Lately I’m been pondering how exactly one recharges as a mom. When our tanks are empty, how are they filled? When we have reached the end of our rope with the kids and the house and ourselves, how do we find the peace and strength to grab hold and try again?
I’ve been pondering for myself mostly. You see, since January 4th, besides a few long showers, I haven’t spent any amount of time away from my three little ones. As in none. Yeah, feels totally crazy to me too.
This sustained and uninterrupted stint of motherhood is unusual. We moved, I was living in a different state than my husband for nearly a month, he started a new job, the kids were uncertain and unsettled with all that was happening, and then once we finally got into our house and were all together there were so many things to do, put away, buy, and people to meet that I just never got away. And I still have yet to.
I am so glad to be in my home and with my husband, but the mom-burnout is real. Maybe you’re here with me.
I can clearly see that I am getting burnt-out, but even nearly 5 years into motherhood I still struggle in a very real way with mom-burnout.
First, I feel guilty about getting burnt-out.
Yes, guilty. And guilt leads to shame and ignoring and not dealing with the problem.
I continue to believe that being able to stay home with my kids is the ultimate privilege. How mothers everywhere get up every morning, pull kids out of beds, dress them, fed them and drop them off at daycare and then head to the office looking clean and professional is totally beyond me. It’s a banner day around here if I make it in and out of the shower and have the time to dab on some makeup by 10 o’clock. Most days it’s yoga pants and greasy hair for this girl.
I love being home with the kids. I love walking to the park and having them help me make lunch and doing puzzles in the basement while we wait for dad to get home from work. It would kill me not to be here for all of this, and perhaps that is why I feel guilty that I get burnt-out.
I know this is silly and even the most beautiful things in life we can’t do day after day on repeat. I get that logically, but I can’t help but continue to beat myself up over it. How can I get tired of these sweet (whiny, rude, wild) and wonderful kids? What is the matter with me?
Mom guilt, after all, knows no bounds.
Next, I don’t really know how to cure the burnout.
My husband is really good about giving me time away from the kids and the house when he is around and able to…and when I actually get over the guilt and ask for it. But even when I have the time away I struggle to know what to do with it.
Shopping offers no therapy for me whatsoever. It might actually make my mood worse. Perhaps it is the fault of the tight-wad Belgian man that raised me, but I hate spending money. I hate it! On top of this, I feel over stimulated and overwhelmed in malls and instantly want to lay down or leave. Plus, I have vowed to cut down on the amount of STUFF in my house–and looking at stuff with no intention to buy gives me little to no joy.
So shopping is out.
But, then where do I go? A couple of times I’ve brought my computer to a coffee shop and sat down to write a blog post or create a pattern. And this is nice. Nice to sit and work and accomplish things. I love accomplishing things, after all. Nice to sit and actually drink warm coffee and not fear that at any moment a toddler will run up and slam on my keyboard or send my coffee flying. Yes, it’s nice, but I’m not sure I leave feeling recharged, at least not recharged as a mother. I leave feeling accomplished, which is a step in the right direction, but not the cure-all I had hoped for.
Perhaps the cure is time with other adults.
Perhaps the cure is time with other moms.
Perhaps the cure is just time.
Time away, time to miss the kids and long for the messes and mayhem and mischief. Time to forget my little hang-ups and see them for what they are–silly annoyances that I need to get over. Time to rethink the fly-by-the-seat decisions I make with the kids every day. Time to calm down and remember how good they are and how good we are together.
Because we really are good together.
As moms we do need to take care of ourselves. Mom burnout is real and it’s nothing to feel guilty about. And, I am writing these words as a reminder to myself as much as a message to anyone else.
All the best,