With so much going on in the world today, with work demands, life demands, and balancing family obligations it is easy to get overwhelmed and suffer from mom burn out. Also, these issues have presented the need, or some may say opportunity to work from home. However, this comes with its own set of issues and potential for working mom burnout.
The phenomenon of mom burnout refers to a specific syndrome of exhaustion related to prolonged situations of emotional imbalance. The burdens of mom burnout is based on perceived stress that exceeds personal resources to cope with it. Parental burnout is characterized by three aspects (i) Physical and emotional exhaustion; (ii) emotional distancing from one’s children, and (iii) a sense of incompetency in one’s parenting role (Mikolajczak, 2018). The concept of being a “good enough mother” seems to be a driving force of working mom burnout that is coupled with feelings of shame, perfectionism, loneliness, self hate, fear, etc. (Hoghughi and Speight, 1998). Being perfectionist not only contributes to mom burnout but als is associated with an increased vulnerability to stress (Hewitt et al., 2017). This personality trait may play a role in the occurrence of parental burnout.
Working from home is a great way to stay home with your kids or pets or to enjoy more rest time or even enjoy hobbies, while still supplementing the family’s income. On the flipside, it can be challenging to be a mother and an employee at the same time. Your stress level can rise quickly when you have deadlines to keep or phone calls to make while your little ones are acting out. Implementing a few of the ideas below can help prevent working mom burnout.
Don’t work more than you have to:
Money isn’t everything. Your family needs a happy and sane mom and you need to stay healthy for yourself and everyone else. I always say in my practice, the wife and the mother are the central focus of the home. If she is grounded and relaxed everyone around her will be grounded and relaxed which can prevent mom burnout.
Create a schedule or to-do list both for work and your personal life:
Just realise that you won’t always get everything done and don’t worry if you don’t. There’s always tomorrow, however providing a structure for your time can prevent working mom burnout. If you tell your time what to do – then you can be more efficient and effective with your time.
Designate an errand day:
Spend one day a week running around town getting everything done for the week or opt to cut your errands in half by using online shopping options. One day a week designates your grocery shopping, dropping things off at the dry cleaner, going to the post office and anything else you need to do. Also leverage college kids, or high school kids looking for some extra cash to extend your support to prevent mom burnout.
Enjoy your kids or pets or hobbies:
Take some time to play with your loved ones every day, guilt free. Structure some time everyday for a designated time to enjoy your loved ones. Have a picnic lunch in the garden, take them on a little field trip or just play catch for a while. You’re working from home because you want to spend time with your kids or pets or because you like time to have hobbies or rest more. Work and house chores can wait while you play and can also be soothing to working home burnout.
Go out on a date with a partner or a friend:
Make date night, a regular occurrence and connect with your lover. If you are currently single, choose to date yourself, run a bath or take yourself for a nice meal, show yourself some love. Make sure you take some time out for self care to recharge and relax from mom burnout.
Have lunch with a girlfriend:
We need some adult conversation every now and then. Make time to stay in touch with your friends. Schedule this while your kiddos are at school, or perhaps double as a lunch meeting with a colleague. This can help you get out of the house and also enjoy some social time.
Call a friend:
If you are having a bad day, call a good friend and just talk for a little while. You’ll be relaxed and rejuvenated when you get back. Keep the conversation light, fun, and easy. Avoid stressful conversations or complaining about your working mom burnout. If you decide to commensurate on the phone about your mom burnout it can continue to reinforce your stress response.
Get some exercise:
Go for a walk, join a gym, or try a Pilates class. Exercise will not only keep you in shape, it’s also a great de-stressor. Moving your body every day, and breaking a sweat can help you increase endorphins to allow your body to be soothed.
Play some upbeat music and dance around the living room:
Who cares if your kids and the neighbours think you’ve lost it? You are having fun and are releasing all that build-up of physical energy. Dancing can be very freeing, relaxing, and fun to let loose and enjoy yourself.
If you own a business, stick to one until it more or less runs itself:
Don’t burn yourself out by trying to run several businesses at the same time. Also be mindful of overloading your workload. Having a business does involve getting a lot of things done at once, but you can prevent working mom burnout by staying organized and structured with your time as well as energy. Learn to prioritize and manage your time so that you do not become overwhelmed or overloaded by your tasks.
Start implementing a few of these ideas today and watch your stress level go down. You will prevent work at home mom burnout and get to enjoy life more. Your family will appreciate spending time with a fun and relaxed mom. Give up trying to be perfect. Let go of doing everything right and forget about the fear of not being good enough. The only thing that matters is that you are spending quality time with your family, pets, friends and yourself.
As a main driver that can increase mom burnout is the imbalance of demands over resources which can increase vulnerability to parental burnout. If you do not have a strong support system that can be a challenge for you as a busy mom. In a recent study, there was overlap found between professional and parental burnout. At the micro-level, common causes of burnout may be personality traits. Personality traits such as neuroticism, which can lead to the risk of burnout in demanding settings.
Parental burnout may also be attributed to personal history which can result in an ideal parental self (which may be unrealistic). A lack of support; with more challenging cases such as the balance of the number of children to care for, young, disabled or ill children, low household income, or inadequate parenting practices are also contributing factors. An additional cause may be conflicting values between the self-sacrifice of work or parenting and time for oneself with time for self being a close second to work, which is why creating a self care and balanced practice is beneficial for preventing mom burnout.
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