Mommy burnout is not new. Moms have been burned out for generations. We’ve laughed about tired, harried moms for decades. Comic strips, sitcoms, blogs, Internet memes, and even movies give women the opportunity to bond, through laughter, over the difficulties around the motherhood experience. What has changed in recent years is that with the advent of social media, more research on exhaustion and stress, and an increase in mental health diagnoses, it is not enough to laugh. Sure, all the depictions in popular culture give light to our situation, but as the situation has changed, and become more extreme, the time has come to act. Laughing feels good, but it doesn’t give moms the tools they need to STOP and learn how to feel better. And it is important to stop mommy burnout—for ourselves, our partners, our children, our whole families, and families in the future.
The good news is that we can do something. We can put an end to the sense of isolation and being overwhelmed that we feel, that our mothers felt and their mothers felt before them. The cure to mommy burnout isn’t medication, or even therapy (though, in some instances, therapy can be helpful). The cure, in the most basic sense, is us. We moms must come together. We must understand that we all love our kids. We all want the best for our families. And, to some degree, we are all also suffering. And mostly in silence. So, let’s change this picture. Let’s get talking!!!
In addition to the book club meetings and glasses of wine you feel guilty about grabbing with your gals, pull together a few mommy friends and carve out Mommy Burnout moments where you do something together and just for yourselves. Create monthly Mommy Movement forums to discuss your struggles in motherhood, or grab a few colleagues and open a new dialogue at your workplace around flexible scheduling. Make a pact with other moms in your social circle to be more conscious about your social media posts. Print up “No More Mommy Burnout” and “Let’s Be Mom Friends” T-shirts. Tag your social media with #mommyburnoutmoment (for those “real” family moments when your kids are freaking out or you are looking at a sink full of dishes at 10:00 p.m.), #banbusyasabadgeofhonor, #mommyburnoutmovement, and #buildingmyvillagemommyburnout. Let’s use the technology and social media that can make us feel “less than” to make us feel part of one big mommy army. United, we can make real change.
Reach out to the moms you know and ask them how they are doing, really. Use the tools you’ve learned in this book to ask for help—and do not feel bad about it. Dig deep and find that extra ounce of energy to join your girlfriends for a girls’ night out when you are invited. You’ll come home more energized than when you left, trust me. And make some time for yourself, whether that’s creating an hour every day when you are truly “unplugged,” connecting with an old girlfriend, or being fully present with your kids—because all these things feel good.
I’ve been treating mommy burnout for years, and one thing I know for sure is that it can get better, and even get gone!
#momlife can mean happiness for you, and everyone.
From the book Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children in the Process. Copyright © 2018 by Dr. Sheryl Ziegler. Reprinted by permission of Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.