Because we, moms, don’t always feel super!
When my life as a mom started some nine years back, I made it a point to stop checking on celebrities’ lives especially those who are in the mother-zone like me. This is because in most of the pictures I see about celebrity moms in the internet, they make motherhood look like sailing over very pristine waters when in my reality, it most resembles trying to find my way and bearing in VERY deep, VERY dark and VERY rough seas [VERY capitalized for intensity]. Most times, it’s a never ending cycle of household chore after another [mother of toddlers, I’m looking at you!]. A mother is a nanny, a housekeeper, an accountant, a coach, a referee and at times a wife rolled into one. And if you are a career woman, add job to the file!
And so, because of the many roles we juggle, we, mothers, have to deal with this hideous monster that rears its ugly head out from time to time — an ogre called MOMMY BURNOUT. And struggling with burnout is one lonely fight. And if left unchecked, it may lead to depression.
In line of the saying, prevention is better than cure”, as a mom, I personally think keeping burnout away is easier than letting it come and dealing with it face-to-face because truth is, mommy burnout isn’t a one-time thing. So, what do I do too keep myself from being singed by the burn brought about by mommy burnout? Well, here are five very simple ways.
- There’s power in retreating.
When a situation’s morphing into something overcharged with emotions, retreat.
Being a mother of three kids of varying ages and different personalities has taught me that some circumstances are best dealt with a level head achieved after a few moments away from them.
Example, my house is a squabble zone. Not a day goes by without my kids fighting over something. Some rows I deal head on. But there are times when I’m stressed out over other things and here comes my kids engaged in a very unpleasant screamfest. Before I find myself joining in [just, you know, to see whose screams are the loudest and most authoritative], I call a time out [I put my quarreling kids away from each other] and allow myself and them to cool off before I call them back and deal with whatever they’re screaming at each other about. Well, it’s not that overly simple most of the time but that’s the gist of it.
- Learn to say no.
Most moms are affected with what is known as FOMO – fear of missing something out. This fear is what makes us say “yes” to everything that comes our ways because we’re afraid that if we don’t, we’re going to miss something important. But we have to accept that WE’RE NOT CAPABLE OF DOING EVERYTHING and that being a super mom has limitations. So we must learn to say no and keep our schedules as simple as possible to avoid frustrations, stress and eventually, burnout.
These are the three things I do to simplify my daily schedule:
- I focus with what I believe are the 2 most important household chores in my home. These would be the laundry and keeping the main room of the house clean [because it’s where my computer is docked and I just can’t write when my surrounding area’s in chaos]. The laundry’s a one-time thing each day so I do that first. Sorting out the main room, on the other hand, needs to be done once or twice [I have a toddler who’s made it her mission disarranging everything]. I do other things in between like cooking and writing an article or two for work.
- I involve my kids in decisions regarding their extracurricular activities. The pressure’s on to put my kids in whatever activity there is every season. After all, other moms do it. However, I don’t. I sign my kids up for activities that interest them. After all, what’s the point of signing up your kids for something when their hearts are not in it? Save them and yourself from frustrations!
- When I’m asked to volunteer over something, I don’t immediately say yes. I tell them that I need to check my schedule and get back to them. Then, I assess myself — if I’m filled with dread over doing that certain volunteer work, I call in to say “no”. Being unhappy doing something just to make someone happy isn’t worth it.
- Find time to take care of yourself.
We may think and say this all the time but the truth is, we seldom do it. We don’t exercise in the morning [and it’s the best time to just do that] because it’s the busiest part of our days and then, we don’t have any time to do our routines anymore. We turn into junk foodies because they’re the easiest to prepare. We function on limitless cups of coffee as we just don’t get enough sleep and it’s the only thing that’ll keep us going only to realize at the latter part of the day that we haven’t drank a glass of water. Moms of young babies and toddlers can’t even seem to find time to take a bath!
Mommies, taking care of ourselves is important not just for others but for our own wellbeing as well. Remember the saying “look good to feel good”? As shallow as that may sound, it does have a grain of truth in it.
- Make time for yourself minus the kids.
This isn’t a problem anymore for moms with school-age kids as when they’re in school, they have a bit of free time to do whatever it is they want like doing a bit of reading.
For moms of toddlers and babies, however, making time for yourselves can be quite a difficulty with little ones dependent on you for most of, if not all, the time. As a mother of a toddler myself as well as from the experiences I’ve had with my two other older kids, having a little time for myself do great wonders to keep my mind and my nerves intact.
Here are a few things you can do to have that much needed time for yourself:
- Allow your husband to babysit [this is possible if your baby’s already bigger].
- Consider sending your toddlers to day care or half-day preschool. Not only will you have time for yourself, your child will be able to have more social interactions outside the home which can be good in developing his/her social skills.
- Schedule visits to grandma and grandpa’s house. Grandparents living nearby are a joy. They just love having kids around and you can have a few hours to escape or do things that need to be done.
- Most importantly, take care of your marriage.
One of the most common reasons why marriages fall apart is neglect. Husbands and wives just don’t have time for each other and their worlds just seem to revolve around different points. But it’s also one reason that’s easiest to work out.
My husband and I make it a point to go on dates once a month without the kids. We also try to eat as a family once everyday – usually, lunch or dinner. Our family meals are unhurried without the TV blaring on in the background. These things keep us grounded in our marriage and have helped a lot throughout the years.