Parental burnout: many mothers – or fathers – experience, or have experienced, this phenomenon of physical and mental exhaustion.
Because yes, being a mom is undoubtedly the most beautiful job in the world, but maybe also the most difficult!
And many of us would like to do it all together and succeed: to be the perfect mother, to have a dream job, a perfect couple and a nice social life.
Except that this ideal does not exist, and that by chasing too much, you get exhausted … sometimes to the point of burnout.
So, when maternal, paternal or parental burnout occurs, how to recognize it? And above all, what to do to prevent or get out of this infernal spiral?
How do you know if you have a mom burnout?
This physical and mental exhaustion is a taboo of motherhood! And if mothers are often widely affected, we are aware that this can also be the lot of dads.
The symptoms can be psychological, cognitive or behavioral at the same time.
Chronic fatigue, anxiety, irritability, drop in productivity, various physical pain, or even loss of self-esteem are all physiological and psychological signs that should alert you.
Sometimes mistaken for the baby blues or depression, which it is not, maternal burnout is actually physical and emotional exhaustion due to the build-up of multiple stressors over the long term.
It does not occur suddenly but gradually, and leaves mothers totally “empty”: of their energy, their enthusiasm, their ability to manage daily life.
Some mothers are so overwhelmed that they come, despite themselves, to violent gestures or words with their children, or even to indifference: unconsciously, to protect themselves , they detach themselves from their children and from what happens to them.
In fact, there are 3 stages that lead to exhaustion or even depression.
Physical and emotional exhaustion
When, by dint of stress and requests, all the inner resources have been used, the parent ends up having nothing more to give, neither physically nor emotionally.
Distancing or detachment
A self-protective phenomenon, the mother will unconsciously distance herself from what makes her suffer, namely children and domestic chores.
It’s a simple survival mechanism in an attempt to preserve what little energy is left.
The last phase of burnout is a kind of abandonment and withdrawal into oneself.
We can then go through outbursts of anger or even violence, but also a loss of confidence and often a lot of judgment and self-criticism of oneself.
It is caused by this disconnect between the idea of motherhood that we had and reality.
So how do you prevent motherhood burnout ?
Being a mom is not easy. Choppy nights, baby’s health problems, closely spaced or twin pregnancies, the hectic and busy daily life can also be enough to tip you into total exhaustion.
To avoid burnout, here are some ideas to limit fatigue and protect yourself.
Don’t set the bar too high
To be successful at work, to be a good mother, to be there for your marriage, not to fail: the pressure exerted on women today is very heavy sometimes.
Add to that the images conveyed by social media of tidy interiors or professional birthday parties, and sometimes it’s hard to feel up to it.
Not brave enough to bake a castle-shaped birthday cake for your oldest child? That’s okay, a store-bought cake will do just fine.
Does the idea of inviting classmates put you off? So what: nowhere does it say that you should spend your time inviting your teenage girl’s friends over to the house.
Be kind to yourself and don’t set too many goals at once, whether at home, at work, or in life in general.
Listen to yourself and take stock of your resources before deciding: saying no is also a possibility!
Keep in mind that motherhood is not easy
Raising kids is a lot of household chores, of time to devote to them, of energy to educate them well, to teach them the basic rules, to accompany them every day on their way of life or quite simply to console them and to welcome their emotions, sometimes intense.
It’s not all rosy or easy. But above all: you have the right to be fed up and to express it! Being a mother is a big responsibility that it is not easy to always shoulder, 365 days a year, sometimes day and night.
Accept yourself as you are
To avoid exhaustion, and the burnout that usually comes after, you have to get used to the idea that you are a good mother, you are the perfect mother … to your children!
Stop putting the pressure on yourself! There are a thousand ways to experience motherhood, and none is better than another.
Stop chasing after perfection, what matters, after all, is the quality of the time you spend with your children, the love you have for them.
Never forget to take care of yourself
In order to take care of your children, it is essential that you take care of yourself first!
Find yourself an activity that you like and above all delegate! A friend, the family offers to babysit? Don’t think about it, say “yes”.
As for Dad, even if he doesn’t do everything like you, that’s okay. Let him do it! What matters sometimes is getting things done.
Are the kids dressed for school and have something in their stomach? It doesn’t matter if their clothes are totally mismatched and they’ve eaten a bowl full of overly sweet cereal.
Recovering from maternal exhaustion and alleviating stress is far from impossible.
Moms with this extreme exhaustion syndrome need help.
“Take time for yourself”, “Accept others to help you”, “Live your life as a woman”, “Externalize your discomfort”, “Get your husband involved” … and “Give up the idea of wanting to have everything done right away ”: these are just some of many available tips that will help you prevent motherhood burnout.