No more mom burnout!
May is Maternal Mental Health Month, and I would like to end this month with a question: how many of us feel bombarded with articles and blog posts on “mom burnout”? Or feel that our role is the equivalent of 2.5 full-time jobs? How many of us are not even fazed anymore about “Mom’s wine” jokes or “mommy breaks” or photos of moms who just don’t have it together?
I think it’s time to move past joking and take a cold, hard look at ourselves.
What are we doing? What are we trying to prove? We are trying to find the “perfect” motherhood and live as if life is a sprint to the finish line, only to be disappointed that with every life stage there is a new finish line. Life is a journey, not a race to the end. Stop and take this in: there is no finish line. There is no last thing on the to-do list. Life is a never-ending to-do list to enjoy.
We are becoming perfectionistic, narcissistic, and overbearing. We want to do our best, but we miss the big picture. What about everyone else (significant other, father, kids) picking up the slack? The more we try to please everyone, the more tired, resentful, and controlling we can become. Is that the role model we want for our daughters when they become adults? By the way, our kids are becoming more anxious and depressed—feeling like nothing they do is good enough and worried about their mom’s well-being.
Let go. All responsibilities do not, never need to, should not fall on your shoulders. Part of being a mom is being able to raise awesomely independent children. Part of being a mom is also being a good partner to your kids’ parent—for your own needs and to demonstrate how a balanced partnership should look. Not one where one is doing most of the heavy lifting and the other is complaining or coming up short. A burned out mom does not make for a great lover or a great coworker…she is tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and burdened.
Ask for help and take it. It’s okay! Put the ego aside—none of us are superwomen. If the help you’re getting doesn’t suit you, look for others ways to find help. I don’t want to sound callous but let’s get creative. How can your life become easier?
Yes, we are amazing creatures…mothers go through so much just to raise our little cherubs. But do we have to go through that much? Again, I ask you. What are you trying to prove? Who are you trying to impress and why? What are you saying and how are you acting that contributes to your children’s complacency or lack of responsibility?
These are hard questions to answer, but ones that need attention. Anxiety is one of the biggest mental health challenges kids face today. I believe many of their parents also face these issues, as their self-worth and involvement is scrutinized at any moment. Burnout starts in our undying faith in motherhood, and it’s slowly killing us. Let it go. Let’s find other ways to show how we are strong and capable, without having to take on more than what we have to. And the best, nicest part of it all is that once you let go, set boundaries, and return responsibilities to your kids and their father, you will wonder why on earth didn’t you do this in the first place.