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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

9 Ways to Avoid Mommy Burnout

Feeling burned out, struggling with anxiety or flirting with depression are all very real and common issues of being a mom (or parent). I spoke candidly last winter about my surprising battle with postpartum depression. I wound up sinking even deeper the months to follow, the first couple months in Japan being some of the darkest moments of my life. Fortunately I eventually started to recover and can say I've been in a healthy place mentally and emotional for a few months now. Though I still have days that throw me, they don't consume or control me anymore. I cannot pinpoint an exact day or event that caused me to start recovering, it doesn't really work that way. What I can say is that I tried to be very intention with my day in finding ways to promote lifted spirits! The following are practices that have helped me and continue to help me on this journey of motherhood.

1) Get Outside
Sunshine and fresh air are game changers for me, I'm definitely more fun to be around in the spring and summer months in comparison to fall and winter. Vitamin D and fresh air aside, getting the kids outdoors burning energy and living unplugged can help to keep the kiddos more manageable while indoors.

2) Keep to a Schedule and Routine 
It's no secret that children thrive on routine, I saw this as a classroom teacher before I became a stay-at-home mom. When little ones know what to expect and can take ownership in it, then less redirecting occurs. Of course it can be hard to get a schedule nailed down but consistency will get you there. Seriously, consistency, consistency, consistency until you feel like the joke's on you, you'll get there. 

3) Find a Hobby
Being a stay at home mom has not been easy for me, especially when it comes to my identity and feeling of self worth. I like having projects/jobs that are not mom related that I can fit in and around being a mom. This is mainly why I blog and run an Etsy shop. I also try to get back into the classroom as a guest teacher when I'm in The States. 

4) Date your Spouse
My husband and I didn't go on many dates when we had our first child which was a total mistake on our part. When our second was born we were really feeling the tension and disconnect between us so we actually decided to reevaluate our love languages (this was part of our premarital counseling, learning about the 5 love languages). To no surprise the way we feel loved has changed a lot since originally taking the test 5 years ago. By the way, if you haven't heard of the 5 Love Languages I strongly encourage you to look into it. Pair relearning how the other feels loved with date nights, the time spent together away from our kiddos has helped to refocus our marriage, which should come before our children. 

5) Playdates
This one can be a little more difficult because both the mamas and the kids need to enjoy each other which is actually more difficult than you might think. If you thought making friends was hard already, throw children and parenting into that mix, sheesh! When you are lucky enough to meet other mamas you enjoy who have kids of similar age to yours everything feels right in the world. That time spent together is reenergizing for everyone involved, happy kids and happy mama is a win, win!  

6) Girl's Night Out
It's great to connect with gal-pals during playdates but lets be real, between the butt wiping, behavior redirecting (which happens even when the kids are friends), dishing out snacks, tying shoes, retying shoes, bathroom runs, boo-boo kisses, more butt wiping, and so on and so forth, not much time is actually spent in conversation between the mamas. Nights where kids stay home with dad while moms go out for some dinner and fun are a must! They are fun to look forward to and necessary for the spirit, body, and mind! Adult conversations, that can happen as a stay-at-home-mom? Um, yes and it must happen! 

7) Time Alone 
As helpful and important time with my husband and with gal-pals is, I also require time by myself. Right now this predominately looks like nap time when both kiddos are sleeping but most of that short (very short most days) window generally fills up with house chores and duties. On occasion I head out to the fabric store or mall after the kids go to sleep completely on my own with no intention other than to brows at my own pace. Other days it means heading to a coffee shop with a book, going for a walk or working in the garden.

8) Exercising
It might be baby wearing on a walk, chasing around a toddler in the park or sweating it out in my living room, exercise is a great mood elevator. For me personally, I need to stick to an exercise routine that goes beyond the exercise I get from being a mom. I've recently started doing more weight training which helps my sleep better and makes me stronger allowing me to keep up with my kiddos, so many awesome benefits!

9) Jesus
Being mom whether you are home full time, work full time, split it half and half, is so hard and sometimes you feel so hopeless, exhausted, and beaten down that you can't even fathom the idea of mustering up one more ounce of energy. These moments of desperation are both feared and welcomed in our home; they are painful but ultimately force me to accept that I will never be enough for my kids, my husband, or even myself, that I need Jesus. Despite life feeling as if it's spiraling so terribly out of my control I can rest assured and find peace knowing that all these events are firmly in God's control, "Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth in the sea and all deeps." -Psalm 135:6.

Have you ever felt completely burned out as a parent? What did you do to get moving again? How do you avoid mommy burnout?

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  1. Great post, I wholeheartedly agree. Finding things that bring satisfaction outside of the babes plays a big role. As well as being outside ... which is why I found myself going to the dog park 4 or 5 times a week in that time after Ellie was born.

  2. I love these ideas. Postpartum depression never hit me very strong, but post-weaning depression got ahold of me after both girls. Sunshine, exercise, and time alone are exactly my recipe for getting through it. And scheduling everything is a fantastic idea for those days when you don't have the motivation to get out of your pajamas.


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