New Mom Burnout.
It’s something that I went through, and it blows. But I wasn’t sure if it was just me.
So I recently asked my friends what they thought it was.
“It’s when you’ve hit the maximum capacity as a human being caring for everyone but yourself.”
She’s lost herself in becoming a mom and she feels like she is constantly on the back burner. She feels like she doesn’t have time for herself/selfcare/hobbies, she can’t disconnect from her role as a mom or the mental load of carrying the family “admin” and all that comes with it.
She’s also working full time on top of that. Usually a top performer at work, but has felt “off her game” since coming back from maternity leave and keeps wondering “What is wrong with me? My brain just isn’t working right anymore!!”
She has so much mom guilt that even if she got a tiny bit of time to herself, she feels like she should be spending it with her kids because “they’re only little for so long” and “babies don’t keep” and “enjoy those times because they go so fast” or whatever other cliche she hears all the time. [It’s like paralysis to do anything she thinks would help make her feel better.]
And finally, she feels like a stranger in her own body. She’s exhausted, feeling flabby and bleh “like I’m not pregnant anymore, now I’m just fat.” Hormonal swings are awful and sometimes even scary (“Who WAS that person???”). She dreads having to look in the mirror, is terrified of having to spend a ton of money on a new wardrobe, and just wants a piece of pre pregnancy clothing to fit and look flattering again.
Any of that sound familiar? I could see myself in all of it. So the good thing is that I wasn’t alone in my experience.
The sad thing is that this is the experience for so many of us. And we are all trying to claw our way out of it. We’re all being told that if we were just a little better at this self care thing, we’d be better everywhere else.
But then comes the weird paralysis to do anything that we think would make us feel better, because of the time it takes away from everything else.
What if I told you that the ultimate form of self care actually doesn’t require an additional second spent? It doesn’t have to be something that is hard or extra.
Our biology requires a certain level of nutrition to function correctly. But we live in a society that is overfed and undernourished. So we go through life in a constant state of too many calories and too few nutrients, setting ourselves up for extra pounds, exhaustion, and overwhelm.
When we take the care to make sure the food we are fueling our days with is packed full of nutrition, we are giving ourselves the ultimate form of self care.
We already have to eat. Food preparation and eating is time that will always be spent. So let’s make sure we choose food that gives us more than it takes.
When we start to focus on nutritious foods, our bodies begin to replenish nutrients that were depleted in pregnancy, breastfeeding, and via the general stress of life. They begin to function better. And with the better function, we begin to be able to show up in the way we want to in life.
Bodies that are nourished can run around after crazy toddlers without feeling slow and winded. Bodies that are nourished can be infinitely more patient with our kids’ emotions, because keeping our own in check isn’t a struggle. Bodies that are nourished can begin to release extra fat stores, because the biological process to burn that off has the right elements to do so.
And none of this has to be hard. Like I said, we have to eat anyway. It’s a myth that nutritious food takes longer to make than pre-packaged crap. You can grab an apple, a cutie, or a banana in the same amount of time it takes to grab a sugary energy bar.
So if you’re there in the trenches of Post Baby Burnout, start with food. It is the fastest way out.