5 tips to stop the mummy burnout before it overwhelms you
Even the best of us burn out amidst the hundred and one duties a mum has. Here we give you the warning signs for burnout, and tips to recharge yourself.
Most of us know about your job burnout, where overstressed employees become exhausted and disillusioned over time. But did you know that like any other overworked person, mums can burn out too?
What's mummy burnout?
Being a mum is a 24/7 job — we don’t get to take off days, MCs or have regular 9-5 hours. According to the Association for Psychological Science, job burnout occurs when stressors like long working hours are imbalanced with rewards and relaxation.
It’s no surprise that with work-life balance traditionally non-existent for most mums, we burn out quickly if we’re not careful.
Here are some danger signs of parental burnout to look out for, according to health info site Healthline:
- constant irritability without specific cause
- resentfulness and frustration toward your children and their needs
- feeling inadequate as a parent
- feeling as though nothing you do is good enough
- emotional detachment from your children
It’s more common than you think
Around 32% of mums experience “average burnout” and about 13% have “high burnout”, according to a recent study of 1,723 participants. Mummy burnout is not only a legitimate condition — it’s pretty widespread among modern mums, and according to the study, it’s become more common since the 2000s.
Parental burnout can be hard to admit to. We love our kids, and when we find our energy and motivation plunging, we may feel like terrible parents. The thing to remember is that burnout happens to the best of us. In fact, those highly motivated to be supermums are at greater risk for burning out.
The good news is that although motherhood stress is inevitable, burnout is definitely preventable. Here are 5 measures you can take to practise self-care, so as to replenish your energy to take care of your family.
1) Don’t be afraid to ask for recognition
According to Psychology Today, lack of recognition increases risk of burnout. Being a mum can feel pretty thankless at times — after all, when was the last time your child said thanks for cooking a delicious meal, or your spouse praised you for miraculously keeping the house clean?
It’s easy to become drained when you don’t feel appreciated for all the energy you pour into your work. Rather than suffering in silence, have a frank talk with your spouse about your feelings and discuss ways to show gratitude to each other in future.
2) Get dad involved
It's 2017 — traditional parenting roles where mum did all the child-raising and dad brought home the bacon are on the way out. Your spouse is your sworn partner-in-crime, so don't hesitate to get his help when you need some downtime. Plus, working together to cope with the stress of looking after your kids can help strengthen your marriage.
3) Let your child do things for himself
Have you ever felt like you do everything in the household? If your kids are preschoolers or older, teach them to do simple things for themselves like pouring their own water or putting away their own toys. Sure, you could probably do them faster and neater, but this prepares your child for bigger responsibilities in future!
4) Focus on what you've done right
Negativity bias is a pesky, very real thing, where our brains are more sensitive to nasty rather than positive events. One symptom of burnout is feeling inadequate about yourself as a mum, and this often results from paying too much attention to the negative side of things.
To start focusing on the positives, share with your spouse one amazing thing that went right each day. Whether it's calming your toddler's tantrum in 5 minutes flat or getting an afternoon nap, you deserve a pat on the back (and maybe a slice of cake) for the everyday things you achieve.
5) Don't compare yourself to other parents
It can be so easy to get caught up in envying those picture-perfect mums on Instagram or Pinterest. But comparing your reality to their carefully curated moments is just unrealistic, creating stressful ideals that no mum can actually live up to. Just as each child is special, each mum has her own unique way of parenting. If necessary, wean yourself off social media completely!
ALSO READ: 8 ways to help mothers who feel burned-out
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