What all Exhausted Mums Need to Know
What would it be like to feel like this Mama in the picture? Full of life and laughter, full of the energy you need to be playful and face the day, What a dream!! In reality though, most of us are exhausted and overwhelmed!
You know those days when you are home all day with the kids and it feels like you are not really doing much, but by mid afternoon you are exhausted, it feels like you have been hit by a truck. You know when;
- All of the daily chores of Mum Life feel like running a marathon.
- Lifting the washing feels like lifting a bag of bricks.
- You are forgetful and tired all the time.
- You have a short fuse with your kids and partner.
- Engaging with or trying to play with your kids, feels like an impossible mission, and one you would rather not even attempt.
When you feel like this on a regular basis Mama, you are suffering from Mum Burn Out.
Burnt out (adj.): A state in which you are mentally unable to handle any more stress. A state in which your energy and mental resources are depleted.
When we experience burn out in our paid work, we know it is time for a new job or some serious intervention. The difference with Mum Burn Out is that we can’t quit Mum-ing. Mum burn out is not only seriously bad for us, it is also bad for our kids and our relationships.
Unfortunately, in our society, the norm for Mums is to ignore their own needs. As women and mothers, we have been taught that it is selfish to put our needs first. When we do think about self-care, we usually focus on care of our physical body with more exercise, better food or relaxation. These are all wonderful and necessary things but when we are burnt out and exhausted by our role as primary care-givers, it is our emotional, social and psychological selves that need extra support.
You know it is time for a change, you just have no idea what to try to get the life and laughter back into your days.
7 Simple Tips for Burnt Out Mums
The problem with Mum Burn Out is that it can make it really hard for us Mamas to do anything! Let alone anything that will help us to overcome the overwhelm and exhaustion that accompanies the exhaustion of burn out!
I have experienced severe burn out in some of my professional roles in the past, and what I learnt is that there are 4 things you need to address to overcome burn out – relaxation, organisation change and connection. (ROCC). Using ROCC to overcome Mum Burn Out makes sense, but is a little harder. As I said in yesterday’s post, we can’t quit Mum-ing and find another job if things get too overwhelming!
Once you have recognised that you are suffering from Mum Burn Out, You can do something about it right away. There are small steps you can take at home to start the process, that are not too overwhelming. Here are 6 gentle, beginner ROCC steps you can do at home to reduce the impact of Mum Burn Out, don’t forget we are keeping it simple.
R – Breathe more deeply and slowly when we are overcome by stress, we tend to breathe in a shallow way which in turn creates more stress. Breathing more slowly and deeply creates a sense of calm and focussing on a long, deep, slow breathe gives us a tiny space to recalibrate.
R – 10 minutes of Yoga – find a 10 minute yoga or mediatation practice, specifically for stress on youtube. Aim to do it as often as you can. Motivation can be hard for this one and I want you to go easy on yourself. If you plan to do it every day and manage twice a week then pat yourself on the back for doing it at all.
O – Your Top 3 – Before you go to sleep at night, Write out your to-do list for the next day. The first time you do this write down everything you can think of that needs doing, and keep this as a running list to add to each night. Now highlight the 3 most important things on the list and work out how you will do those 3 things. If you do nothing but the 3 things, that is okay. Keep the list going and when you feel overwhelmed, look at the list and focus on one thing at a time. First the top 3 then the others. Don’t forget, there is always tomorrow. Go Easy!
O and Ch – Change up the daily routine. One of the things that perpetuates burn out is monotony. When we do the same thing day in day out, week in week out, it feeds our struggle. So what small change can you make to your daily or weekly routine? Can you visit a different playground? Eat dinner in the garden one night? Walk or drive a different route to school or work? Remember we are keeping it super simple, no big changes if your not ready for them, something really small (it can still make a big difference)
Ch – Start saying No. Mamas wanna help, I get it. When you are stretched to the limit already, please don’t take on ANYTHING else. If you automatically say Yes to everyone all the time, it is time to practice saying No. Instead of offering to help, for a while, starting asking for help.
Co – Reach out for support. You do not have to go it alone. Many mums feel a sense of shame and failure when experiencing the exhaustion of Mum burn out, telling themselves they are not good enough or they should be managing better. Unfortunately, these feelings often prevent us from reaching out and asking for help. Research tells us that shame is unable to survive being spoken, if we are shown empathy by a good listener and we speak honestly to them, we can begin to reduce the stress of the shame we feel. So whether you reach out to an empathetic, non-judgemental, honest friend or a professional listener, Asking for help and speaking your feelings out loud will be a great help.
Co – Reduce your screen time. Getting support and connection online can be a real lifeline for parents but When we feel overwhelmed we tend to use technology to zone out, disconnect and avoid life by scrolling social media, watching TV or watching youtube. Turn off the tech an hour before you want to be asleep and don’t take your phone to bed. Talk to your partner, phone a friend or read a book instead.
My #1 tip for Managing Meltdowns and tears when you are Exhausted
Managing meltdowns with time-in, active listening and deep connection, (which is a big part of what I teach parents in my coaching work) is all well and good when you have the energy, patience and fuse for it. When you are suffering from exhaustion, overwhelm and burn out that shit (wonderful, amazing, life-changing shit) just isn’t likely, in fact, it might not even be possible!
So when you are living the life of a burnt out Mum (or dad), how on earth are you supposed to handle meltdowns, without losing your shit?
My best advice is to do and say less. Doing less is more connecting than shouting in anger, growling in frustration or dishing out unreasonable consequences. Sure it is not the perfect solution to managing meltdowns, but it works well and keeps us moving forward when we are feeling burnt out.
When we are suffering from burn out, exhaustion and overwhelm, the level of our stress hormones, remains high all the time. That means that any little thing can and will tip us over the edge. We snap and yell when we really don’t want to, our patience has worn super thin and we just need a break from everything. Then comes a meltdown and we just can’t deal.
Let’s talk through what I mean when I say Doing Less;
Your 6 year old starts crying about a seemingly small thing, you know it is probably just a case of needing an emotional offload (you can read more about that here) but you don’t have the patience right now to listen through it. You could choose to try to talk to your child, but you have already decided that your patience is thin right now so please don’t!
Sit beside your child, face into them and just listen to them. Let them have a cry or be angry. You don’t have to say or do anything. You don’t have to make it better. Just the act of your presence, your silence, can be therapeutic for you and your child. Let them release some of those emotions without interfering anymore than just being with them.
If that feels like something you are not able to do right away and you need to manage your own emotions first, you could try one of the following;
- sit down on the floor where you are and say nothing, breathe deeply and slowly. – Your child knows you are there with them, that alone is a sign of your understanding, attention and connection.
- Have a sentence you can use that does not blame your child and let’s them know you are not able to listen right now eg – “I can hear you are upset and that is okay but I need to take a minute away before I can listen”. If you can leave the room for a minute or two and take some deep breaths before returning, that is ideal.
- If you have another caregiver in the house, handball to them. Ask them to listen to the feelings while you go and take a break.
To better manage parenting burn-out and exhaustion, it is really helpful to talk it out. Not just have a chat with someone but speak openly and honestly about your feelings. Find someone who will listen without judgement and tell them that sometimes it feels like too much, that you can’t manage another day of parenting, that you want to quit or take a long holiday. Have a big cry or rage if you need too. Whatever your true feelings are, they need to come out. Just like we are teaching our kids to express and understand their emotions better, we as parents need to do it too, not just for ourselves but as role models for our children.
So……. Do Less and find someone to listen to you. That’s it!
If you have read all of this and are you are nodding away in agreement then I have something to help you crawl out from under the heavy rock of Mama burn out Introducing the Happy
Happy Mumlife is a 12-week coaching / counselling package for Mums who want to be full of life and laughter again, feel a deeper connection with their family, sleep well and have a clear head for handling the daily struggles of #mumlife.
The Happy Mumlife package is designed to help you;
- Find the energy to play and laugh with your kids again (and want to)
- Work on better sleep patterns for you and your family.
- Enjoy some adult time in the evenings because you don’t need to crash out by 7pm.
- Wake up with a plan each day that allows you to live it to the fullest.
- Work through what is really behind the Mum burn out so you can get back to enjoying your kids.
I know that parenting is exhausting and overwhelming a whole lot of the time. I also know that for those of you suffering from Mama burn out, this feeling doesn’t go away. This package is about you and me working through the shit, and coming out the other side, no bells and whistles, just real, solid, 1:1 support with access to some group coaching sessions so we can workshop common issues together.
So here is what the package looks like;
- 6 x fortnightly 1:1 coaching / counselling sessions (The first is 2 hours and the other 5 are 1 hour.)
- 12 x weekly email coaching (so we can keep on track and stay connected)
- 3 x group coaching/workshop sessions (these are held monthly and have a topic that covers a common issue for my current clients and time for shooting the shit with other parents on a similar journey.)
- Exclusive access to a private Facebook Community – The Mama Mastermind.
I can only offer this package to 6 Mums at a time. So let’s get started right away before those spots are gone.
If you are an exhausted, burnt out Mum, It is time for a change. I would love to have you join me, Click Here to get all the info and book your spot for The Happy Mumlife today.
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