Something happens that moment after you give the last kiss goodnight, turn off the light and carefully close the door. It might be that you head straight to shower since it’s the only quiet place of solitude in your house. Maybe you plop on the couch with your tablet. Or, it could be that you begin your nightly Netflix fix. Once those kids are in bed your mind and body can decompress. But let’s be honest. Are you decompressing enough or just constantly stressing?
We women are wired with beautiful emotions but sometimes those emotions combined with fatigue, guilt, self-doubt and comparison can lead to a straight mom burnout. It’s a very lonely place and often we don’t have anyone to vent to.
We have a hard time venting to our spouse because they work hard too.
We have a hard time admitting to our friends that we are burned out because we want to make them think we are super mom and that we have our lives together.
And it’s not like you can talk to your kid about it. Can you imagine laying on the couch as your preschooler plays Lego’s and telling him how you feel like you can’t keep up with housework, routines or even take care of yourself?
You just feel alone.
Feeling tired, alone and worn out leads to burnout. So here are 4 tactics that I use to avoid mom burnout when it rears it’s ugly head.
1. Take Care of Yourself
People say this all the time and we all nod our heads but the truth is, we don’t do it. We will skip exercise because our husband gets home late from work (or simply because we hate it). We will eat super processed, unhealthy, convenience foods mindlessly just to get us through to the next meal. We run on 5-6 hours of sleep instead of the 7-8 we need. We chug coffee all day and then around 8pm realize we haven’t even had a sip of water.
Here are 5 minimal ways I’m working on putting my health first. I think that if most of us could weave these in, we would be much healthier and happier.
1- Exercise- I go to the YMCA and workout for 45 minutes on weekdays. The YMCA has childcare and that’s 45 minutes that I workout and read my kindle or listen to podcasts on my phone. It’s a nice mental and physical health break for me.
Do whatever form of exercise you like. Don’t start running if you hate running. Go to Zumba or Water Aerobics. Do something that you love to do or at least can live with.
2- Eat a serving of veggies at every meal and fruit between each meal (That gets you 5 servings a day without much work). Think green smoothies for breakfast, lettuce and tomato on your sandwich at lunch, salad with dinner.
3- Take a multivitamin.
4.- Sip a sports bottle of water all day.
5. Do prayer and Bible study time before bed.
Action Step- Write down what habits make you look and feel the best. Try to weave those into your day, everyday!
2. Take Breaks From Your Kids
Whatever it takes, give yourself regular breaks from your kids. In my case sending them to a half day preschool 2-3 mornings a week does a lot for my sanity. It’s also good for my son. He gets to interact socially, learn to respect authority other than me and learns outside the house.
If that idea is too much money or out of the question for your family, consider swapping babysitting with a friend or neighbor. Once a month have a set day where you watch their kids for free and then another night they watch your kids for free.
If you have the luxury of having grandparents living nearby schedule a regular grandma visit on your monthly calendar. Escape for a few hours and get stuff done that you need to get done.
The last option is to ask your husband to tag in for an evening or morning so you can just get out be on your own.
Action Step: Decide on a simple way that you can take a break from your kids and make arrangements now. Text grandma or your friend and get it on the calendar.
3. Take Care of Your Marriage
Plan regular date nights. In the last several years my husband and I have made it a point to go out together on dates at least once a month. We try to do outings that are face to face or social in nature. That means movies are usually out. Last month we went to an indoor trampoline place and then to dinner.
Action Step: Make reservations for dinner this month and find a sitter.
4. Keep Your Schedule Simple
It’s easy to want to try and do everything but we aren’t allotted enough hours in a day to do everything. The best thing you can do for your own sanity is simplify your routine.
In my life the two most important parts of balance and peace in my home are having a clean kitchen and having the laundry done. I try to make sure that those things are the top priority on my to-do list.
- Think about what are the top 5 things around your house that make a difference in how everyone functions and feels and focus on always getting those simple things done each week.
Don’t feel pressured to put your kid in every sport or activity every season.
When someone asks you to help with or volunteer for something ALWAYS say “Let me check my schedule and get back to you.” Then once you are out of the situation, think about how you will ACTUALLY feel after you commit to this thing. Does it fill you with excitement or dread. If it’s dread- then just say no. That feeling isn’t going to change and you are literally trading something more important for something you don’t even want to do just to make someone else happy.
Action Step: Print Out this Weekly Priority Planner and write down the top 5 things are that you need to make a priority to make your house clean, peaceful and in order this week.
Kim Anderson is the organized chaos loving author behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. She helps other people who thrive in organized chaos to stress less, remember more and feel in control of their time, money, and home. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, and more!