Mom burnout feels a lot like a weight holding you down.
It washes away all joy.
It leaves you feeling numb to life.
Nothing has meaning, purpose.
Nothing brings you alive.
When you are in mom burnout mode, you will function in the status quo. You will do what you have to do — because that’s what survival mode does. It keeps us in a repetitive pattern of doing and doing.
When you are experiencing burnout, it’s really hard to have motivation to get up and do anything — even the things you typically love to do.
This is not living.
Mom burnout — whether it be in your job or in caregiving — strips you of the energy and joy you need to live your best life as a mother.
I was recently working with a new private coaching client who week and week kept running into obstacle upon obstacle that prevented her from doing the work we had discussed in her sessions. She was growing frustrated and the more we talked about it, the more I understood the situation.
She was in total mom burnout.
The mom burnout pattern looks a lot like this: Wake up. Do the hard work of being a mother and tending to everyone else. Go to sleep.
This is not living with joy and heartfulness.
This is mom burnout. This is going through the motions. This is a pattern of being unable to care for yourself the way you need to be cared for and nurtured.
How do you know if you are in mom burnout? Here are some of the signs I’ve noticed from my clients …
- You feel unmotivated to do anything — especially your own self-care.
- You feel numb and cannot seem to experience authentic joy.
- You feel a constant heaviness holding you down, dragging you along that makes it hard to take action.
- You feel negative and frustrated about many things in your life but you feel powerless to change anything.
- You feel resentful for any rest or fun your partner or ex-partner has in their life.
- You feel like you are being swallowed up by constant responsibilities and feel overwhelmed with where to begin to change the pattern.
What causes mom burnout?
I experienced mom burnout for the first time when my daughters were young tweens. As a highly sensitive and empathic mother, I had spent the past 10 years focused solely on their growth, their development, their needs, their passions that I hadn’t really put that same energy into building true thriving foundations for myself.
That was when I realized I needed to make some serious changes — and fast.
But it’s not always easy to stop all the patterns that lead to mom burnout such as …
- How we give all of ourselves to others without holding any sense of respect and worthiness for own personal wellness.
- When we serve others before ourselves repeatedly until we collapse of exhaustion or illness.
- When we ignore our own basic needs.
- When we practice bad habits that lead us to a less fulfilling lifestyle.
Mothers and caregivers of parents and partners that are unable to care for themselves are often the first to burnout from constant giving and giving. Even though a caregiver may make time for self-soothing like a bath or a bit of meditation, this is not an appropriate recovery to truly refuel and recharge.
What does unaddressed mom burnout do in the long run?
It is easy to blame parenting on your burnout. You just have so much to do and so little time to do it.
However, operating in extreme physical and emotional fatigue is not good for you and it’s not good for your child and family.
Of course you go through the motions and operate on auto-pilot to make sure everything gets done. But your lack of energy for true joy and connection becomes more and more apparent.
This creates a lack of bond and connection with your child or children. They will pick up on your exhaustion and disinterest as well and act accordingly.
Mom burnout shows up in your work, too. It shows up in mistakes and an inability to make sound, intentional decisions. And it shows up in how often you end up saying yes to doing things you don’t want to do because you are so busy trying to prove you are enough on the outside because you do not feel enough on the inside.
All of these results of mom burnout can lead to intense feelings of guilt, shame and loneliness.
What can you do about burnout right now?
It’s easy to think that what you need is a rest and certainly good sleep and more time to relax is going to be a great start.
But the only way to really tackle burnout is to create a foundation of true self-care that leads to a greater sense of purpose and meaning in your life. Figuring out what brings you alive so that you can BE YOU, FINALLY again is the secret.
When a new client comes to me facing severe mom burnout we begin the hard work of digging her out of the rubble of motherhood. We start to figure out what her patterns of self-care — or lack of self-care — have been so that she can first reclaim herself and her energy to start living a more bold, beautiful life. This self-discovery work pulls back the layers of shoulds, of expectations and of lifelong habits that need to be reshaped and redesigned. We begin to help you learn how to truly mother yourself so that you can lead your family to a sense of peace and joy.
Sure, I needed the right kinds of self-care but mostly I really needed to know what made me giddy with delight.
And if you have been living in burnout for months or years, your recovery is going to require a deep level of true self-care that restores not only your body but also restores your feelings of self-worth and unconditional love. DOWNLOAD MY SELF-CARE WHEEL TO BEGIN YOUR WELLNESS INVENTORY NOW.
Mostly, though, you need to accept that it’s time to make a change — and that you have the power to create your best life. You have to believe that you are worthy enough to really begin to create a thriving plan for yourself that is filled with mindful, intentional actions to take on a consistent basis. Download my FREE WELLNESS TOOLKIT FOR MOMS NOW.