Exhausted mom syndrome: mom needs a break!

Motherhood is a lot of work (this is not breaking news). Thousands of google searches are done everyday on motherhood quotes regarding exhaustion or being tired. Clearly, the struggle is real and nearly universal. These celebrity quotes might help all moms realize they aren’t the only ones:

“Nothing can really prepare you for the sheer, overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother. It’s full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love, and worry, all mixed together.” Kate Middleton

“I’m a walking zombie, and I think I’m going to be like that for a while,” Tiffani Thiessen

Many moms are surprised not just by the overwhelm of motherhood, but also the underwhelm they consistently experience. The responsibility and never ending to-dos can feel sufficating and lead to that feeling of overwhelm.

The monotony of routines and the repetitiveness of motherhood leaves many moms feeling a sense of loneliness, boredom, and underwhelm.

You’re not alone if you’re feeling you give so much of yourself to your children and motherhood, that you’re feeling depleted. You deserve and need replenishment in order to continue in the marathon of motherhood. This is where I encourage mothers to find their personal version of the sweet spot of motherhood: the times of day and the activities you share with your children but you also enjoy the most.

Mom needs a break!

But here’s what you can do to find a little more sanity and self-care when there is no break to be found. I promise they are realistic and doable, practical strategies with the reality of motherhood in mind!

Calendar analysis:

Take out your family calendar and take a quick glance at it. What patterns or general observations can you make?

If you’re feeling motivated, use a color coded system to highlight who each event / activity belongs to. Does this show an imbalance of time? Are events for YOU missing from the calendar? Or are events for you and your spouse together missing from the calendar?

I encourage moms to determine what activities need to happen for them…

  • on a daily basis (a walk; a break from parenting; a shower; a nutritious meal)

  • on a weekly basis (time with a friend; a favorite fitness class; a break from cooking)

  • on a monthly basis (an event with your spouse; visit with extended family; an artistic/creative pursuit)

What these activities are will be unique and specific to you. What’s important is that you identify what replenishes you the most and how frequently it needs to happen. Start with identify things you can do with your kids

  • consider a social walk with your child in a stroller or a gym that offers child care while you work out

  • play music you enjoy while playing with your children. And further, cultivate the toys in your house to be ones that bring you joy, including books you enjoy reading to your children.

  • involve your children in versions of activities you enjoy. Do you love being at the beach? Take your kids there? Do you enjoy painting? Get them their own set of paints they can use while you both make art.

Identify what on your calendar has the most stress and burden for you

In your time analysis, look at which repeated activities are the most taxing to you. Let’s create some change there by considering one of these strategies:

  • Get others involved, delegate and outsource

    Can the task be delegated to someone else? Is a spouse or extended family member happy to share some of the load? Are your children old enough to help participate in some of these tasks? Do you have the financial resources to pay someone to complete this onerous task? Get creative: can you swap and share responsibilities with a friend? A carpool is a great example of a way to share the responsibility and decrease the burden! Think about a meal prep swap or other ways you can decrease your load. If you have trouble asking for help, try these strategies.

  • Ditch the word “chore.”

    How do you feel when you use the word “chore?” Probably not so great. Notice the words you use to describe the things on your to-do list. Try to find language that inspires you and motivates you. (I know, I get it, some things simply are a chore! But when you can approach an activity with a different mindset, it has opportunity to change your experience and be less taxing!).

  • Gratitude exercise

    Using a gratitude exercise can move a responsibility from dread to appreciation. Is cleaning up the kitchen or doing dishes the last thing you feel like doing at the end of the day? (I’m raisining my hand, “yes!”). A simple act of gratitude can change any task into an opportunity for recognizing how fortunate you and your family are. Try this:

    • as you fold clothes: “I am so thankful to have these clothes to keep my children warm. I am thankful for the financial resources to provide these clothes for my children. I am thankful for being here and having the physical ability to fold these clothes.” Write your own version for any chore because it’s likely to change your perspective and your experience!

  • Mindfulness meditation

    many household tasks are totally mindless. They are so routine that they allow for your brain to gravitate elsewhere. What are you thinking about while you are completing your household responsibilities?

    • sensory meditation for washing dishes: notice the feel of the water on your skin. Is it hot? Is it cold? Focus on the sound of the water running. Inhale deeply and fully to notice the smell of the soap, or whatever other scents you might notice. Look at the soap bubbles and the irridescent rainbow in the light. Feel the weight of the dishes in your hand and notice the muscles in your hands and arms engage to bear the weight.

Read more here at The Monmouth Moms for ideas I share to share with your children in finding that sweet spot.

And if you’d like some more strategies and ideas specific to your unique needs, consider a 15 minute insight consultation to determine your next steps in finding the sweet spot of motherhood!

i’m jaime malone, licensed professional counselor:

I will be your cheerleader and coach in creating calm, deepening connections and increasing you overall well-being.

Contact me now for your 15-minute insight phone call where we will look to:

  • get clear on the experiences you desire to have

  • identify the current obstacles interfering with having the happiness you deserve

  • complete the consultation with the excitement of knowing your next steps to move towards the wellbeing you need

Jaime Malone