8 Signs You Have Mom Burnout

Momming is hard! You may be wondering if you’re just tired or it’s something more serious. Here are 8 signs you have mom burnout.

If you read this blog often, you’ll know I write often about how hard motherhood is and dedicate a lot of my posts to motherhood support. I think it’s really important to understand what moms go through, but most of all to know there is help. Mom burnout is a real thing and you may not even realize that it’s happening. Today, I’m sharing 8 signs that you have mom burnout.

8 Signs You Have Mom Burnout

You’re Exhausted All the Time

You’re exhausted as soon as your feet hit the floor and you drag all throughout the day. Girl, I’ve been there. All-day tiredness is a big sign that you are running on fumes. If even a good night sleep can’t quench your exhaustion, there is a bigger problem afoot. Even a deep sleep can’t solve the mental and emotional exhaustion you might be feeling. Or perhaps you aren’t sleeping at all despite being totally exhausted! I’ve found there are two things to help with that. Relaxation (decompressing) and joyful activities.

Relaxation requires you to be awake. It can sometimes mean stillness, quietness, or engaging in an activities that makes you feel relaxed, centered, and calm. For some ideas, look at my post 30 Day Wellness Challenge.

When it comes to joyful activities, this means doing things that bring you joy. Maybe it’s playing sports or doing crafts. Exhaustion can happen when the rigors of life are out of balance with the joy in our lives. Don’t forget that having fun is a great way to replenish yourself.

You Can’t Focus

A lack of focus can show up in all kinds of ways. You may notice you are struggling to remember things. You may notice it’s more than just fogginess. Perhaps, you’re making serious mistakes and oversights – things that are completely out of character for you to overlook. I have a great attention to detail, so when I start making sloppy mistakes I know it’s time to slow down and regroup. When you’re exhausted and burnt out, you’ll struggle to keep it all together.

Everything Sets You Off

For me, the main sign I am burnt out is very obvious. I get irritable! I’m being generous here. I become nothing short of a fire-breathing, snarling, little she-demon when I’ve hit my limit. Everything upsets me. Patience is short. Mercy is little. I hate admitting that, but chances are if you’re around me for any length of time, I can’t keep that a secret. Maybe other people aren’t as extreme as I am, but I bet most people are fairly irritable when they are burnt out. I’ve seen it before in co-workers and family. When we’ve had enough, we get pretty fed up with everything. If you find yourself irritable and frustrated all the time or over small matters, you may need to ask yourself if it’s time for a break.

You Become Negative

Okay y’all. I’m no Tony Robbins or Rachel Hollis. I’m not naturally happy-go-lucky or super positive. I try to be, but it certainly does not come naturally. Becoming negative though is actually one of the first signs I have mom burnout. Being negative doesn’t just mean being a “Debby Downer.” It also means you start feeling jaded, maybe even a little cynical about your life, people and circumstances.

The problem is that when we feed a negative attitude, we being to feel even worse. This is why we are instructed by the Bible, motivational speakers, and life coaches to remain purposely positive during hard times. Actions follow our thoughts. Negative thoughts snowball and we can start lashing out in all kinds of destructive ways. A consistent pattern of negativity might reveal you are burnt out.

Health Problems

When you’re burnt out, your body is physically depleted. Stress can leave you more susceptible to illnesses. Anxiety can create tightness in your chest and even arrhythmia. Depression can actually make your body ache. Mental health affects physical health.

In 2009, I had a nervous breakdown from being overloaded at work. That year, I used six months of sick time! I had precancerous cells, a tumor, a sinus infection that would never heal. Honestly, I felt like my body was breaking down (at the age of 29). I just couldn’t get well until I finally took a few months off work to rebound.

I’m not suggesting that being perpetually sick is solely due to stress. There can be lots of underlying health problems that can cause that. But if you find you are systematically unwell while also experiencing burn out, you may need to take a serious look at what stress is doing to your body. Remember, take care of yourself, friend.

8 signs you have mom burnout
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You’re Not Motivated

You know this one well. Demotivation. When we are burnt out, the last thing we want to do…is…well…anything! We are tired of giving. Tired of sacrificing. You’re so done with picking up toys and wiping up crumbs! I know I’m burnt out when I let the house go, live in sweat pants, and have the TV babysit my kids. I know you’ve been there, mama. We all have! We all have days where we don’t feel like adulting, but if you have a long stretch of feeling like this it may be more than just feeling a little lazy. It may be the sign that it’s time for a change. Try switching up your routine or get outdoors. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, I’ve also found that inviting a friend over for the day can help battle the monotony and loneliness.

You Feel Overwhelmed

After I had my second son, I knew I was burnt out because I felt overwhelmed. For example, before my second son, I was a lively mom who loved hosting playdates and going to toddler “mommy and me” activities. But with my new addition, the thought of straying even down the street from my house overwhelmed me. I suddenly became a homebody because even a trip to the grocery store gave me anxiety. A big sign you are burnt out is the inability to handle small tasks without feeling overwhelmed. It’s a big cue you may have too much on your plate.

In moments like this, you need to ask for help. A neighbor, a spouse, parent, friend – someone you trust. Swallow some pride and ask someone to lend a hand or give you a break. Maybe you need to shirk some unnecessary things in your life to lighten your load. You may even need to get professional help, like a therapist to help process feelings of anxiety.

You Cry

I’m being candid here. I cry when I’m burnt out. Whether it is out of frustration or being completely overwhelmed, I find I fight back tears. First, there is no shame in crying. In fact, I recommend it. Crying is an emotional release. It is a biological mechanism designed to help us release pent up feelings that might otherwise burden us. Sometimes, having a good, hard, ugly cry is therapeutic. It is cleansing. Do yourself a favor. If you feel your eyes welling up, go to a private place. Scream into a pillow. Sob into your hands. Go ahead and open up to the heavens and have that deep, wailing, body-shuddering cry until you can’t cry anymore. Then get up and wash your face.

Hang In There, Mama

Listen, friend. Things might be rough right now, but they get better. We all get into slumps and have to struggle to find our way out. Get support. That includes seeking out professional help like a therapist if you need to. They can add tremendous value.

Thank you for reading, 8 Signs You Have Mom Burnout. Before you go, PIN this post for later and share it with a friend who needs it. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for future posts, FREEBIES and giveaways.

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How To Stay Sane As a Stay At Home Mom

(Photos courtesy of Unsplash)

Staying home is a big decision for any woman. It’s hard to stay sane as a new stay at home mom. It doesn’t matter your background, although I think the more you’ve invested in your career the harder it is to give it up. Some women can’t stay home. It takes two incomes to make ends meet and there are some mothers who view staying home as giving up their independence. I’ve learned, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. You actually have to be extremely independent to be at home. It can be a very lonely road. There are no awards or commendations. No raises or promotions if you did an extra good job this year. And truly no sick days! I’ve learned it takes a very special person to do this and enjoy it.

When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I left a 50-hour a week job. It was a very stressful job full of confrontation and lawsuits. Moving from the corporate world to being at home was like shell shock but after lots of trial and error, I’ve learned what works for me. Here are some practical things that helped me stay sane when first started staying home. I hope they help you find your own way.

Create Routines and Schedules

My job was appointment based and so while I was working, I lived by a planner. When I quit my job, I threw it out. Who needs a planner at home, right? My first 6 months at home were awful. Let’s just say, I couldn’t get a handle on anything. I couldn’t keep up with chores. Laundry piled up. Dishes were stacked in the sink. I’d double booked myself or forgot appointments altogether. I felt unaccomplished and overwhelmed.

Then I discovered a Happy Planner. It’s a planner, except you can customize and decorate it. You may not be a planner person and that’s fine, but I will tell you that creating regular routines are good for both you and baby. You choose how stringent or relaxed you want it. Babies and toddlers do well on routines. It’s good for their circadian rythyms.  When they know what to expect, it reduces anxiety and tantrums. They feel secure and you can better manage responsibilities without feeling frazzled.

Leave The House Often

I get it. I know how awful it is to leave the house with an infant. You feel like your packing for a 2 month trip across Europe.  But the more often you go out, the more confident you’ll get doing it and eventually, it won’t even seem like such a big chore. This is key to staying sane as a stay at home mom. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s easier to stay home, but I promise it will do both you and baby a world of good! You’ll feel like a prisoner in your own house if you don’t. I recommend one outing a day.

Meet your husband for lunch, visit parents or in-laws, or have breakfast with a friend. Take a walk with the stroller. It doesn’t even have to be outdoors. Walk a mall or shopping center. Target seems like stay-at-home mom hangout everywhere. You can stop at a coffee shop or schedule a play date with another mom. If you have shopping and errands to do, I recommend spacing them out one per day. You get a break from your house and one outing ensures it won’t be overwhelming. If it’s a very quick outing, make it easier on yourself by just bringing a diaper clutch. It’s scary at first, but over time it will become second nature.

Find Support With Other Moms

The most shocking thing about being a stay at home mom hit me at about six months. My phone stopped ringing. Maybe you’ll have a different experience than I did, but I was absolutely shocked by this. I was very quickly forgotten by friends and colleagues after a few months away from the workforce. I’m not blaming anyone.

When you have a baby, your life changes. It’s common to stop accepting invitations shortly after giving birth. After all, you’re not sleeping and you’re trying to find your feet. After a while, people stopped inviting me altogether. Severe post-partum depression compounded my loneliness. I didn’t have any friends in the same stage of life as me, but then I’m an older mom. Sadder still was that my poor husband, although supportive and attentive, was suddenly solely responsible for all my social and emotional needs. If you want to strain your marriage, this is a great way to do it. No one person can be your everything.

I needed friends. Not just any kind of friends. Friends who understood why it took me a couple of hours to leave the house and was still late. I needed friends who understood all the doubts and second guessing you do as a mom. Friends who force me to leave the house and have some fun. I needed mom friends. These days, if you don’t have any you know personally, you can find play date groups in Facebook groups, Meetup.com, churches, and local websites. I can’t tell you how my life changed when I made non-judgmental, supportive mom friends. I found out I wasn’t weird, inadequate or a failure.

Only in the last 50 to 60 years have women been in the workforce. Before that, all women were at home and had the support of other women at home. Your mom, sisters and neighbors were all at home too. They’d talk over the fence while they hung laundry on the line or did gardening. Women didn’t have to look far for support. Now women are divided between home and work. Those who choose to stay at home may feel alienated because we no longer have the support system we once did. But some awesome women out there have created mom and play date groups to help, so go join one!

Make Your Wellness a Priority

When my oldest son was about 8 months, I felt miserable. He was sleeping through the night, but I was still perpetually exhausted. If I’m being very honest, I had no joy either. I felt depleted in just about every way you can. That’s when I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself anymore. When you have a child, your focus goes from yourself to another person in an instant. That’s good, but don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself and you have to make it a priority. If you wait for it to happen organically, it won’t. Trust me. Don’t give yourself crumbs either. Make it a priority.

This means being deliberate and purposeful about making time for yourself, even if you have to pencil it in a planner. Talk to your partner and get them on board. Whether it’s exercise, a mom’s night out, or a long bubble bath, do things that bring you peace, restoration and fun. There are lots of ways to take care of yourself and I’ve written another post with a free printable if you need ideas. I used to think that “love thy neighbor as thyself” was just about another person. But it’s actually two commands in one. You can’t give what you don’t have and you can’t teach what you don’t know. Practicing regular self-love is about caring for yourself, so you can care for others.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Attitude matters. When I was working, I went through a season of joylessness. I was working in insurance and was very unhappy that I wasn’t working in my field of study – psychology. But that’s when God revealed to me that I was using it, just not in the capacity that I had planned. Everyday I helped people recover when their house burned to the ground or was completely flooded. I was there when family members died. I was, in fact, doing the very thing for which I trained. Everything is a for a season, and it’s up to us to embrace the moment. To put it plainly, your happiness is up to you.

Some days you’ll have to dig deep to find it. It’s hard to remember there should be joy in this. It’s hard to remember why you’re doing this when the house is a mess, babies are fussy and toddlers are on the ground in a full blown fit. You’ll find yourself fantasizing about how perfect working was, even though it’s completely untrue. You had bad days there too. There will be days you need to adjust your attitude. Learn more about how to stay sane by Resetting Your Day as a Mom. Our kids grow up fast and these will one day be “the good old days.” The small things you do everyday are our children’s memories. Make it count, because their lives will be spent away from you longer than they were with you. Enjoy this season and bloom where you’re planted.


Give Yourself Grace

I saved this for last on purpose because it’s the last thing I want you to hear (or read, that is). We’re on our own journey. Your life should look like your own – no one else’s. It’s perfectly okay if you don’t homeschool and bake pies. It’s okay if your life isn’t Pinterest worthy. Trust me when I say Facebook, Instagram and other social media are full of moments that only make the highlight reel edit. It’s an illusion of perfection. Comparison will suck all the joy out of life. Don’t do it.

Don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself grace for mistakes and learning. Make forgiving yourself a habit. Allow yourself to be human. Progress is more important than perfection. Just when you think you have the answers, children will change the questions and the learning begins again. Some days are going to be incredibly hard. Keeping little humans alive might be the only thing that gets done and that is perfectly okay.