Shelly is a mother of 2 young kids. In the pandemic, she had to handle not only her work but also her house and kids. Although she was been managing it all, she felt drained by the end of the day. She did not enjoy talking to her kids or her partner. She felt very tired after getting up. Shelly was experiencing a ‘burnout’. In this article, we explore the phenomena of an ‘overwhelmed mom’ and what a mom’s burnout looks like.
Chapter 1:Who Is an Overwhelmed Mom?
This pandemic has brought to the surface what mothers have to go through. Parents (in most cases, mothers!) had a very tough time. They had to manage work along with their children. Their children had to attend online school. A parent in this case was stressed while managing everything at once. Traditionally the duty of childcare is thought to be of mothers. Therefore, a mother who works full time outside and manages her children may feel very tired. She may not be able to fulfil her duties as a mother at times. This may make her feel ineffective as a parent. She may feel guilty for the same.
There are many reasons why a mother may feel overwhelmed. She may not be having a co-parent. It can be so that she receives little support from her workplace. Additionally, the task of childcare itself is straining. Even mothers who are not working outside can feel burnout.
Mothers can feel overwhelmed if she has many children or if she has children with special needs. Additionally, lack of social support, poor socio-economic conditions, and biased gender roles can all overwhelm a mother.
Chapter 2:What Does Mom Burnout Looks Like?
A mom’s burnout can make mothers feel very tired. As a result of which, they may stop taking care of themselves. You will find mothers skipping meals because they don’t feel like eating. Additionally, mom’S burnout can affect her emotional health. Mothers can feel withdrawn and spaced out at times.
A mother going through burnout may report that they are simply performing chores and not feeling anything. Moreover, they may report feelings of shame for not being a good mother. Following are some symptoms of mom burnout:
- Physical pain in limbs, joints or any other body part.
- Feeling emotionally tired- Mothers will find no interest in talking about their day.
- Feeling no affection for children or partners.
- getting angry towards children- hitting them or scolding them.
- They find no pleasure in fun activities
- Feeling rage towards their spouse
- They may think about why they had children.
- Feeling incompetent as a mother. Thinking that they are not good enough for the family.
- Want to escape their duties.
Chapter 3:What Causes a Mommy Burnout?
Mothers can experience stress and tiredness due to the efforts they put in as a mom. This is because society has unrealistic images of ‘what a mom should be like’. Moreover, the burden of caregiving is often entirely on mothers. To add to this, moms are often not appreciated for their work. Additionally, a child also cannot communicate in the initial phases. Therefore a mother has to interpret the crying and cooing on her own.
Sometimes, very young mothers are not really prepared for the role yet. This makes it difficult for them to adjust to a new reality. Some mothers have little or no support from their family which makes child raising harder. Additionally, some don’t even have a supportive partner.
An overwhelmed mom is someone who has reached the limit of mental and physical work.
Chapter 4:How to Cope with a Mom Burnout?
Mom burnout can have extreme consequences at times. This can harm the mother and the family too. Firstly, the mother can suffer from problems such as depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts. Secondly, it can affect the children. They will grow up having a detached mother. This can lower their self-esteem. The mother can beat the child which will harm them physically. Moreover, there will be constant conflicts in the family if the mother keeps getting angry.
Keeping in mind the risks of mom burnout, it is important to cope with it. Here are some tips:
- Take a break: Break is a necessity for all humans. It provides us with a chance to refuel ourselves. Since mothers have a lot on their plate, taking a break can help them perform better. It allows them a downtime. Even our body performs better when it has rested enough.
- Talk it out: Mothers should talk to other mothers to vent out their emotions. Other moms know what a mom burnout looks like. Moreover, they can understand an overwhelmed mother better.
- Seeking help: A therapist can help an overwhelmed mom by asking mothers to recognise and accept their feelings. They can also act as listeners for any past trauma. A therapist can teach healthy coping methods to an overwhelmed mother.
- Self-help: To handle a mom’s burnout, a mother can engage in time out. They can ask the partner to share some duties. Engaging in simple enjoyable activities like pursuing a hobby or going on a short walk daily can beat the stress. A simple meditation app or diary writing can also reduce stress.
- Support group: A mother can join a mom’s support groups to understand methods of raising a child. They can create awareness of what a mom’s burnout looks like.
Chapter 5:Some Self-Help Tips for an Overwhelmed Mom
- Exercise: A mother may not be able to find enough time to work on their body. However, it is essential to keep moving. Physical exhaustion can lead to long term problems like weight gain, migraine or anaemia among overwhelmed moms. Simple exercises can keep the body active and strong for the day. You can do yoga or aerobics at home.
- Maintain an activity tracker: Overwhelmed moms face sleep problems. Therefore, a tracker can help to track your sleep and water intake regularly. They write about their emotions and feelings in the tracker and note down what makes them feel good and what upsets them.
- Designate time: An overwhelmed mom can space her activities. She can create a routine for work, parenting and self-care. It can allow her some segments where she can relax.
- Acceptance and gratitude: An overwhelmed mom can read more about what mom burnout looks like and improve her awareness. This can help her understand that she is not alone and that there is help available.