Cases of burnout in motherhood are becoming more and more common with 12-20% of parents experiencing burnout at some point. With the increased pressures that the COVID-19 global pandemic has put on mothers, especially those now required to do both work and childcare tasks at home there is no doubt that the rate of burnout in parents and mothers is increasing.
Burnout in motherhood is a syndrome that is characterized by:
feeling exhausted and lacking energy
mental and emotional distance from your children, work, and relationships
difficulty performing and engaging in activities related to child rearing tasks, and an aversion to household responsibilities and chores.
At it’s root, burnout in motherhood stems from
a lack of support,
Poor stress management strategies
striving to adhere to societal pressure of being “the perfect mother”
a lack of living in alignment with the vision for your life and a disconnect from your authentic way of mothering.
7 Signs that you are suffering from burnout in motherhood include (these may range from mild to severe, and you may have a few or all of these signs):
You check out and feel as if you are running on autopilot.
You lash out easily at your kids.
You are emotionally withdrawn from your children.
You have strong feelings of shame, loneliness and guilt.
You may feel as though you don't deserve to be a mother.
You have trouble sleeping despite being exhausted at the end of the day.
Physical symptoms such as lack of energy, headaches, frequent colds due to lowered immune response, and frequent aches and pains.
When these signs are present, the chronic stress in your life has reached the point that it is interfering with your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and psychosocial health. At this point just practicing self care is likely not going to help solve the issue.
Burnout in motherhood is not just a self care issue. Burnout in motherhood is an emotional issue and a societal issue.
Burnout is an emotional issue because our past experiences play a huge role in our ability to fully cope and manage stress in the present moment. We tend to brush off or shut down our feelings and emotions in an attempt to hold it together for everyone, and by doing so they become unconsciously stored in the body. We then turn to stress relieving activities that often include addictive behaviors such as drinking, emotional eating, and compulsive shopping. And then the mom guilt sets in...if it hasn’t already by the mere attempt to practice self care.
Burnout is a societal issue because mothers lack adequate social support postpartum (lack of maternity leave and adequate healthcare support two name two big ones…) . The stereotypes of “The Perfect Mother” keep women striving for unrealistic perfection and leave them feeling like a failure. When these stereotypes were created by the patriarchal structures this country was built on. In addition, Social Media’s portrayals of “real” mom’s having it all together is a FAR cry from the TRUE reality of motherhood. (Ahem...again thanks patriarchy)
The decks are stacked against you, Mama. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you are struggling with burnout and want to learn how health coaching can help you get to the other side of the tunnel, schedule a free discovery call with me today. Let’s get you on the path to healing your nervous system and reclaiming your time and energy so you can THRIVE in motherhood.
Roskam, I., Raes, M., & Mikolajczak, M. (2017, January 24). Exhausted Parents: Development and Preliminary Validation of the Parental Burnout Inventory. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00163/full
Hubert, S., & Aujoulat, I. (2018, June 26). Parental Burnout: When Exhausted Mothers Open Up. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6028779/
Sejourne, N., & Sanchez-Rodriguez, R. (n.d.). Maternal burn-out: An exploratory study. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02646838.2018.1437896?scroll=top
Burn-out an "occupational phenomenon": International Classification of Diseases. (n.d.). from https://www.who.int/news/item/28-05-2019-burn-out-an-occupational-phenomenon-international-classification-of-diseases
Depression: What is burnout? (2020, June 18). From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279286