Coping with burnout as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Do you know the feeling?

The feeling of not wanting to get out of bed in the morning just so you can muddle through the day, deflated before you’ve even started?

You’re not alone, I’ve been there and most moms find themselves there at one point or another.

I tend to feel this way after a particularly stressful time, this year I’ve battled post-natal depression, moving house (and towns) with two children under 3, the loss of my mom-in-law and grief. I don’t know why I didn’t realise sooner but it’s clear to me now:

I’m burnt out.

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As a stay-at-home mom there is very little relief from our work – it really is 24/7, day and night shift with no sick leave and while I’m very blessed to be able to care for my beautiful children and watch them grow;

Being a mom is HARD!

So how do you keep going? More than that, how do you keep going with joy and enthusiasm for the precious work of raising these little blessings?

Here are some ideas that might help, hang in there dear mom,

There is hope.

 

Time in the Word

I don’t know about you, but this is often the first thing that falls by the way side when life gets overwhelming. You promise yourself you’ll get there later but later never comes.

Some ideas for spending time with The Lord or at least being reminded of the great big God we serve include:

  • Play worship music while you cook or do chores – I’ve noticed this has a soothing effect on my children too.
  • When you read stories to your little ones, read them bible stories (these often include stories of miracles (Jonah and the whale, Jesus feeding the 5000) how encouraging His Word is even when paraphrased for the minds of little ones.
  • Sing songs together (Jesus loves me, Our God is so big, etc)
  • Practise praying while you’re busy, nowhere in the bible does it tell you that you need to kneel in silence in order to pray, God hears you whether you’re in bumper to bumper traffic or changing a baby’s bum.

 

Eat well

Ever notice how cranky or miserable your kids get when they’re hungry for a snack or meal? You can’t be your best as a mom (or person in general) if you’re not eating properly or often enough. It can be so easy to get so busy with chores or child-care that you sacrifice your own health.

Take care of yourself dear mom.

I’ve started eating whenever my kids do; if they have a snack, so do I.

This stops my blood-sugar dropping too low and has helped sustain me through the day (especially the late afternoon) and I’m pretty sure it’s helping stabilise my moods.

Ideas for quick healthy snacks:

  • Bananas (any fruit)
  • Oatmeal biscuits
  • Yoghurt
  • Cheese on crackers etc.

 

Connect

We were never meant to be alone.

In fact, the hardest part of learning to be a stay-at-home mom was the feeling of isolation from the rest of the world. I felt cut off and invisible (I’ve since learnt that I’m an extrovert – no wonder this was a battle for me!)

Connect! With moms, with old friends, with family, with your church.

And make it part of your routine.

There is something so precious about adult conversation and having a good laugh and sharing thoughts and ideas with others. This is a NEED. Don’t try to raise your children on your own, let others in. In fact, after some time with other people and the reminder of the needs and struggles of others my perspective of my own struggles was challenged. I felt more grateful for all that I had and for how God had blessed me.

Ideas of ways to connect WITH your kids:

  • Play-dates
  • Moms’ groups (at church or in your community)
  • Baby classes

WITHOUT kids (I pray your husband or family is as supportive as mine when it comes to mommy needing time by herself)

  • Moms’ night out (I love connecting with my mommy friends over cake and coffee in the evening – we laugh SO much!)
  • Date nights with your man where you actually LEAVE THE HOUSE.

I love this precious time with my husband and it’s so great to have a conversation that isn’t interrupted by a toddler screaming or a baby needing feeding. It’s worth all the effort of finding a sitter.

  • Host a bible study at your home after your kids are in bed. I haven’t got there yet but this is something I would love to do and I’m hoping to soon. Time in The Word, with God’s people and without kids (sort of).

 

Sleep

Okay, this one is tough if you have a baby (or babies) that doesn’t make it through the night. Either way, you need rest to heal, for your body to be balanced and for you to be able to make it through the day without wanting to run away.

Looking back over various times in my life I know that poor sleep is a very serious trigger for depression. Try to prioritize your own rest. Again, this is a NEED.

  • Go to bed early (even if you’re dying to just enjoy some quiet adult time without the kiddos) or at least avoid seriously late nights
  • Fit in extra naps on the weekend if your husband is willing to watch the kids
  • Nap in the afternoon while your kids nap or at least put your feet up for a bit

 

Create a routine to suit you and your family

There is something safe and comforting about structure and having a plan when it feels like your world is falling apart – at least it will fall apart with the laundry under control and clean underwear in the drawers, right?

Mondays are laundry days – so are Wednesdays and Fridays (seriously, how do kids generate that much laundry??! Sigh).

Wednesdays are grocery days.

Meal planning etc…

You get the idea, having a flexible plan in place can really help you feel like you can do this, because you really can. Promise.

 

Grow yourself

What do you love to do?

Do you get to do it anymore?

The Lord blessed you with skills and talents, you’re not a bad mom if you invest time in a hobby or learning a new skill. In fact, you will set an example for your children to pursue their interests and develop new skills! Mommy guilt often creeps in on this one, some moms feel guilty for using some of their time for them, but you know what I’ve noticed? I’m a happier and more intentional mom when I’ve created something or learnt something new (in my case, freelance writing and this blog), my kids notice, my husband notices and that makes me smile.

 

No matter how organised or healthy you are, there will come a time in your life when you will feel burnt out – various seasons are more draining than others and life is full of surprises. I hope this leaves you with some ideas of how to handle it, from one tired mom to another, hang in there.

 

Love,

Nicole

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