20 Bad Habits That Contribute To Mom Burnout

20 Bad Habits That Contribute To Mom Burnout

We all have one or two — or more — bad habits that we constantly find ourselves doing when we could be doing more productive, enjoyable things.

I’m talking about things that really don’t need to be done as much as we do them. But, we feel obligated and required to do them.

Of course, we’ve created this internal expectation of ourselves.

All of this creates busyness. And since we’re trying to #BanBusy from our family lives, it’s time to kick some bad habits to the curb.

I’m totally at fault for some of these myself at times, particularly when I’m tired — especially when I’m tired.

Feeling exhausted just seems to breed more tired behaviors and bad habits.

And so instead of sleeping, we fight sleep and we do these weird habits that only make us feel more tired and more overwhelmed rather than rested and ready to rock the world. And all of this leads to more and more mom burnout, not less.

Bad habits are formed almost without effort. And yet those same bad habits are eating up our hours, leaving us wondering where all of our time went today.

The trick, of course, is learning new habits to replace the bad ones.

little girl lying in bed with smartphone at home

Here are 20 Bad Habits to Stop Right Now To Stop Busy Mom Burnout:

  1. Checking your email every time it pops into your inbox.
  2. Cleaning everything all day.
  3. Worrying about things you cannot control.
  4. Reading your Facebook feed when bored or tired.
  5. Not getting enough sleep.
  6. Waking up too late.
  7. Filling your calendar with too much to-dos.
  8. Expecting too much from a single day.
  9. Juggling multiple things at once.
  10. Forgetting to do the important things first.
  11. Waking up and checking email first.
  12. Going to bed with your phone or other device.
  13. Sitting all day at the computer.
  14. Looking at a device more than those you love.
  15. Putting off little things for so long they add up to become big things.
  16. Forget to schedule time for relaxing and fun.
  17. Rushing through every single moment.
  18. Not really listening to those around you.
  19. Saying yes to everyone but yourself.
  20. Not knowing how to say no with grace.
Discuss: Are you guilty of any of these or do you have your own bad habits to list here?
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37 Responses to 20 Bad Habits That Contribute To Mom Burnout

  1. I love your list. A big change my husband and I made at the end of last year was to stay unplugged after dinner. We had already committed to always having dinner as a family (if everyone was home) without any devices (unless it was a rare family movie night dinner). We really loved that choice — dinner unplugged and together. Then one time when my husband and I were lamenting the fact that it was hard for us to ever have a date night, he had an “a-ha” moment and pointed out that our boys (2 and 4) get in bed around 7:30 and are often asleep by 8 or 8:30 at the latest, but that neither of us went to bed that early. Even if we went to bed at 10 (which is pretty early for us), we could have 1.5-2 hours of quality time together if we decided to. It was an amazing realization. Now, we try and make sure we unplug starting with dinner and stay unplugged so that we can spend quality time together. Sometimes we slip up, but not for long. I love this decision and definitely feels that it has given us a more abundant life — we can have a “date night” every night without spending any money at all!!

    • That’s a great idea, Jennifer. Sometimes life does happen and we have to get on the computer or the phone, right? That’s called being human. :)

  2. I am guilty of almost all of those things. Once I am done with school at the end of June I plan on concentrating on de-cluttering my life starting with my house, my mind, and my time. I have so many to-dos and things that I do when I know I should be doing something else, like sleeping, but instead I stay up on the computer or on Facebook. I am going to focus on allotting myself a certain amount of screen time per day to work and ‘play’ so I can get it under control. Sometimes it is easy to forget to pay attention to the things right in front of you.

  3. I love our technology, but it does take away from the humanness of our experiences. Am I brave enough to unplug?

    • Wait until you read my next book before you ask this question about unplugging. Choosing to unplug forever is harsh. Choosing to unplug for a week is often useless. I am taking a different spin on this idea in my book and telling you to actually plug in. :) But you will have to read the entire chapter to get the message.

  4. I love your posts. Just wondering if you could expand on the last point, not knowing how to say no with grace?

    • Amber – Great question and I’ll be writing more about each of these going forward since there’s been so much response to this list. Saying no with grace means making sure you understand why you are saying no and feeling confident with that reason and then politely declining to the person asking with a simple “I really wish I could help you right now because I believe in your project but I really need to make more time for myself and my family this week or this month. :)

      • That is exactly right and I would just add to keep firm. Some people will continue to ask after you’ve been clear and direct and some may even try make you feel guilty about saying no. That is often an issue within themselves rather than you, so just continue to say no with kindness and eventually they’ll drop it.

      • I don’t believe you need to give a reason? “I really need to…” I agree with validating their requests, yet politely saying “im sorry, however I am unable to help you at this time” should be sufficient. :)

  5. Guilty! Wow, so many of these are my everyday. I think I know this about myself, but it’s actually more eye-opening to see it written down, put into words. The cleaning thing is probably the hardest one for me! I have always felt like since I stay at home, it is my duty to keep the house clean all the time. I can’t relax unless everything is tidy. I have 3 children, so how often do I “relax” after cleaning up after them? Um, not often! Maybe I need to pick one bad habit at a time on your list to work on because there are SO many here…

    • We clean all day because it’s never clean and yet we aspire to have it clean so we just clean and clean and clean. Well, I don’t … We do one round of clean up a day and I do a morning burst. The rest we do one day a week. Cleaning stinks but I love a clean house. Funny, right?

    • You have a choice to make or break them each day. If you like them, keep them. If you don’t, change them.

  6. Oh golly. These are me nearly every day. (Except I never sleep in). Looks like I need to rethink my days.

  7. Guilty of most, especially #11. Why is that bad? I’ve always said that checking my email and facebook is my “morning paper.” I’d love to hear more about how you think that starts the day off bad… (not saying I don’t agree, I just want to be more convinced myself!)

    • Why is checking email bad? Well, it felt bad for me because emails — especially work emails — come from everyone else, right? And those emails are based on their needs, right?

      So when you read their emails and feel obligated to respond to their needs, where does that put your needs?

      Hey, if checking email is your happy place, by all means do it!! :)

      It’s not my happy place. Well, I should say that I love checking my email for Abundant Mama Project. But, I’m a better mother when I’ve done something other than that in the mornings.

  8. I do so many of the items on your list, and I’m completely burnt out… so much so that I am actually dreading the start of summer vacation. I’m overwhelmed, exhausted, bored, and just plain blah. Sometimes I think I’m going to start smashing dishes if I unload the dishwasher one more time!

    • Hugs to you. I hear you, but I also know you can turn things around for yourself. You sound like you need to sign up for the next round of The Abundant Mama Project!! Last session of the year happens in September. Get on the wait list. xx

  9. Wow! I do most, if not all, of the things on this list! My intention for this week has been to be present, too. I want to be present at work when I’m at work, and present at home when I’m at home, but I’m so easily distracted by things like checking my email, facebook, google, etc. I feel like I am constantly juggling more than one thing at once. In fact, when I’m at work, I feel like I don’t actually settle down and get down to business until the afternoon — what a waste of time! I don’t know how to stop! Should I dedicate a certain time of day — and period of time — to dealing with email and facebook — and, if so, when? I NEED sleep — I don’t get enough good sleep as it is and I find that most days, I actually go to sleep when my son does because I’m THAT tired. I really want to learn how to slow down, be present, do one thing at once, and not be distracted. My distraction is ruining my life, and I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic. I’m sorry for the rant. It’s just that I’ve realized that it’s 11:40AM here, and I haven’t focused on my actual work yet. Sigh.

  10. Oh. My. Lord. Shameful. I do far too many of the things on this list, particularly, near the end. Yikes.

  11. Wow! Guilty, guilty guilty. Hardly ever do #11, doing #12 now and the others? So very guilty. I do like the idea of banning/changing them one at at time. But wow – with 4 kids, when will I ever stop cleaning?

  12. I know it sounds crazy and maybe unthinkable for some, but i do not have facebook.I tell you it’s liberating!!! Now, truthfully i ended my facebook account before my daughter was born, but i remember before she was born how sucked in i would become with everyone’s information. It’s so easy to get lost on facebook, and i know it would be even more tempting now being a stay at home mom. Sometimes the monotony is challenging. But just considered for a moment what your llife would be like without facebook. How would your daily life change? If it’s doable for you, maybe try it. It is my key to staying present in the moment. Now if i could just get rid of my cell phone!!! I am resentful of the device led culture we have become and striving to find balance with it.

  13. I just found you after falling into a pinterest rabbit hole. # 15.Putting off little things for so long they add up to become big things resonates with me. And I know I’m doing it! Like right now….. online instead of doing a small task…. thanks for opening the conversation we all need to have as mothers. I look forward to reading more on your blog

    • I know that rabbit hole well. :) And I love it because it brings people like you and I together. Glad you found your way around …

  14. Am I guilty?? Yes, but I DO NOT CLEAN unless we can’t walk without the floor sticking to our feet, or unless we NEED dishes and clean underwear. I know that sounds bad, but I have an amazing friend that is always cleaning and gets so flustered when she puts something away and her kids mess up what she just cleaned. I don’t want to live like that. Thank you for the list however, I do need more sleep instead of playing games trying to beat my friend at whatever level, to feel refreshed in the morning. I have insomnia as it is, but my brain is on over-load and even when I am relaxed and not playing games I still see “moves” in my head! Mean Mean cycle!

  15. Oh yes and I dislike it so much these technologies. They are genius but ruining my sleep. #4 I am guilty of. And I am way too much on pint wrest they so addictive. But cutting off soon


    • Pinterest is definitely addicting. Fine to use now and then, but finding that balance is key, for sure.

  16. I will admit that I am guilty of all but 2 of those habits :(
    I want to slow right down and remove all of my computer devices, including my phone when my son gets home from school from tomorrow onwards. The relationships I have with my children and my husband are far more important than any computer or media device.

    • And, the result is that you’ll have more energy for them — and yourself, too. Let me know how it is going.

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Shawn Fink - Abundant MamaFrom Our Founder

I created The Abundant Mama Project to inspire overwhelmed, busy mothers to slow down and let go of the worries and concerns that are holding them back from experiencing joyful motherhood. Read More »
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