Most mothers have a to-do list, whether paper or virtual, and often they’re not on it.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I’m reminded about the very real problem of mom guilt and burnout, especially now in our current crazy pandemic world. According to a recent survey by Motherly 97% of moms say they feel burned out at least some of the time, with the pandemic only making things worse.
What better time than Mother’s Day to stop, take a breather and recalibrate. In this post, I’m going to give you suggestions to help you let go of mom-guilt and avoid burnout.
It’s time to let go of the fantasy of being perfect in every aspect of your mom life. Between managing work, household chores, and childcare, finding time for your partner, friends, and family, looking after your health, exercising, and having a skincare routine can feel almost impossible.
The constant guilt of not doing enough can eat away at you. It affects your mood, sleep and keeps you distracted and in a state of anxiety.
As they say on airplanes, put your own oxygen mask on first. It’s time to put on your own oxygen mask…
It’s important to carve out some fun and relaxing me-time for yourself, and yet so many moms just don’t do this enough. In fact, a recent survey, 77% of moms felt like they didn’t have enough personal space. Having some me-time not only helps alleviate stress and anxiety but it also reduces your risk of burnout.
Having your own time, means:
Whether it’s something social such as dinner with friends, or a solo activity such as a daily walk, bubble bath, or reading your book for an hour without interruptions, carving out this time puts healthy boundaries in place, teaching your family to respect your time and empowers you to take back control and balance of your personal life.
Having time to yourself is not selfish, it’s smart – it benefits everyone.
TOP TIP: Make a family rule that on X day and Y time, it’s mommy time and it’s do not disturb time unless the house is on fire, so anything the family needs from mom has to come before or after that time.
It’s time to stop beating ourselves up for not being the perfect cook, for yelling at our kids, for working late, for leaving the laundry an extra day, for forgetting little Bobby’s school lunch…or little Bobby at school.
You’re doing your best.
The media and magazines set us up for this false idea that we should be baking Michellin-star worthy cookies with a smile, glammed up with hair glistening in a pristine kitchen, and two clean and happy children sitting politely at the kitchen table.
In reality, most households have days with cookies with the burnt bits scraped off, frizzy hair, stained shirts and sticky-fingered kids hanging sideways off their chairs.
When you stop feeling bad or anxious about your choices and circumstances, you can start to let go of the shame of being a bad mom, bad friend, bad partner etc.
TOP TIP: instead of wallowing in guilt and shame, remember why you made that choice – for example, every time you think, “I feel guilty I’ve still not done the laundry”, replace it with “I made the decision not to do the laundry yet because I have other more important things to handle right now like me-time or a playtime with my child.”
This leads me on to…
Figure out what matters most for you and prioritize those.
Your health. Your kids health. Spending quality family time together.
The clearer you get on these the easier it is to prioritize, say no to tasks, outsource or set boundaries.
TOP TIP: If you want to spend more quality time with the kids – shut down your phone or laptop at a specific time each day and take the kids out for a walk, bike ride, or play a board game. If you’re always saying yes to volunteering at school fundraisers, perhaps sit the next one out and spend that time with friends. If you resent the ironing – send it to the dry cleaners and get that task off your list so you can spend more time doing what you enjoy or are good at.
Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, incompetent or a bad mother.
The more you respect your time and boundaries the more in control you’ll feel. This will leave more time for fun and meaningful tasks, ultimately reducing your stress and help build your confidence and optimism – setting you up as a great role model for your kids.
Kids don’t remember how clean your kitchen is, they remember the fun and loving quality time you had – so stop stressing about the countertops and find your fun-mommy mojo.
TOP TIP: Reach out to trusted neighbors to babysit, so you can go on a date night, ask family members for help with a pantry clearout, get kids involved in cooking meals (even if it’s just washing veggies or setting the table), carpool with other parents, outsource chores you hate such as cleaning, ironing or even get a virtual assistant to help with your schedule.
This Mother’s day, if you’re a mom, gift yourself some me-time, if you have a mom gift her some much needed help!
5. Spend time with like-minded moms
It can be tough to scroll through Instagram or Facebook and see the perfect family photos of beautiful vacations, beaming parents, kids holding trophies, the perfect cake baked by the ‘perfect’ mom in her sparkly clean newly renovated kitchen.
But the reality is people only show the little bits of life they want you to see – in other words, the majority of the time it’s a highlight reel, and what goes on behind the scenes is most likely less than picture-perfect.
If you find you’re feeling down about yourself after scrolling your feed on Instagram or Facebook – it’s time to unfollow any accounts that make you feel anything other than happy, inspired, or informed.
TOP TIP: Start being selective about who you spend time with and follow on social media, choosing moms like you – the good days, the bad days, the sloppy PJ days. This will motivate you to feel great about being a mom and isn’t that what all moms deserve?
Happy Mother’s Day!
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