Mama, I hear you. You’re overworked and overwhelmed. You’re borderline depressed, and the mom’s guilt won’t leave your side. You are exhausted; you are stressed and burned out.
And you know you’re not alone when you stop for a second to talk to a friend, and all you talk about is how hard your days are.
Juggling homemaking, work, and motherhood is not an easy thing to do. It never was, and it never will. It’s an everyday battle to handle work, kids, homework, activities, finances, housework, health, etc. The list goes on and on.
- Why Am I Exhausted?
- The Exhausted Mom of One
- The Overscheduled Mom
- The Overworked Working-Mom
- The Overwhelmed Homemaker
- Hitting the Breaking Point
- 5 Things You Can Do to Avoid Mom Burnout
- Start Now
Why Am I Exhausted?
I work from home, I have a very flexible schedule, and I only have one (yes, you read that right!) I only have 1 child, and yes, I am burned-out.
You see, I am tired of hearing others telling me: ‘Imagine if you had more kids. You have no idea how hard it is. But, I never said that your days are easier than mine! I would never remotely think that your life is any easier than mine. I am just saying I am tired.
Just because I only have one child, doesn’t mean that I have it easy. I get the same 24-hour day, often full of work and commitments, errands to run, homework to revise, and laundry to wash.
Everyone’s life is hectic in its own particular way, and I would like to share a few reasons why I am too an exhausted mom. I am an exhausted, overtired, overwhelmed, and overworked mom of 1. No shame.
The Exhausted Mom of One
Having an only child is awesome. It’s awesome when we travel, when I run errands, when I do laundry, when I pick up toys, when it’s time to do homework… And I know it’s so much easy on your budget!
Having an only child sucks when he says he’s bored, he’s lonely, he wishes he had a brother, he wants to play with a friend, he wants to play hide and seek, he wants to go swimming, he wants to play soccer outside and no friends are around. It sucks when you go to a restaurant and see a big family of 4 or 5… It really hurts.
As the mother of an only child, I have to entertain and tend to my son often. If he had a sibling sitting next to him, someone to play with, someone to talk to, someone to pick on, I would probably have more peace of mind.
Peace of mind not because he is a nuisance, but because when I can’t tend to him, I feel guilty, wishing he didn’t have to sit alone staring at his iPad or talking to himself while building train tracks. Wishing that he could interact with another kid instead of always interact with me.
I am all he has during the day, his one and only friend behind closed doors. Having an only child has given me a lot of mom guilt and a big load on my shoulders—something no one could ever understand unless they’re in the same situation.
The Overscheduled Mom
When it comes to school, we seem to have a good homework routine. But, now that he’s in 3rd grade, the responsibilities and pressure are building up.
Between homework that seems never-ending, the school pressures to complete certain hours of reading and iReady (iReady anyone?), karate practice, after school ‘Mind Games’, Fortnite obsession, and the very much needed outdoor playtime…we don’t have one second in our days to take a breather.
We are exhausted and tired. I am overbooked and overwhelmed, and I feel like I am always yelling the words: hurry up!. If anyone can relate, please comment.
The Overworked Working-Mom
Working from home is not an easy feat. Any stay-at-home working mom will tell you the same thing. Managing time when working from home is very difficult. The bell rings, the washer cycle ends, the shoes in the hallway are begging to be picked up, every single task sidetracks you, and by the end of the day, not much work (the kind of work you actually get paid for!) gets done.
When it comes to working from home, I work for 3 businesses. Three!
A construction company’s family business entails keeping up with the website, emails, marketing, and bookkeeping. I am the CEO and the CMO of our small business. But my husband is my boss. Need to say more?
Running this blog is a business giant on
Since 2011 I have been running and upkeeping an Etsy shop. Responding to messages and custom requests, buying and keeping track of material, processing, and shipping. It’s a lot to take when things get busy. I have been slowly letting it die out because, honestly, I am running out of time and patience to create handmade goods.
The Overwhelmed Homemaker
Last but not least, I am a housewife and a homemaker. Do I really have to tell you what it takes to run a home and a family?.
Running a household is overwhelming and exhausting. Planning meals, running errands, grocery shopping, house cleaning, doing laundry, picking up clutter (agh, the clutter!), sorting mail, preparing dinners, paying bills, chauffeuring, etc.
All of that, plus following up with everything else life throws at you: frozen AC units and a broken washer or dryer (we had 4 broken machines in 4 years). Call the exterminator because of an ant trail in the kitchen, and knock down the kitchen wall because of a mysterious water leak.
And let’s not forget the family, neighbors, and friends that always seem to need something from you at the most convenient time…for them!
How about keeping track of every single paper that comes home from school with a date and an activity that we must keep in mind? Donate a dollar to the PTA, and you can come to school wearing pajamas next Friday. Wear red on Monday to raise awareness for something, wear wacky socks on Tuesday, and crazy hair on Wednesday because we like to make your life more stressed and miserable!
Hitting the Breaking Point
As a mom, you don’t want to fail. I certainly don’t want to fail. I feel awful when I drop my son off at school and every teacher, and almost every kid, is wearing the red shirt, and there goes my son with a white shirt! Ugh…It eats my insides. Mom guilt at its finest!
We want to have it all under control, but the truth is, we can not. There is no possible way we can have it all figured out. Something’s gotta give or anxiety, mom-guilt, and depression will take over our lives. We will soon have a nervous breakdown.
Oh, wait, I had a nervous breakdown, which resulted in a brand new iPhone X the next day. You can figure out the rest.
This past week I hit my breaking point, and I had to step back and say: that’s it. I cried my eyes out and realized that this is all on me. As in, I am the only one to blame for this burnout. I am overworked and exhausted because I make it this way.
5 Things You Can Do to Avoid Mom Burnout
If you feel overworked, it’s time to step back and look at the things that are making you exhausted and miserable. Here are 5 things you can start doing now to beat the mom’s guilt and stop the overwhelm.
1. Admit That You’re Exhausted
The first thing you have to do is to admit that you are exhausted. You are over-scheduled, overworked, and overwhelmed. If you constantly forget appointments, rush through the door, yell at your children, and in a plain bad mood, you are overworked.
Another flag is getting sick often. Our bodies take a toll from stress, overthinking, and probably not having the best eating habits. I personally suffer from migraines, and lately, I’ve been having PMS symptoms throughout the month. Yikes!
Last week, I had PMS, which entails many cramping and migraines and a head cold that knocked me out. I felt in the most terrible shape of my life. I knew I was hitting my breaking point because my body was giving out.
2. Give Yourself Grace
Sometimes we can’t, we forget, we mess up… and it’s OK!.
Giving ourselves Grace means accepting our mistakes and failures without letting them define us, or our day, our month, or our life. It means that no mom’s mistake is fatal.
Just like me forgetting to put the red shirt on my son that morning. I felt bad, yes, but just for a minute or two. I didn’t let it determine the course of my day.
Practicing self-grace each day gives you the boost and the hope that no mom is perfect and that you can always try again tomorrow.
3. Practice Self-Care
It’s not cliché, it’s a real thing. Moms need me-time. Everyone needs some me-time.
Taking an hour a day for ourselves, out of the 16, we are awake tending to everyone, and everything is necessary for our physical and mental health. We need downtime to clear our minds, be alone with our thoughts, and reflect on what matters.
Self-care brings perspective into our lives.
Last year, and most of this year, I was religiously dedicating one hour of my day to self-care. My self-care routine involved whether an hour of exercise, yoga or my favorite: a 3-mile sprint walk that included prayer and meditation.
I fell off the wagon 4 months ago when I took on a couple of blog and business commitments. I honestly feel that part of my anxiety and borderline depression is the lack of fresh air, meditation, and exercise.
Self-care could also mean putting your phone down at night (there’s your free hour) and following a healthy bedtime routine. I like to do some things during my ‘down/me time,’ including diffusing essential oils in my bedroom while reading a book, taking care of my skin, practicing yoga, or reading the Bible.
4. It’s OK to Say No
Sometimes it’s OK to say no. Say no to favors, say no to parties, say no to invitations, say no to commitments. Your calendar must have some buffer time, downtime, unscheduled time. We all need that!
Its OK to say no to:
- Favors to family and friends that will sidetrack you and make you lose your focus on what’s important and what matters most to you in a given moment or day.
- New commitments when there’s no more room in your calendar.
- One of the two parties your friends decided to schedule on the same Saturday of the month.
- Playdates, which sounds very selfish coming from a mom of an only child. But, I advocate for sometimes denying your children these things so they learn to enjoy the here and now.
Don’t get me wrong, I will schedule playdates if the timing is appropriate, but I never overbook or over-plan activities to fill my calendar and keep my son busy. Children need downtime too.
To stop overscheduling yourself, you must let go of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I am proud to say I have never suffered from FOMO. And I want my son to grow up without FOMO. I don’t want him to live his life thinking that everyone else is having more fun than him because that’s not life.
Life is what we make of what we have here and now. Bloom where you are.
5. Stop Micromanaging
This one is a pill that is very hard to swallow, especially for me. But to avoid overwhelm, we must stop micromanaging. Micromanaging means managing everything down to the littlest detail.
Yup. It’s hard to tell an engineer (with a gridded mind), blogger of all things neat and organized, to stop micromanaging. I was born this way. I can not let the littlest detail fall through the cracks, or things might go wrong or fail. Or so I think…
Last week, on Halloween, my son asked me what pair of shoes he should wear with his costume. This might sound like a simple question to you, but I knew what he meant by it.
The rule of thumb is, he can’t wear his ‘school shoes’ to play outside, in the dirt, by the lake, or to play soccer. Instead, he can wear an old pair of shoes suited to play outside. But, he knew that those weren’t appropriate for going trick or treating so he couldn’t make a decision himself.
By micromanaging down to what shoes he should wear for certain occasions, I’ve put more pressure and responsibilities on me. Because he couldn’t make that decision himself. And for the first time in a long time, I said: school shoes are fine. I didn’t care if at the end of the night he would end up playing in the dirt.
This instance might mean nothing to you, but it meant a lot to me. Because last week, at that point, I was in the ‘I don’t give a hoot’ mood. And it was liberating!
In other words, pick your battles. Some things are not worth the fight, and the aggravation. Micromanaging is lethal! Micromanaging is taking away my joy, and I want you to take my word for it.
I am not gonna tell you that I kicked overwhelm and mom burnout to the curb in a week. Perhaps writing this post was a little hasty of me. But, I do know that just by acknowledging that I am overwhelmed, overworked and overbooked, I feel much lighter.
You know what they say: the first step to solving your problem is to accept that there is a problem. By admitting my exhaustion, and that something has to give, I am giving myself enough Grace to go on without shame or mom guilt.
And I encourage you to do the same. You got this, mama!