This is not your average article about mommy burnout and the signs that you may be experiencing it. This is my story about mommy burnout and what I did to help myself. Too often women and moms are taught to just go with it. We are encouraged to just “handle it” the best way we know how. Although, we are not taught about the resources or given them when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Typically we have actively seek them out or conduct research to find them. This is exactly what I had to do. After a while I got tired of hearing the same thing over and over.
“You got this!” No I don’t and just told you I don’t several times.
“Hang in there mama!” I’m tired of hanging. Why can’t you just catch me before I fall?
“One day at a time.” Okay, how am I supposed to take it a day at a time when I am struggling to take it moments at a time.
Everything started to sound the same after a while, which was “that’s the lows and highs of being a mom. Handle it.”
What I was not being encouraged to do or told was why and how I needed to make myself a priority so that I could “handle it” and “hang in there.”
My Mommy Burnout Story
There is a lot to be said about my experience with mommy burnout. At first, I was a little in denial about having it. I thought everything that I was feeling was normal. The fatigue, irritation, random bursts of outrage, and even anger. However, I had to ask myself the hard question that most people do not like asking themselves. I had to ask myself “is this “normal” supposed to be acceptable?” Why are moms and women always taught that what’s “normal” should also be acceptable and to just basically go with it without actually being taught how to take care of themselves?
First, mommy burnout for me started with mental stress, which then turned into emotional, ultimately leading to my physical stress. I started having chest pains, shortness of breath at times, and even sharp shooting and dense pains exactly where my c-section took place. Now while I know it is normal to still have itching and slight discomfort from my scar, I also know that physical stress does not help with internal healing of my body and scar tissue. Now to my recent knowledge, after having an annual physical with my primary care physician, I have learned that I have a small umbilical cord hernia just in my upper right abdomen.
According to my physician, this hernia is a result of my pregnancy, which of course I expected and knew. That was no surprise to me at all because I remember specifically my daughter always kicking me in the area when I was pregnant with her. Uh! The most uncomfortable pain ever! Now that I have confirmation that the bulge and cramping in my upper right abdomen is a hernia, there is something else that I take into consideration as a contributing factor. My well-being and mental stress from “mommy burnout.“
Although this was not my wake-up call, it was my random bursts of outrage and anger that let me know, “I have burned the hell out,” and it left me curious about mommy burnout. I have heard the term before but I never actually put the idea of it together.
After doing much research and taking self-help questionnaires I decided to make my health and wellness a priority. I was determined to no longer have mommy burnout! After all, how was I supposed to be a good mom if I’m not a healthy mom? How was I supposed to make my daughter a priority if I didn’t make myself a priority? More importantly, I was no longer going to accept the fact that just because I am a mom now that does not mean I should always be burned out.
I’m just going to say it because someone has to but that whole thing about “well you’re a mom now it’s no longer about you,” or “Well get used to being drained because that’s your life now as a mom,” is all bullshit. Sure, maybe the luxury of always taking grand vacations or shopping for yourself may be put on the back burner for now, but that does not mean you should no longer make yourself a priority.
Dare I say it, but that’s something our moms, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers were taught because there may not have been another option. However, it’s almost 2024 and we as women and moms have options available to us now when it comes to health and wellness. We can thank researchers, scientists, doctors, and maternal health advocates like Michelle Obama for that.
To have mommy burnout should not be okay. It’s time to normalize mom wellness and throw away mommy burnout.
Canceling Mommy Burnout and Normalizing Mommy Wellness
It wasn’t long before I started taking health and wellness seriously after I learned that mommy burnout is a thing and that I was suffering from it. Not only did I research specific topics related to health and wellness such as the benefits of practicing mindfulness and meditation, but I also surrounded myself with people who were very much into it as I was. The best thing that could have ever happened to me was forming a relationship with a friend and mentor, Cristina Cuomo, Editor-In-Chief of Purist, who also gave me an opportunity to write my first health and wellness piece.
Sometimes the best education comes from those who have walked your path and are on a journey to help others in health and wellness. After becoming a health and wellness contributing writer to Purist, I decided to take all the research I do and apply it to my life.
I took several steps to take control of my mental health and wellness including limiting my interaction on social media, committing to exercising daily by going for walks, and even getting up early while the house is still quiet just so I can enjoy moments to myself.
Limited my interaction with social media
This one is a no-brainer. Going on a social media detox helped clear my head and the intrusive mom thoughts I always had. It is overwhelming to have to always look at Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok mom friends who seem to have it all figured out. I did not realize how much this contributed to my mommy burnout until I felt like I was drowning in the social life of the internet. I always felt like other moms were one step ahead I was two steps behind, and while I was so busy trying to play catch up or keep up, I realized I should have been running my own race.
Granted, I get some of my best ideas of toddler entertainment from social media. However, if an idea is what I need then that’s it. I search toddler entertainment on TikTok and a bunch of videos pop up. I save those videos and hop right off because I know if I don’t and I keep scrolling my mind will just keep spiraling. The way I approach motherhood and how others approach it are not identical, and I am entirely comfortable with that distinction.
Prioritizing self-care is key in my journey to combating mommy burnout and investing into mommy wellness. Every single day I make it a point to have self-care and I keep track of everything I do. I’ve started making my list of self-care points to cover daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. Juggling full-time and overtime mom duties can make it simple to overlook basic self-care practices, like prioritizing activities such as brushing your teeth first thing in the morning. I know right…believe it or not I have forgotten to do that.
My daily self-care includes the following:
- Brushing my teeth when I first wake up, washing my face with an Aveeno Brightening Scrub (feels really good and refreshing. I feel like a new woman every time I use it)
- Making myself a nice cup of coffee with Vanilla Almond Milk Creamer and a dash of cinnamon. making myself breakfast and sharing it with my daughter, and if I don’t feel like cooking a meal for myself and her, I just cook something small for her and go straight to my easy morning snacking, Scott’s Protein Balls.
- Going for a walk after breakfast (if the weather permits. I live in Texas so it’s pretty unpredictable here) and if I can’t I do breath work while I sip on my coffee and my daughter eats her breakfast while watching Bluey.
- Nightly self-care includes pretty much the same things except I make it a point to make my orange cucumber-infused water with cayenne pepper so that’s ready for me the next morning.
As a mom, every moment counts. So if you really take into consideration that these things are in fact self-care, your life will become so much easier and managed. At least for me that’s what happened and I value these moments.
Now you’re probably wondering “well if that’s daily self-care for her where and how the hell does she even fit weekly self-care in there?” I am glad you asked! Do you know how Oprah started that Super Soul Sunday on her network years ago? Yeah, well I follow that same concept. Every Sunday is Super Soul Sunday for this mama and that includes everything from a warm bath to a full at-home facial, manicure, pedicure, and hair care. My preferred choice for bath products is consistently Dr. Teal’s. Whether it’s the Eucalyptus Bubble Bath and Epsom Salt or the Lavender Bubble Bath and Epsom Salt, these are my go-to options. To top that I love Avatara gel masks. I pour a glass of wine and a glass of water infused with oranges, cucumbers, and cayenne pepper, light a candle and I am set for my at-home spa.
When it comes to monthly, quarterly, and yearly self-care, that’s all relatively simple. Monthly, I indulge in a luxurious spa service, and quarterly, I take myself out on a date. The essence of this practice is to serve as a reminder of one’s identity. There is so much talk about dating your spouse, but we forget that we have to date ourselves too. Prioritizing self-care is the beginning of dating yourself again. Upon prioritizing myself once more, I rediscovered the love I have for myself.
Lastly, the yearly self-care is scheduling an appointment with my PCP. I cannot stress it enough that this must always be a priority over anything. If mom isn’t healthy then the world will fall a part. I love my daughter, but I love my health more because without it she can’t thrive.
Gave Myself Grace and Dropped the Mom Guilt
Normalizing mommy wellness also includes giving myself grace and dropping the mom guilt. I know that I may not always be on my A-Game. Sometimes there will be hiccups and interruptions such as my daughter getting sick. I may have to slow down on sick days and cancel swimming classes or playdates. I may have to skip vacuuming the whole house or cleaning the dishes sometimes because I simply just can’t do it all in one day all the time.
I used to feel terrible for having a messy house and not prioritizing a clean home. My intrusive mom thoughts always told me that if I don’t clean this house my daughter is going to grow up thinking her mama is a hot mess. Giving myself grace and dropping that mom guilt is next level mommy wellness because the trust is I am a mom. Not Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel. Even though on my good days I like to think I am!
Invested in Mom Relationships
The last point I will add in this article is investing in mom relationships will definitely help you feel supported. You will even likely feel less mommy burnout because you won’t feel alone in your motherhood journey. It has been historically known that women have always nurtured other women back to health. Surrounding myself with other moms the same age as me with children the same age as my daughter helped validate my emotions.
When I talk to my mom friends about those intrusive mom thoughts I have or the overstimulation of hearing “mama” 100 million times a day, I know I am not going crazy. More importantly, I feel less alone in my journey of motherhood. Being a new and young mom in a town with no family close by can be lonely at times. I never take my relationships with other moms for granted.
The Key Takeaway Away About Mommy Burnout
Parenting is not easy. Motherhood is not easy. Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs yet the most rewarding job in the world. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life as it is now. On the day I granted life to my daughter, she reciprocated by breathing life into me. Each day, she nurtures what I instilled in her, serving as a reminder that I, too, must prioritize myself. The day I had my daughter was the day she brought new life into mine. Every day, she builds on what I’ve given her. It’s a constant reminder that I should also take care of myself.
If I have mommy burnout, how can I enjoy simple moments with her? How can I care for her? The answer is simple, I can’t. This Christmas I am gifting myself the gift of mommy wellness and you should do the same. Stop beating yourself up and stop burning yourself out. Yes, mommy burnout is real, but it does not have to be your reality.
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Vashti is a lifestyle entertainment, health, and wellness writer. She enjoys sharing her expertise and advice on parenting and self-care. She also loves writing stories about pop culture and trending shows, as well as celebrity lifestyle and luxury. To pitch a story to Vashti contact her on IG @vashtithejournalist or Twitter @vashtismoore.