#1 Way to Prevent Mama Burn Out
If you have been a mama longer than say, 5 minutes, you know what I am talking about when I reference “Mama burn out.” Although it can look different for each of us, it usually involves a killer combo of low patience, high irritability, and severe exhaustion. OMG the exhaustion, amiright? It doesn’t matter if you have one kid or 6, if they’re adopted or biological, the struggle is real for all of us, and learning ways to prevent burning out as moms is vital for us all. In my work with women, and more specifically my work with mamas, there is one common theme that regularly comes up- Self-Care.
Self-Care. Self- Care. Self-Care.
We suck at it guys, like so bad. I say that with more love and empathy than words can convey, and also, I am speaking to myself as well. It doesn’t seem to come naturally for us caregivers so we avoid it and ignore it, until we can’t anymore, until it’s too late and your kid spills his 4th cup of milk for the day and you lose your damn mind. Over spilt milk.
What we believe it is…
Somewhere along the way we have twisted the definition of self-care, especially for women and especially especially (is that a thing?) for mamas! I have worked with countless women who struggle relentlessly to implement a self-care routine in their lives, and often it is due to their belief that self-care is selfish and should be last on their list (and who ever actually gets to the end of their “list”). We have demonized self-care as this narcissistic act and a waste of time at best, because it doesn’t feel “productive” to take a 30 minute bath and recharge or to dive into that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for 6 months.
What it actually is…
Let me set the record straight by clarifying, self-care is by far the biggest act of love we can give ourselves, and I would fervently argue that it is also the greatest gift we can give to our kids and partners too. It is fundamental to our overall health and functioning- mentally, emotionally and physically. It is NOT selfish, it is NOT a waste of time and it is absolutely NOT egotistical. Self-care is self-love, and the incredible thing about it is, when we learn to take care of and love ourselves better, we are able to pour out and care for those we love so dearly, better.
Self-care can be anything that helps you recharge and connect with yourself. The cool thing about it is that each of us gets to define what that looks like based on our personal preferences, personalities, and most importantly, the season that we’re in. So, for some moms self-care may be giving yourself permission to take a nap or rest instead of doing that pile of dishes, for other mamas it may be seeking out therapy to deal with your anxiety, or depression that you have been avoiding but battle with daily. Other acts of self-care could also be choosing to go out to dinner with your best friend instead of finishing the mountain of laundry that almost seems to call out our names (how does it even do that? Creepy.).
I cannot express enough how unique and intimate self-care is for each of us. I wish I could promise that this will make motherhood easy and you will float through your toddler’s next level 10 meltdown effortlessly, but you wont. What regular practice of self-care will do, is help you prevent those mama burn outs from happening as frequently, and allow you to feel more emotionally, physically and mentally balanced within yourself and your relationships.
The point is, no matter how you do it, when you do it or what you do, DO IT..…and do it often, mamas.
Happy Self-Caring, mamas!