The Modern Motherhood Burnout
My Personal Journey
Burnout. As women, we take on a lot. Whether we’re a new mom or have multiple children, we feel the pressure of societal messages and social media that push us ‘do it all’. This can easily turn to exhaustion. Many of us take on the role of managing our household and everyone’s schedule while also having full or part-time careers (which may even require travelling). We support our children through school, homework, after school programs and activities and are there for each of them while they develop through each stage of their life.
Something that Gemma Hartley, author of Fed Up refers to as “emotional labour” - the invisible load. We tend to fill our schedules with things that don’t really matter to us so we can say (or post) that we did it. And we can also get the feeling of missing out if we don’t do it all.
My Personal Burnout Journey
I feel like I am in a frequent ‘overload’ mode as a mother. It’s a constant juggle. Everyone is in different activities, schools, play dates, birthday parties, doctor’s appointments and don’t get me started with the picky eaters and the constant question: “what are we going to have for dinner tonight?” It’s a challenge to balance the responsibilities you have with the feeling of needing ‘to do’.
A study from Frontiers in Psychology states that parental found that close to 13% of the parents surveyed, 12.9% of mothers and 11.6% of fathers, had what the researchers called "high burnout." That meant they felt exhausted, less productive and competent and emotionally withdrawn -- qualities that are similar to professional burnout -- at least once a week.
During this season in my life, I have been experiencing fatigue and exhaustion every day. My mind and body are trying to tell me to stop, slow down but it’s hard. I feel like I don’t have time to be quiet in my mind or my home and the busyness takes over.
This year has been a MAJOR transition. A new life-path. From working together in a family-owned business we developed for the past 16 years to my own personal growth as I begin my own entrepreneurial journey.
With all of that, I do my best to be there as a mindful, intentional and supportive mother raising our two children as they go through their own new stages of attachment, sleep regressions, self-expression and testing boundaries. It’s tough.
I’ve gone to many wonderful health and wellness practitioners this year, looking for guidance and wanting to see results with why my fatigue is so strong. After a long journey of self-discovery (which I am still on), blood and hormonal testing, it all comes back to my own stress levels, my hormones - which all change and become slightly more depleted after having children. And I’ve realized it’s up to ME to make changes to live a healthier and less stressful life. It’s easier said than done though.
There are always going to be new chapters in our life - whether it’s welcoming a new baby, starting our little ones in preschool or new schools, transitioning careers, new friendships and partnerships.
Whatever that is to you, remember, the cycles of life, the ups and downs will flow. Be open to change, open yourself up to new opportunities and be gentle with yourself as we embrace these new journey’s in our life.
When you begin to become overwhelmed or begin to plan the next season of activities, allow yourself to be inspired and find joy in your life through the simplest things. It can be so easy to be overwhelmed through the motherhood journey, and the solution of the overwhelm is to reduce. Accept how things have shifted in your life and just with it - keeping things simple and not over doing it, over scheduling.
Creating more harmony in your life to help reduce less burnout is not a quick solution - it’s a constant journey!
Here are a few takeaways I’ve found have helped support me:
Disconnect in the evening with all devises (its not easy!)
Create a morning ritual/routine for yourself and your children
Reduce the amount of time on social media (when you begin to notice you are just scrolling because you are bored or passing time, STOP!)
Allocate at least one time per week to have a conversation or time to connect with your partner (no phones!)
Check in with your health and wellness practitioners. It’s so important to make sure you are being supported with the right resources and healing you need Mama!
Ask for help! Find your village and rely on them when you need to - no matter what phase of motherhood you’re in.
Continue to nurture yourself through small moments in the day. Whether that means taking a quick break, walking around the block, taking an evening bath - tune into what you really need at that time.
Allow space in your day/week to be quiet. This will help you think clearly, become more in-tune with yourself and it will allow you to know what you really need at that moment during those times when you feel overwhelmed.