3 Ways to Prevent Motherhood Burnout
3 Ways to Prevent Motherhood Burnout
by Laura McMullin
Let’s face it: as amazing as motherhood can be, being a mom can also be exhausting. As mothers we give every ounce of ourselves--every single day, all day long--to the little humans that have blessed our life. From the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep, “the littles” require our 24/7 attention. Even when the kids are sleeping, we are still working to tend to the needs of the house as we tidy up and organize. We are like the energizer bunny: Non. Stop. Action. It is rare that we can actually have some time for ourselves. When we do, it is likely after the kids are sleeping and by that time, we are exhausted and depleted.
If we go through everyday only tending to our families’ needs without also deliberately tending to our own needs, we become depleted and susceptible to burnout. What can we do to avoid extinguishing our own light as we nurture the light in our children?
Here are 3 simple ways to prevent motherhood burnout.
1: Spend Time with Adults (In Person)
So much of our mothering happens in isolation. When we spend so much time with just kids, it is easy to lose contact with friends or other adults we enjoy being with. One way to protect ourselves from burnout is to reach out to adults and spend time with them in person. While online connections are valuable, it is incredibly rejuvenating spending time with adults in person.
Ideally you would set up a friend-date with a good friend and a date night with your partner (without the kids, of course). Time alone with friends is essential and so very special. It is sometimes hard to schedule get-togethers with a BFF though, especially if they also have kids--this is when phone dates come into play. At minimum, find times throughout the week when you can talk on the phone with your closest friends--and maybe even combine a phone conversation with a nice walk outside for even more health benefits. Having regular check-ins with close friends supports wellbeing in so many ways.
If you are in a partnership raising kids together, having weekly date nights with your beloved is also essential in cultivating your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your family. Do whatever it takes to carve out time with your honey as much as possible throughout the week, even if it is a few minutes before bed, a few minutes on the couch while baby is napping, or meaningful conversations in the car. Connecting with your partner in peace and presence can be very rejuvenating, and remember to talk about something other than your amazing kids!
Consider also pausing and becoming present with neighbors or people in your community while you are moving about your day. It is amazing how rejuvenating it can be to simply have a conversation with another adult for a few minutes, and some connections may actually turn into meaningful friendships. The point here is to make an attempt to simply connect with other adults. We are social beings and connecting with others restores our social needs.
2. Spend Time Alone
Whether you are an introvert, an extrovert, or a combination of the two, having alone time as a mother is a must. One of the unexpected results of motherhood is that at one point or another, a profound identify shift occurs and we find ourselves trying to reconcile who we are as mothers with who we once were (and still are) as individuals. Having time alone gives us the space we need to come back to ourselves over and over again. This alone time is sacred. It is the time when we can simply be with ourselves, replenish our energy, and do what we would like to do for us. Being able to give to ourselves in whatever way feels right is profoundly restorative. This alone time is the perfect opportunity to practice self-care and nurture our interests.
3. Nurture Your Interests
Every single one of us has gifts, talents, and skills that are uniquely our own and that we are meant to share with the world. Before becoming mothers, it is likely that we were guided by our personal interests and passions. If you reflect back in your life, consider the things that you gravitated towards before becoming a mom. When did you feel most alive and joyful? What kind of activities did you love to be immersed in? What inspired you? Now consider how these activities can still be part of your identity as a mother. It is vital that we stay true to who we are at our core.
There is a wonderful quote by Dr. Howard Thurman that says, “Ask not what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” This has to be one of the greatest quotes of all time because it reminds us that we are here to “come alive”! We are meant to be happy and fulfilled and joyful in life. While we can often find great joy in tending to our children’s needs, we also have a duty to tend to our own needs -- including our need to be fulfilled on a soul level, which requires that we nurture our passions and interests, even through motherhood.
So Mama, what makes YOU come alive? If all of us mothers would give an ounce of our time and care to ourselves and our passions, we would: 1) be more fulfilled in life and thus be more present and joyful with our kids; 2) model for our children to how to always stay connected with their passions and interests so they too can “come alive” by following their heart and honoring their soulful wishes; and 3) contribute to the world in wonderful ways sharing our gifts with others, which is deeply satisfying and energizing.
Being a mom is awesome. It is also a very demanding experience. In order to be the best version of ourselves and avoid the possibility of burnout, we have to find ways to: 1) cultivate the meaningful relationships in our lives; 2) spend time alone and practice self-care in order to replenish our energy; and 3) nurture our passions and interests for our own fulfillment and to contribute to the greater good while modeling for children how to do the same.