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Motherhood can be one of the most rewarding experiences if you're willing to put in the time and effort. However, that doesn't mean it's always easy or without stress. With motherhood comes the urge to quit-to give up on being a mom, to give up on your marriage, to quit life. But there are many ways to reduce the negative feelings and "mom burnout" associated with this experience. Things like joining a new moms group, practicing self-care or finding online communities where you can chat with other moms who feel just as burned out as you do. It might be difficult but it is possible! Here are 13 ways that you can reduce your motherhood stress and burnout so you can enjoy this part of life more than you already do!
The need for perfection can be a huge contributor to mom stress and burnout, especially if you have little ones at home. Remember that nothing is perfect! Let yourself off the hook a bit because none of us are superhero moms...including you. So cut yourself some slack, take a deep breath and let things go...even if it's just for today. You'll feel less stressed, more peaceful and definitely more productive by doing so! Your kids will be fine. I know it can be a challenge to see past the screams and cries, but take a step back and remember that even though they may not show it or say it all of the time, your children are grateful for you...even if their words don't always match their appreciation. Trust me on this one. Being a mom is hard work and when we pour our hearts into our families, we often forget just how much we're actually doing for them.
As mom's, we tend to feel that getting through the day on little sleep is a badge of honor. The truth is that if mom's want to reduce stress and burnout then we need MORE SLEEP! Lack of sleep can cause mom burnout, fatigue, or make you feel overwhelmed and stressed out. You may be thinking that mom burnouts are due to the lack of time in your day, and they certainly play a role, but lack of sleep also has a huge impact on stress levels. Some studies show that mom's who sleep between 7 - 8 hours per night have lower stress levels than mom's who get less (or more) sleep. When mothers get adequate sleep, better moods will follow. Additionally, you'll be able to make better decisions throughout the day which means you'll likely enjoy time with your family more too!
Parents are often considered caregivers first and foremost, which means that self-care becomes something we often neglect until we reach a breaking point. And while it seems second nature to put kids first and neglect any needs that you have, making time for yourself is important in terms of your mental health and outlook on life. You'll feel better about everything when you take some time out of your day and don’t get behind on your personal care.
Make sure you’re up-to-date on your doctor and dental appointments. Neglecting our physical health is the worst thing you can do for yourself and your family! But personal health is just as important. If you need to schedule a hair appointment, do it! Focus on eating healthy, drinking enough water, and taking time for daily devotionals or meditation, if this is what helps keep you mentally sane!
Make time to do something just for you, every day (even if it is only 15 minutes). Whether you’re into journaling, reading a good book, or going for a quiet walk by yourself, there are a lot of ways you can take time out for yourself. Schedule a spa-day (or afternoon) for yourself to get your hair and nails done. Start a craft or DIY project that you can work on for 30-60 minutes after the kids go to bed. Whatever it is, pick something that you find relaxing and rewarding! Even if you need to get up earlier in the morning to find some “mom time”, just do it!
Even if it's only 30 minutes at the end of the day, make time with your significant other a priority. Finding time to spend with your significant other is not only important for your mental health, but also your families health overall. Even if it is just having dinner together, make the time. If you are both very busy, it might mean canceling some plans to spend quality time together. This will help reduce parental burnout, and give you a chance for some grown-up talk. Parents often forget that they need to take care of themselves in order to be their best for their families. Remembering the concept of date night will help keep parental burnout at bay. Working around other schedules can be difficult, but with a little creativity and flexibility, parents will find the time together to be rewarding on multiple levels.
As a busy, tired, stress-out mom, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. But not so fast- exercising may be just the thing you need. A recent study from the University of Georgia confirms what we've known all along (even if we don’t want to hear it!) -- Exercise is key to reducing stress and boosting energy levels in moms everywhere. In fact, this study found that exercising not only helped reduce stress levels but also increased overall energy levels by 20 percent for women who were previously sedentary. So stop the reality TV bedtime binge and opt for a good 30 minutes of exercise instead. Not only will your body thank you (eventually..), but your mind will be happier too!
Try eating all 3 meals- breakfast, lunch, and dinner - EVERY day! This will help you stay energized throughout the day and prevent that afternoon slump. The obvious key here is to make sure you’re eating healthy, nutrient dense food, not teddy grahams and lunchables. Healthy can still be easy. Try oatmeal for breakfast, premade crockpot chicken and a salad for lunch (you can make enough for all week), and whatever is on the menu for family supper! Feeding your body the right things and drinking enough water will pay off tremendously in the long-run.
You may not realize it, but those dirty dishes that have been piling up in your sink for the past few days could actually be a major source of stress. You know what they say – a tired mom is an unhappy mom – and the same can be true when you have a messy house. With this being said, sometimes we can't help but feel overwhelmed at the work that needs to be completed around the house. This can often lead to mom burnout or worse, mom stress. Doing dishes every night before bed is much more pleasant than doing them early in the morning when you're rushed for time. Keeping up with laundry throughout the week rather than letting it pile up means you won't have to spend all weekend washing clothes . Pick a few things to tackle every evening before bed (ie dishes, laundry, sweeping the floor). Not only will you sleep better knowing you’ve lightened the cleaning load, but you won’t have the mess waiting to ruin your day in the morning!
Taking breaks during the day, even just 10 or 15 minutes, can do wonders for your body and mind. Sometimes you just need a moment to "check out" and refocus before pushing forward. Just remember to try and schedule some down time into your day no matter how busy or hectic it gets (even if you have to hide in the bathroom for a few minutes)! You don't have to feel guilty for taking a moment or 2 for yourself. If it makes us better mothers and caregivers for our families, it's time well invested. And the kids will survive without us for a few minutes in the day. Read a quick devotional, sit down and enjoy your lemonade, or just close your eyes for 10 minutes and breathe- this little addition to your routine will help ensure you don't get mom burnout and help you stay more positive.
Make mommy-and-me dates with each of your kids a priority! Planning activities with your children ahead of time helps to eliminate the “mom guilt” that somehow always finds its way into our conscience. It may feel like planning out what days will be mommy-and-me days can take away from having those special moments of quality time with your kids; but in actuality, by planning ahead you end up giving yourself more time because you will know beforehand what, where, and when you will be doing your special activity. Obviously you still are spending quality, spontaneous moments with your children, but incorporating these special activities can make you feel more put together as a mom.
Finding things to look forward to during the week can help reduce stress and burnout for moms that feel overwhelmed by their schedule. With work, kids, chores, errands and more demanding tasks on your daily agenda it can be difficult to remember why you're doing all of this in the first place. Whether it’s weekends or weekday nights, finding something fun to do helps build good memories for you and your family. Now is the time to make plans with friends or co-workers after school, plan play dates with friends, schedule a dinner date with another family- there’s a lot of things you can find enjoyable to look forward to. Just be proactive and plan ahead.
Speaking of planning ahead, if you haven’t started writing out your weekly agenda and To-Do list, now is the time! There is something different about actually taking a pen to paper and planning out your week. Not only does this help solidify it in our minds, but it can also be stress relieving! Knowing you have something concrete to refer to when your mind has given up for the day is key to reducing burnout and stress.
It includes a 7-day Weekly Planner, Don’t Forget List to prioritize your To-Do’s, and a Weekly Meal Planner and Grocery List. Print off multiple and plan for the whole month! Your mom-brain will thank you.
It helps to know that you're not alone in your motherhood experiences and can help you cope with tough days better than you would on your own (or hold yourself accountable for being an awesome mom). Look to connect on places like social media networking sites, local mom groups through school or daycare centers, or simply chat-up other moms while taking your child to the park or a local library program. Plus, it's okay if your mom friends don't have kids the same age as yours- we're all mothers and can connect on some level. So don't shy away from reaching out to those moms with older (or younger) kiddos!
If you're in the midst of a crazy season in life, it may seem like the responsibility and stress is never ending. We've all been there! The important thing to remember is, nothing will change unless you take actionable steps to make it happen. No, it won't be perfect, but finding a few things you can adjust in your routine can make a huge difference in your level of burnout and stress as a busy mom. Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration to do just that. Remember- you’re doing GREAT!
September 4, 2021