Mom burnout is no joke. It can affect your mood, relationships, parenting and so much more. But with the right tools and attitude, you can overcome it. Let’s work together to lessen your mental load and improve self-care (part of my 2018 goals for myself too!) The hardest part is starting- let’s do it together!
Happy New Year!! I hope you had a great time celebrating the holidays with friends and family and that you’re feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new year! I know that I was more than ready to welcome 2018 with open arms.
2017 was a weird year for my family. We’ve been more or less in “go-mode” since we moved in July 2016 and haven’t really been able to stop and take a breath. But towards the end of the year, as we made some decisions about our future (job, buying a house, finances, etc.) it felt like everything came to a screeching halt and adulthood gave us a big wake-up call/slap in the face.
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When I stopped to look at why I was having this big wake-up call, I realized that things have actually been “off” for a while. For the past 7-8 months or so, I have:
- Not been sleeping well
- Been more moody
- Not been feeling well more often than not
- Been feeling unmotivated
- Been pretty hard on myself
- Felt disconnected
I just had so much going on that I never really had time to connect the dots. But as soon as things slowed down, it was a fast realization that something had to change.
So I did a quick google search (because, of course) and the lightbulb went off. I quickly realized that I was experiencing a major burnout!
Before Ladybug was born and I was working, it was easier for me to feel myself burning out because I would notice it in my mood or productivity at work. I had more time to think, as silly as that sounds, and could plan ahead for when a burnout might happen, like at the end of my event season at work.
But now that life looks a
little lot different, I just wasn’t aware it was happening until it had already happened. I didn’t know what was “normal” and what wasn’t, although I’ve learned that that looks different for everyone.
And for me, the worst part of feeling burned out, is that it can feel like it may never get better. Of course, that isn’t true, but when you’re in it, you’re in it. And when I don’t have a plan, or know the “how” for how I’m going to do something, it really throws me off.
In the past, making a big change, like leaving my job to go to grad school, or planning a week-long beach vacation were my go-to fixes for burnout. But as a thirty-something adult, I can’t necessarily just pick up and go like I could before. Now I not only have a new type of burnout (#momlife) to add to the mix, but I also need to learn a new way to escape it and get back on track.
So after a long
talk vent session with my husband, I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t expect change if I wasn’t willing to do anything about it. If I was just sitting here, hoping that things would perk up or that I’d feel better, I’d likely be waiting a long time.
I had to take action, and I had to do it now.
So that same night, I sat down with my laptop and created a 2018 action plan.
As I mentioned in my post for Family Goal Planning, I’m not big on resolutions. I never keep them and I find that I do much better when I can set a specific task and hold myself accountable.
So when I sat down to create the Action Plan, I really thought about what I wanted to get from this. At the end of 2018 when I look back, what do I want to have accomplished? Here’s what I came up with:
- Reconnect with friends
- More focus on marriage (vs. feeling only like a parenting team)
- Have a clutter-free home
- Feel good more often than not
- Be in the present
- Learn self-care
Many of these goals go hand-in-hand, and some may be a little unrealistic (will my home ever really be completely clutter-free? Probably not), but it gave me a good starting point.
I used the Goal Setting Areas from my Family Goal Planning Worksheet as the foundation and then went to work. I wrote out each month across the top of my spreadsheet, and then wrote my selected categories down the left-hand side, like this:
For each category and month, I then created tasks for myself. Here’s a few examples:
Exercise: I haven’t worked out since Ladybug was born so I’m a little apprehensive and want to ease back into it. So in January, I asked my husband to try a class with me at the gym we belong to and then in February, I’ll go on my own. I’m optimistic that this will help relieve a lot of my stress.
House: In January I am going to list all of my old clothes for sale (I’ll be sure to post about my experience!) and in February, I picked one room in the house to declutter.
Marriage: My husband and I are way overdue for some quality time, so we decided that we will commit to 2 dates a month. We looked up a lot of fun things to do in our city and have plans to take a cooking class, bike around a park and see a new movie at our CineBistro.
Miscellaneous: This is the category just for me. I believe that self-care is all-encompassing so by exercising, organizing the house and working on my relationships, I’ll already be on my way to feeling better. But I left this category open for things like reading one book each month (I’ll post my takeaways and reviews!) and limiting my screen time.
This is going to be a flexible document so I can change things as needed, but more than anything it gives me a place to start.
Write It Down
In addition, I went out and purchased a physical planner. I love my phone calendar just as much as the next mom, but sometimes having something written down on paper helps to make it stick. I found this amazing MintGreen planner that has plenty of space to keep me organized on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and came with stickers to help important dates stand out. In addition, the planner is filled with motivational and inspirational quotes that you’ve seen throughout this post!
I found mine at Wal Mart and though it can’t be purchased online (it says in-store only, don’t you hate when that happens?), I did find a few that are VERY similar that I’d definitely recommend:
Mom Burnout is real. Stay at home moms, work at home moms, working in the office moms– EVERYONE has their own struggles. Between the responsibilities and logistics of our kid(s), spouses, family, friends, careers, homes, finances and so much more, it’s amazing how we’re still standing at the end of the day. It’s not that we don’t love it– trust me, I wouldn’t trade my messy life for anything–but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be overwhelming or that we don’t need to stop and take a minute sometimes.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the mental load that a lot of women bear, and it could not be more true. There is A LOT on our plates, yet somehow we pull through. We really are superwomen!
You Can Do It!
So in this new year, with a fresh start, I challenge you to be intentional in your actions:
Make the decision that you are done with the burnout and that you are ready to make a change.
Decide what you need and ask for it.
Figure out what makes you happy and do more of it. (even little things like hugging your spouse!)
Make things happen.
Take care of you first.
Only you have the power to make changes in your own life.
It will lead to a happier, more relaxed version of yourself. And for me, I know that means I’ll be a better mom, a better wife, a better friend and so on.
I just have this feeling that 2018 is going to be a great one. I truly hope you’ll join me on the journey.