Exhaustion went hand in hand with our college days and even the early parts of our careers when we were just starting out, but it wasn’t until we became mothers that we truly understood the meaning of the term. Sadly, there are whole periods of the early days with our newborn babes that are such a blur that we aren’t really sure what did and didn’t happen during that time and some days, we feel like we’re still playing catchup from sleep deprivation. And as it turns out, care-based professions like doctors, nurses, therapists and first responders are known to be at most risk for burnout — and raising an infant to adulthood is the ultimate care-based job. Add being a working mother in a care-based profession and it’s is the perfect storm for working mom burnout.
The resources of giving and nurturing need to be replenished occasionally. When this does not happen, coping mechanisms to deal with life as a working mom begin to break down. This leads to the burnout of working mothers.
Signs of Working Mom Burnout
Working mom burnout symptoms all spring from the catalyst of exhaustion — extreme fatigue, regardless of how much sleep you get. Once exhaustion sets in, the following symptoms begin to appear:
- Low productivity, lack of motivation, slipping job performance
- Negative attitude toward yourself and others and a loss of enjoyment of any activity
- Sleeping problems that sometimes include teeth grinding
If these signs occur more than occasionally and last for several weeks, you are in mommy burnout stages.
Tips to Overcome Working Mom Burnout
There is working mother burnout help available for you via support groups, family and friends and things you can do for yourself. Consider these tips that have helped other moms overcome burnout:
- Take a break from your children for just five minutes to collect yourself. If you need to call a friend to come pick the kids up for a bit to give you a regeneration break, do it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Multitasking can lead to working mothers feeling significantly overwhelmed. Give it up. Be present in the moment 100% whether you are at the office or with your kids.
- With toddlers, it’s important to create and stick to a daily routine for things to run smoothly. Since toddlers are the number one age group that cause burnout, this is a game changer.
- Stop chasing the dangling carrot that is perfectionism. It doesn’t exist in your professional life, and it doesn’t exist in this journey of motherhood.
- If the source of your stress is a long-term situation, such as health changes or job loss, you will need to make a plan for coping with it.
Tips to Prevent Working Mom Burnout
You can be proactive in preventing burnout. Here are some ways to avoid the exhaustion and misery that can accompany burnout:
- People in your life that are negative or judgmental need to be avoided — or at the very least, have distance placed between you.
- A support system of other working moms can be like a vaccine for burnout.
- Spending time with your significant other can be a boost after a trying day at work or with the kids.
- Over-committing yourself or overscheduling your family is a sure road to burnout.
- Remember to take care of yourself. This isn’t a sprint. It’s a journey, so refuel when you can.
It takes a lot to be a working mom. But, with some self-care and a little practice, you can juggle it all without reaching the tipping point.