I’m ending the third month of my husband working around the clock. It’s something I know a lot of families deal with on a regular basis but not this Momma. I came up with these 8 ways to avoid the Momma burn out. If you lack patience these helpful hints may really help in the long run. I’ve always lacked patience, even more so since I became a mother five years ago. I’ve come a long way with showing it in front of my kids, I may do silly dances and songs when I want to yell to the world that I’m tired and cleaning up the 5th cup of milk of the day was really not what I wanted to be doing come 6:45PM. So yes, I sing in circles in a sing song voice “I love you sweet babies, I love you I love you, but it’s time to get ready for bed!” When in reality I wanted to sing “I’m so damn tired, I want to cry, I want a glass of wiiiiiiine, I want you to clean up that 5th milk spill up yourself!” I started doing this when my daughter spilled her cup of water a few months back and started crying. It was my Ah-Ha moment that I’ve complained one too many times of having to pick up spilt anything. I made my own daughter afraid of me. It was an accident. She’s a child, it happens. Now we sing the clean up song together, I grab the paper towels, and I dance over to her saying “Clean up, Clean up, Momma will help you clean up, it’s OK we all have accidents!” I know what your thinking, I’m a crazy nut that must sing and dance a lot. No, I’m just a Mom trying to figure it all out just like you.
I know what I currently need to work on is not actually getting to the “Burn Out” part. After hours of play time, a walk around the block, some fun crafts, many meltdowns, dinner where the kids make it sound like I’m forcing food down their throat, a battled tub time and a pretty decent bed time over all I walked from our upstairs bedrooms to the kitchen to finish cleaning up and get my own dinner together (yes sometimes I just long to eat alone) I came across cat throw up, dried up melted popsicle (red, oh great the kind that stains), and well lets just say I don’t know what it was. I grabbed the paper towels, disinfectant wipes and got to work. I huffed I puffed, and I fought back the tears. Why? I’m not sure. Life isn’t so bad, it’s a little bit of cat puke it’s not cancer. It’s a little big of scrubbing, in a beautiful home that we are blessed to be able to give our children. I thought long and hard that night. Why am I acting like cleaning up a little bit of cat puke is the end of the world? Easy. Burn Out. I then asked myself when things are going well, I have a lot of time to write, I do what I love, workout, time away from the kids and most importantly some great family time, when I bend over to clean up some spilled yogurt do I act like it’s the end of the world? NO!
How can you prevent the Burn Out though? It’s life, we must work, we must keep up with the day to day. Jeepers last month I signed up for a cooking class to take my son to on the same day as my best friends wedding reception! I try to think of these 8 ways to avoid the Momma burn out. When I try my hardest to follow these tips I notice a huge difference in not only my burn out level but also in with my patience level.
One. Take “Time-Outs”
When my kids are fighting over the same toy for the 18th time that day sometimes I’ll quietly get up and leave the room. I close the door, maybe step outside and breath. It makes a world of a difference to be able to give yourself the “time-out” prior to you stepping in to “solve” the problem when all that is most likely going to happen is I’m going to raise my voice and get angry. Recognizing that I may need a time-out before I loose my patience is HUGE. Those five minutes of breathing and regrouping works a lot. I even try and explain it to my oldest sometimes when she asks where I went when I return. I say “Momma just needed a little time-out.” Yes it sometimes leads to “Well you didn’t do anything wrong.” however explaining to her that I have feelings too and I was about to get really upset with the two of you fighting over that toy so instead of getting angry I took a “time-out.”
Two. Do something for you.
I’m a SAHM so doing something for me a few times a day is a MUST. They are small but it helps. If your a working Momma it’s still vital for you to take care of yourself. A few ideas can be a face mask, painting my nails, even straightening my hair at night so it’s less I have to do the next day. Since I’m home with my kids a lot another thing I do on a regular basis is I take small moments to myself throughout the day. For example, when we are getting ready to go out for a play date, I set them up with yes, breakfast #3 and I head upstairs to wash up and get dressed. Alone. I sometimes set them up with a craft and jump in the shower, or let them watch a tv show and menu plan. Alone. (yes that’s something I enjoy doing). It’s all about balance and giving me some space. My kids are two and a half and five now, accepting that they don’t need me every second was something that came in time for me. Or maybe it was not so much the “accepting that they don’t need me” but more of the “I thought I should be with them 24/7 because that’s what I’m supposed to do.” Oh the Momma Guilt.
Three. Call your other half or Bestie.
Sure you can spare 15 minutes out of your day to step out of the room and regroup with a loved one right? Sometime I even call my mom! Sure you could use 15 whole minutes so scrape the kids off of your leg, put the TV on, lock the fridge (because if you don’t, trust me you will regret it) and call someone to vent to. It helps! If your husband doesn’t answer, just text him the icon symbol of the gun, he’ll call you back!
Four. Make arrangements for a #DateNight.
Has it been months since you and your husband has had more than 15 minutes to talk without the children around? Call up that sitter (beg a neighbor or friend if you don’t have family near by) and GET OUT! If money is tight there are other ways to make the time to connect so you feel normal again. Human even. Makeup! Wow wonder what that feels like. Take a walk around the Mall and grab a cup of coffee. Put the kids to bed and cook dinner together, or in my home you could cook another whole dinner so you can sit down alone and actually catch up and eat something that you know the kids won’t touch with a ten foot pole.
Five. Work Out.
Whether you are a person who exercises on a regular basis or not pop in a DVD or hit demand during nap time. I workout 3-4 times a week during nap time and if I don’t, my days are worse. No one wants to believe the mumbo jumbo they say about the benefits of being active but when you make it a regular part of your routine you’ll feel the difference. In my twenties I had no clue what I was doing at the gym, I fluctuated with my weight (yah between a whole 5 lbs. imagine that!) however I always faithfully went because the feeling you feel about yourself afterwards was always worth it. There is a BONUS too. You actually gain energy, win win.
Six. Go Don’t go to Bed Early.
Sounds silly but fight the heavy eyes and stay up! I use from 7-11 to zone out from my day. Four whole hours of silence and ME! No butt to change, no dishes to wash, no crumbs to clean. Just me, my trashy TV and occasionally a glass of wine (OK a lot of the time). Yes I may fold some laundry and do a little writing here and there but this is the time where I plan our family meals, do birthday party or holiday planning and just take care of the things I enjoy the most about parenting. Your “needy” list may be different than mine and you don’t have to do it every night, but pick one or two nights a week and keep those eyes open! Treat yourself to a pedicure or mud mask.
This one is a constant battle for me. I depend on social media for my job. Learning that balance is the key though. What your balance is vs. what my balance is may be different but try and find it. Here is why. Well you can read more about it in my Hands Free Post, but to give you a shortened version, putting the phone and social media devices away for certain periods of time a day allows you to connect with your kids or family in a way that we often forget to do. I notice that when I put the phone down and jump into the pretend play my five year old is involved in or put the knife down from preparing dinner to start dancing around the room to the song on the radio, allows me to see the smiles on their face which in return makes me feel so much better about life. It’s not just about unplugging from technology it’s about unplugging from life. Fold the laundry later and ask if your child wants to play a game. Watch the way it makes his/her face light up and that feeling a lone will make you forget about the time you lost your patience earlier that day.
8. Take a Walk.
My rule is if it’s at least 50 degrees I go for a walk/jog. I may need to make it 40 degrees now because it’s still sunny and with a hat and gloves you can still get a little exercise in and some deep breaths. Even if it’s just around the block. Usually when my husband gets home and dinner is cleaned up there is a little time before bedtime. During the Summer he would take the kids for a walk to give me a break. Sometimes I chose to poor a glass of wine and take a load off and sometimes I’d choose to leave the phone at home and go with them. It’s amazing what a simple walk can do for you.