Do you feel like you are being pulled in a million different directions? It’s hard for you to know what task or person to attend to first. You keep thinking that if you could just get one more thing done on your to-do list, you could breathe or take a break.
But then there is always more to do than you have hours in the day. It becomes hard to prioritize and by late afternoon, you are completely exhausted and want to crawl into bed hours before bedtime. But doing so, leaves you feeling guiltier and more frustrated with yourself and your life.
If this cycle resonates with you, you aren’t alone. This pattern of pushing through exhaustion to get more done only to feel more exhausted and unproductive is a common experience of modern-day parents. While our modern world has sped up, there is increasing pressure on parents to do more for their kids. And if you are a working mom trying to juggle career and family, this pressure to do more with less time, leaves many moms feeling like they aren’t enough.
Research is starting to emerge that shows burnout isn’t something you only experience at your job, but you can also experience parental burnout. In fact, one parental burnout study stated that approximately 2-12% of parents are so exhausted that they are actually experiencing burnout. In my experience, the frequency of parental burnout, especially working mom burnout is actually much higher.
I invite you to clear some space to listen to the signals your mind and body are trying to tell you, so you can get on a path to either preventing or recovering from mom burnout. No matter what level of fatigue or number of symptoms you are experiencing, if you are giving more than you are receiving, you will feel off. When you feel out of balance, your body will let you know.
We often cover up these symptoms with busyness, more cups of coffee, lots of chocolate, another glass of wine, mindlessly scrolling Facebook, or binging on Netflix. Symptoms are invitations to tune into ourselves and learn what we need instead of ignoring ourselves, tuning out, or pushing through it.
If you have been feeling out of balance for months or years, I invite you to write down which of the following mom burnout symptoms you are experiencing more days than not:
• Irritable, frustrated
• Muscle tension,
• Anxious, worried, hard to relax
• Controlling, perfectionist
• Fatigue, exhaustion
• Sad, teary
• Withdrawn, lonely
• Feeling inferior, comparing self to others
• Insomnia or trouble sleeping
• Frequent colds, illness
• Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness
Then write down one thing that you think you can do or not do to move you closer to finding the peace and relief you so desire. It needs to be something you can either give yourself or have control over not doing.
No matter what level of exhaustion you feel, give yourself permission to get the help and support you need, so you can be there for yourself as much as you are for others. It is possible to find more balance between giving and receiving. Start by putting yourself on your list and begin recognizing that you can give yourself what you need.
Marci Payne, MA, LPC, resident of Lee’s Summit, offers counseling for mom burnout at 816-373-6761 ext. 2. If you’d like to create a space to tune into what you need too, schedule free 15-minute phone consult at https://marcipayne.com.