How to Fix Mom Burnout and Keep Your Sanity

stressed mom who wants to know how to fix mom burnout

Have you been told motherhood myths and feel like you are falling short? Do you feel like you are always in survival mode? Do you feel like there is an overwhelming amount of things you have to keep track of? Does it feel like you are drowning and that you can’t keep up? Do you struggle with “mom yelling“? If you can relate you may be suffering from mom burnout.

I know I’m nearing an unhealthy level of mom burnout when I start to think that a hospital stay for a non-life threatening issue would be ideal. A few months ago a respiratory virus made its way through my house but affected me the worst. I started a new job a little more than a month before we got sick so I was also struggling with learning a new job and trying to prove myself. My parents also caught the virus and I didn’t have backup for them, so I lost part of my childcare during this time. I was burnt out and that’s probably why I was sick significantly longer than anyone else. I was drowning. A hospital stay would have been a vacation.

That is one example of when my mom burnout was at its highest but it definitely fluctuates. Whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, there is a lot that you have to get done, remember to do, or worry about, so it would be rare not to feel some level of mom burnout.

Mom Burnout Symptoms

Mom burnout can affect moms in different ways. Some common symptoms are:

  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Losing your temper frequently
  • Feeling exhausted with little energy
  • Wishing you could quit being a mom
  • Feeling insecure or thinking that you are not a good mom
  • Eating issues – no appetite or having stomach pains
  • Getting frequent headaches
  • Feeling resentful towards your partner or children
  • Having intrusive thoughts
  • Feeling guilty
  • Feeling like you can’t take on one more task or deal with one more problem

Does this sound like you? If so, you are definitely not alone! Motherly’s 2023 State of Motherhood Survey found that 49% of moms report feeling burned out by motherhood. Mom burnout is not sustainable so we must address it for the sake of ourselves and our families.

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How to Fix Mom Burnout

When you are in the thick of it, it can sometimes feel like you will never get out of it. There are some things you can do to help you feel better. Here are 25 recommendations on how to fix mom burnout.

1. Admit that you are burnt out.

The key is to be able to admit to yourself and those around you that you are burnt out. This can definitely be hard to do. Feeling guilty about admitting this and feeling like you have to prove yourself and be the best mom can make it very hard to admit that you cannot handle it all. However, admitting that you are burnt out is the first step towards getting better.

2. Make a list.

Write down everything you do. Write down everything that you have to think about. Include all the details. For example, if your child has a birthday party to go to split out a) respond to party b) order birthday gift c) wrap birthday gift, d) get/make birthday card, and e) take child to party into different items. One task can turn into five tasks so it is important to include all the details. Getting it all out can really help so you don’t feel like you are trying to remember everything in your head.

3. Prioritize.

Review your list and prioritize. Are there tasks on the list that don’t really need to be done right now? Put them lower on the list or remove them completely. Aside from the list, really think about what it important to you. We can’t be the best wife, the best mom, the best employee, all at the same time. Focus on what is most important to you right now. Realize that it is normal and okay for your priorities to change.

4. Ask for help.

Society makes us feel like we should be able to do it all, but that is impossible! It is okay to need help. Tell your partner, parents, siblings, and close friends that you can’t handle everything and ask who can give you some help.

5. Delegate.

Go back to your list and assign tasks to people who are able to help you. When you assign something out, completely remove it from your plate. This can be hard at first because we hate to give up control and are worried that someone else may not do something as good as we would have. It’s important though to really give up the tasks you are getting help with.

6. Say no.

If you are invited to do something that you don’t want to do, say no. If your child is begging to go to the park but you know it will conflict with nap time, say no. Don’t feel pressured to say yes to something that will end up adding more stress to your life.

7. Take a social media break.

Social media can be very harmful for overwhelmed moms. It is very hard to separate “real life” from “social media life”. Many times, I see a friend post photos from a park outing she did with her child, or another friend post about all the baby food she made for her child, and I am just trying to get by. I would wonder what was wrong with me. Why can my friends do all these wonderful things with their kids but I’m feeling like I can’t even cope with a normal day? People tend to post the best parts of their day on social media and don’t share the hard parts.

8. Take time out for self-care.

Learn about and create your own self-care wheel. When looking for activities to add to your wheel, choose some of your favorite self-care tips for busy moms. Whether it’s five minutes or five hours, setting aside time to do something for yourself can really help your mental health.

9. Communicate.

Communicate, especially with your partner. When my oldest daughter was a newborn, I’d nurse her, then she’d fall asleep so I’d stay on the couch holding her while she slept. My husband would get some chores done but all I wanted him to do was take my daughter so I could get up and do one of the chores he was doing. Did I tell him that though? No! I expected him to read my mind and know what I needed him to do. Communication is so important. We can’t expect our partners to know what we need, so tell your partner what you need.

10. Exercise.

I was never someone who really enjoyed exercising until I became a mom of two. Now I love it and need to do it. I don’t do it to lose weight, I do it for my mental health. Getting through a tough ride on my Peloton or throwing some punches in a shadowboxing class gives me such a mental high. Exercising can really help with relieving stress and building confidence.

mom boxing

11. Get more sleep.

Sleep and being a mom do not go hand-in-hand. Should you stay up late after the kids go to bed just so you have some alone time? Or should you forget about the alone time and just go to sleep since you’re so tired? It is such a struggle. Sleep is so important for your well-being though and helps your body repair.

12. Get rid of clutter.

Clutter is a big source of anxiety for me, as it is for many people. When I see our kitchen table full of my daughters’ crafts and the mail that needs to be thrown out or filed somewhere I can’t relax. When I go to put away the laundry and see I can’t fit anything in my drawers because there’s so much I don’t wear anymore that I need to get rid of I get stressed. Decluttering is not on the top of my list for things that I find fun to do, but getting rid of clutter can feel like such an accomplishment and make for a much more peaceful environment. Start small. Choose a drawer to declutter.

13. Make a change.

Make a change in your life. It could be something small like replacing twenty minutes of scrolling on social media with a twenty minute meditation. It could be something bigger like applying for a new job if you’re unhappy with your current situation. Making any kind of change can feel like you are taking control of your life and help you feel better.

14. Get out.

Get out of the house. If you can spare the time, meet your girlfriends for brunch. If you’re strapped for time or don’t have close friends nearby take a walk around the block. Go on a date with your spouse. You may not have a lot of energy so try a low-key date for new parents.

15. Journal.

Write down everything that is on your mind. Write down your feelings and your fears. I enjoy journals that also have questions for self-reflection or therapeutic journaling prompts to help get the writing going too. When you keep your feelings and fears inside they can spiral and get much worse. Purging your brain can really help free the mind.

16. Set a schedule.

Setting a schedule, especially for the times of the day that are most stressful can be helpful. Mornings tend to be hectic in my house, trying to get the girls out the door for school/daycare. I try to have a schedule for when I wake up, what my husband and I want to get done before the girls wake up, what time we wake them up and get them ready, etc. Obviously things happen. One of my daughters may wake up early, but having a schedule can bring some order on most days.

17. Eat good meals.

Eat nourishing meals or snacks throughout the day. When we skip meals our energy level goes down and makes it harder to deal with stress. When eating really try to be mindful and focus on what you are eating. If you can manage to grab a snack alone in peace, even better!

18. Stay hydrated.

Staying hydrated is even more important than eating those good meals. When you’re dehydrated you get more tired, moody, and achy.

19. Walk away.

Walk away and take a break. If you feel everything building up inside of you and the children are all safe, step away for a few minutes of alone time. Sometimes just pressing the reset button can help calm things down.

20. Meditate or do yoga.

Restorative yoga especially can be rejuvenating but yoga in any style can bring on a sense of relaxation. Meditation also can really help tune everything else out and restore your mind.

mom doing yoga

21. Do something fun.

Do something fun or silly. Put on your favorite song and just dance around. Read some funny parenting quotes. Get out of the house and try some yes day ideas!

22. Take a personal day.

Take the day off from work, arrange childcare, and just take a day for yourself. Even if you just sit at home on the couch and do nothing. A day alone with a book sounds like the perfect day for me.

23. Start the day with gratitude.

Right after you wake up think of a few things that you are grateful for. I actually have a daily reminder on my phone to do this. If you need some inspiration, read some be your best self quotes.

24. End the day with your accomplishments.

At the end of the day remind yourself of what you accomplished. It’s easy to forget about all the invisible things that we do. Ordering new clothes in the next size for your child. Putting away laundry. Finishing an important task at work. Exercising. Registering your child for camp. Think about all you got done that day, even if you didn’t get everything done that you wanted to, and be proud of yourself.

25. Seek additional help.

If you find that you are still very anxious or depressed then please seek additional help by reading, such as books about generational trauma, or finding a support group or a therapist. Sometimes it’s really helpful to be able to speak to a neutral third party who doesn’t already know all the details about your family and friends and who will not judge.

Fixing mom burnout is not easy.

While many of these tips can be helpful, they can be very hard to implement. We feel guilty about taking time for ourselves and we feel that we don’t have the time. However, when flying we are reminded to put on our oxygen masks before trying to help others. That goes for real life too. We need to take care of ourselves before we are able to take care of our families. I hope you found this helpful. Let me know what tips worked best for you and if you have any others to recommend. As a special gift to you, I’d like to offer you my free 5-day self-care challenge to help you get started!

mockup for free 5-day self-care challenge
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