are what I like to call my “battery saver” days.
Most of my programming is shut down to conserve my batteries to have enough juice to simply get through the day unscathed.
My body and brain are in pure survival mode these days.
I let my daughter just snack on her cheerios and dried fruit all day, with no need for scheduled meals.
I block out her whining and fussing much easier these days.
In a way, these are the days I give myself and my daughter the most grace.
Let’s just get through today, and we can give it another go tomorrow!
They Have A Bottomless Energy Supply
I am always so shocked at the sheer amount of energy such a tiny human can obtain.
Not only that but the strength, the will, and the stamina of a child are that of a superhuman.
They are like literal energizer bunnies bounding around all over the place.
When you are practically running on empty, they have a surplus of energy to burn.
Once my daughter was almost one, I knew I had to get her in some part-time daycare program so she could burn off as much energy with other kids as possible.
Unfortunately, I just don’t have the energy or the stamina of 4 toddlers to help keep her engaged and stimulated.
Some days I feel like that mama lion just resting under a tree, trying to relax while my three lion cubs constantly climbing on me, biting my tail, wrestling with me, and using me as a jungle gym.
By the end of the day, this is pretty much me, laying in the middle of my daughter’s playroom as she climbs all over me, cooing and squealing while using my butt cheeks as bongo drums.
You’re just so tired you don’t even care.
As long as they are having fun, climb as much as you wish!
Between housework and taking care of animals (if you have any), it feels like the second you sit down, it is time to wake her up if she even napped a decent amount of time.
Ironically enough, I cannot wait for the days of naps to be over, so much so they are a false hope for a break, just to have your kid wake up after 30-45 minutes.
Knowing when she’s older, and there are more breaks would be much easier to cope with, and mom burnout won’t be so imminent.
It never ends for moms.
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No Day’s Off For Mom
I just had my 29th birthday.
For my husband’s birthday a couple of months before that, my parents flew out, we dedicated the whole day to him, made him his Irish Coffees and french toast, opened presents, had lunch and beer, then relaxed at the end of the day, and it was glorious!
What did mom get for her birthday?
Luckily because my husband is fantastic, he wrote me a handwritten letter expressing his gratitude to me and flowers.
I relish these moments; they help get me through them because the day did not stop for me.
My husband had to work.
My parents couldn’t make it out.
It was a work day, and the show had to go on.
So I was child-rearing my daughter again, like any other day, because nothing stops for moms!
Unfortunately, mom burnout is so frequent when we don’t get time to just take to ourselves to recover from being a mom.
As much as I try to take time for myself, some things need to get done, life happens, and new responsibilities come into play.
We can just never keep up, it seems.
All of which are quick contributors to mom burnout.
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I Just Want One Whole Day Off
In all honesty, though, there are just some days I wake up, and the last thing I want to do is parent.
There I said it!
I’ve been doing this for nearly two years and have yet to have a full day off from parenting.
I just want to be able to sleep in a little and not have to immediately jump into child-rearing duties.
Some days I just want to do nothing and just order food or have someone else cook(that would be amazing!) and not leave my bed.
Have someone else manage life’s bullshit for a day so I can rejuvenate.
I needed to make some changes to help mellow the mom burnout.
For the longest time, I wanted to be her only caregiver but it simply isn’t sustainable, at least for me.
Seeing her interact with other adults and kids of all ages has been so rewarding and exciting.
Not only that, she loves the time away from us!
She has made so many friends at daycare and it gives us all much needed healthy separation from each other.
Groundhogs Day Fuels Mom Burnout
When you have a baby, the spice of life generally subsides for a while.
You start to feel more like Bill Murray in Groundhogs Day.
What am I doing wrong when I keep reliving the same day repeatedly?!
Everything becomes pretty mundane in routine.
You wake up, feed them, change diapers, play a little, sleep some, cry some, fuss some, eat some more, poop some more, cry a little more, then put them down for the day.
They will wake you up in a few hours for more.
Then you will do it all over again the next day! And the next day! And the next day!
You just start to think:
“What day is it? What YEAR is it? How many weeks is she now? It’s only been two months! Ugh, it never ends!”
Some days it feels like you have been living a life of a broken record for months and months.
It gets supermundane, mind-numbing, and dull.
I could feel my brain starting to atrophy from going through the same routine every day for months.
It does get better as they get older.
However, it comes with new challenges to navigate.
The mom burnout never ends as the days become the months and the years.
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Getting Through The Mom Burnout
We are all trying our best to navigate the balance of motherhood.
It’s so damn hard and can feel like it will never end.
Taking proper steps to demand breaks from your partner if you have one is necessary to prevent burnout.
Taking time each month or so to reassess the workload and see how you are feeling is a good practice, in general, to see if you need to make any changes.
What may have been working for you for a couple of months may not work for you now, where you need to switch things up.
For a while there, like months, I was always the one to put my daughter down for the day, and my husband always got her up.
This system worked well until she was around six months old, and I was starting to burn out, never having evenings to myself after being with her alone all day, and my husband was never getting an opportunity to sleep in.
So we reevaluated and came up with a new system.
We have check-in meetings monthly to ensure we are doing okay with the current setup and not getting overwhelmed or burnt out.
In that first year especially, it can feel like you never even have time to breathe and catch your footing.
It is like a constant game of catch-up.
Nothing lasts forever, though.
Take the necessary steps to help yourself get the rest you need to recover from mom burnout.
We can’t keep pulling from an empty cup forever!