Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mom Burn Out

As Moms we carry the world on our shoulders. And so it is only par for the course that we get burned out from time to time.

“Mom Burn Out” takes different forms for different people. For some it can be caused by the kids directly (and who can blame these Moms especially if they are dealing with terrible twos, threes, or hell even the fours)! However, for me, Mom Burn Out doesn’t really have a lot to do with my kids. I haven’t found myself (knock on wood) to the point where they caused my burn out, even though H’s terrible two’s had me pretty close!

For me, I suffer from Mom Burn Out from the other things that go along with being a working Mom, the behind the scenes stuff if you will. I get burned out from having to carry the load of my family on my shoulders. I am not just Mom, I am housekeeper, laundress, accountant, chauffer, chef, nurse, and repairman. Carrying the duties that go along with these jobs causes my stress.

Working Moms have a harder time curing Mom Burn Out, because we often don’t take time for ourselves for one of two reasons: (1) There are not enough hours in a day and much to our dismay we haven’t figured out how to pull a Zach from the old Saved by the Bell episodes and stop time or (2) We feel guilty when we step away from our kids because we don’t get much time with them anyway.

I find that often my Mom Burn Out co-exists with my Attorney Burn Out. I work at a firm where case loads are high and billable hours are even higher. So I often find that when I get burnt out at work, this causes a domino effect and causes me to get burnt out at home.

I am often pretty good at keeping Mom Burn Out away. But every now and then it gets me. I start to feel overwhelmed, get moody, emotional, etc. And then presto…burn out.

So  allow  me to present, Mandi’s Guide to No Burn-Out, Ten Tips for keeping Mom Burn Out at bay.

(1) Take an hour. Nights at my house are very chaotic. My husband works nights and so it is often just me and three amigos. So between dinner, play time, bath time, clean up time, and bed time my hours are jammed packed. And after I put my kids to bed I often have to finish up some work or prepare for a deposition or trial. But no matter how busy I am, no matter how late I stay up, I always take about an hour of wind down time. Whether its kicking my feet up on the couch and getting lost in HGTV or a taped show on my DVR, checking Facebook, catching up on celebrity gossip, or doing one of my hobbies, I make sure I get my down time. Even if I’m tired, to me it is better to stay up this extra hour to wind down. I find that if I don’t do this, when I fall asleep I dream about work or my mind races.

(2) Make the time for hobbies. I am an avid scrapbooker. I’ve been scrapbooking for 10+ years and I absolutely love it. Most people say to me when they see my scrapbooks…”How do you have time to do that?” or “I would never have enough time to do that!”. The answer is simple. I make the time, I make it a priority. Whether it’s during my wind down time, when my husband plays with the kids, or while the kids are watching Toy Story 3 for the millionth time, I make the time.

(3) Vent.  I vent…oh do I vent! I vent to anyone who will listen, or read (as in when I vent in my blogs). I have always been a person that shares details of my life. I’m not a private person. I put it out there. When I feel like I am getting burnt out I vent. But my secret is that I know just who to vent to for certain issues. I have my team of “advisors” ranging from my Mom to my husband to my coworkers to my best friends and I know who will make me feel better about things. Whether it’s a dinner with the girls every now and then, or just a nice long email to a friend, venting helps me keep my burn out at bay. Sometimes saying things outloud weakens the burden. I used to hate to admit that I am not SuperMom all the time…now I proudly admit that I am human and get burned out!

(4) Sleep in. Yes, one day a weekend, I make my husband get up with the kids early and I stay in bed. Now mind you, I usually only get a half hour of extra sleep before my kids realize I’m still upstairs and I hear “Mommy, it’s WAKE UP time!” over and over! But sleeping in helps me refresh.

(5) Create a musical diary. Okay this one is a bit odd, but it works for me. I have sort of a musical diary on my I-Pod. I started doing this way back in the day when people used to make mixed tapes. Remember mixed tapes? I make playlists monthly that reflect my mood. Sometimes they are songs that are peppy and upbeat, and sometimes they are country songs that seem like I wrote them. It’s amazing how good a song can make you feel.

(6) Act like a kid…literally. Playing with my kids helps me so much to wind down after a busy day. And I’m not talking about just sitting on the floor watching the kids play while you watch tv or something like that. No, I play. I get into character,  give my kids pony back rides, swing at the park, occasionally slide down a slide (if I don’t think I’ll get stuck), splash along with the kids in a pool, have a snowball fight, color with crayons, exchange a fancy meal for a grilled cheese. Basically I act like a kid. So trust me the laundry can wait…step away from the soap and get silly. It makes you forget the adult world for a minute and step back in time.

(7) Take on more...yes I said MORE.  I hear a lot of Moms say…”I can’t possibly take on one more thing!” I think the opposite. Often I take on things when I feel like my plate is full. For example, this blog, or volunteering, or taking an online course. Adding more balls to the stack you are juggling may seem overwhelming, but I find that if I have a few fun things in the midst of the work things, I feel better about myself and my life.

(8) Live in a drama free zone. In 2010, I made a change in my life. I started to rid it of issues and yes even people that cause me stress. I cannot tell you how refreshing it was when I spring cleaned my life this past year. I got rid of issues, people, things that were causing me headaches and heartaches. I found myself spending more time dealing with the relationships that were hard than the easy relationships in my life. I believe that it is important to surround yourself with people that make you thrive, not hinder you. Working Moms have enough drama in their lives…we don’t need anymore.

(9) Run errands... Alone. A great way I get some unexpected me time is to run errands, say a trip to Target, by myself. This way I kill two birds with one stone. I get errands done and I get some Me time. I walk around (very slowly), check out new make-up colors, or look at books...and of course people watch.  And trust me sometimes when you are stressed out going to a store and looking around at others is just what you need to see that whatever is stressing could be worse!

(10) Repeat. Stay the course. Me time shouldn't come around once in a blue moon, it needs to be a regular occurrence. Just find out how to fit it into your life and keep doing it. And trust me, I do understand how hard it is to take Me time...I mean just look what happened to me when I sat down on Saturday night for some scrapbooking! Trust me if I can find Me time in my house admist all the sock puppets in my house....anyone can!

So, how do you handle Mom burn out? I’d love some more tricks for my arsenal, so please share.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you I needed to read this. I am in the middle of mommy burn out, and feeling resentment towards my husband. Love to know their are others out there that go through the same thing.