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17 important habits to help you avoid mom burnout

I know you’re grateful for your family every day. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

17 important habits to help you avoid mom burnout

The babysitter just called out sick and your husband already left for work. It's raining and you left your umbrella in the shopping cart last week and you keep forgetting to get a new one. The baby is crying, your toddler has five shoes (none of them matching, all of them for his left foot) and you forgot to switch the laundry last night so your clothes smell just a tad too mildew-y to wear in public.


And it's only 7:14 a.m.

And while none of these things reach crisis-level per se—you are on the very real verge of mom burnout.

We have all been there.

The truth is that being a mom today is HARD. Many of us live away from family, our schedules are packed full, and truthfully, life can just be overwhelming some days.

It's not that you don't love your family—of course you do. I know you're grateful for them every day. But that doesn't mean it's easy. That tired feeling sits heavy on your bones. And there are many moments when you feel so close to burnout.

But take heart, mama. There are ways to fight it. By being intentional with your efforts, you can find ways to not only survive, but THRIVE.

1. Make sleep a priority

When moms get busy, sleep is usually the first thing to go, either because we're using the time to get stuff done or simply to have a few moments of peace to catch up on Netflix...alone...on the couch (aka in Heaven.) But research proves again and again just how vital sleep is to our well being and overall mood. So go to bed early tonight, mama. Because...science ?.

2. Find your oohhhmm

Whether through yoga, meditation or mindfulness, actively incorporating peaceful practices into your routine will help you feel centered and balanced as you go through the day.

3. Eat well

(Says the mom who ate the crust off her kids' school lunch for breakfast this morning ??.)

It's way easier said that done, but seriously, eating well is so important. Your body is a temple. Treat it as such! A well-fueled body will work better and keep you more energized through your busy, busy day.

4. Call the girls

You know that friend that makes you “ugly laugh?" Like, head back, tears streaming down your face, snorting because you're laughing so hard? (PS: You're actually not ugly when you laugh like that at all, you're adorable.) Call her. Whether it's a phone call, FaceTime or a night out, your girl-tribe will breathe so much life into you.

5. Say no

You wear so many hats and it is utterly exhausting. With every “Will you/could you?" you receive, ask yourself three questions—

Do I need to do this? Do I want to do this? Does this give me energy?

If you can't answer yes to any of those questions, the answer to the request is no. ❌

6. Ask for help

This job is simply too hard to do alone. You are already Super Woman, so go ahead and ask for help when you need it. Hire someone to help with cleaning, if you're able to. Or find a friend to swap childcare hours with—she'll appreciate the idea as much as you do.

7. Connect with nature

Nothing helps you feel grounded like...well...touching the ground! So, go outside and breathe in some fresh, clean air. Take your shoes off and get back to your roots. Whether it's a hike in the woods, a trip to the beach, or a simple walk around the block—being outside can be incredibly therapeutic ?.

8. Trust your intuition when you make decisions

Our days are full of decision making. From deciding if your kid can wear his Batman costume to school (again) and figuring out what's for dinner, to deciding how you want your career to look now that you're a mom—you are CONSTANTLY making calls (for yourself and for other people.) And it's tiring! Decision fatigue is a very real thing. Try not to agonize over every single choice you have to make. It's never going to be perfect. Let your intuition be your guiding light—it won't steer you wrong.

9. Schedule a date night

Let's face it—piles of dirty laundry, Cheerios sprinkled on the floor and Daniel Tiger do not set the scene for romance. But staying connected to your partner is very necessary. Your dates don't have to be fancy—sipping a glass of wine and sitting together on the front step is more than enough!

10. Move your body

Do whatever you love to do you get your blood pumping—go for a run, dance, swim, find a rock climbing wall...whatever floats your boat! Exercising will help fight fatigue and gives you more energy. ?

11. Treat yourself

When was the last time you bought yourself something? (No, paper towels at Target doesn't count.) While spending money isn't always an option, consider treating yourself to something occasionally—even if it's very small. A delicious piece of chocolate, a new book, a manicure...you SO deserve it.

12. Do something “unproductive"

Not everything in your day has to be something from your to-do list. It's OK (and actually encouraged) for to you do something just because it's fun. Spending time unwinding will allow you to feel more energized when you are tackling that to-do list, which will in turn help you knock those tasks out faster—and for that reason, the “unproductive" things may actually be way more “productive" than you think!

13. Make a list

I am one those “I have lists of my lists" people. And while that's probably a little too much, I have learned that lists really help me. (And with the help of my good friend Pinterest, I am getting into bullet journaling.) Lists help me remember stuff of course, but they also help me to clear my mind and stay calm—once I write something down, I can get it out of my brain until I am ready to turn my attention back to it. ✍️

Every morning, I decide what the top three things I want to do that day are. I'll often say, “What three things will feel the best to cross off my list?" It helps me to feel more in control of my day, and less intimidated by how daunting it all seems. And on a related note...

14. Focus on what you do accomplish

Our to-do lists are never ending and it's so easy to feel overwhelmed by all the stuff we didn't get to do. But every evening try to take a few moments to reflect on what you did do. You'll amaze yourself with how much you actually rock it each and every day ?.

15. Set up a system of sharing responsibilities

The mental load of motherhood is the REAL DEAL. Our brains are constantly swirling with ALL THE THINGS which quickly translates to burnout. But it doesn't have to be like that. Your partner wants to help you—sometimes they just don't know how. Set up a shared Google Calendar or iCal, so you can BOTH see what's going on for the week. Divide up household responsibilities in a way the feels fair to both of you.

16. Schedule you-time

Sure, having “me time" sounds wonderful, but how can you actually do it? So often we push ourselves to the bottom of the list, and before we know it another day has gone by with no time for you. I URGE you to prioritize yourself, and stick to it. Physically write some you-time into your schedule for the day (with a pen, not a pencil) and follow through, guilt-free—because happier moms make happier kids. ?

17. See a therapist

Therapists are amazing. They are impartial, easy to talk to people who can help you sort through the stresses of life and give you tools to cope with them. And you don't have to wait until you have a “real problem" before seeking out their help. We check in every year with our doctor and dentist, but what about spending time on our mental and emotional health? What if once a month you made an appointment with a therapist to just help clear your mind and refocus on what's important to you? How much better would we all feel?

You've got this, mama. Promise.

As much as I love fall, it always feels like the season when my family's routine gets kicked into overdrive. With our oldest in (homeschool) kindergarten, my youngest on the brink of entering her twos, work, housework and *all the things* filling my day, it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. Did I mention we're still in a pandemic? (Yeah, it's a lot.) And while I try to take a positive view as much as I can, now more than ever I definitely jump at the chance to take anything off my busy plate.

One thing first in line at the chopping block? Cooking. To be fair, I like cooking. I cooked most of our meals long before I had ever even heard of social distancing. But there's something about the pandemic that suddenly made cooking every single meal feel exponentially more draining.

Enter Daily Harvest. They deliver nourishing, delicious food right to your door. Daily Harvest's mix of smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, snacks and more provide a balanced, whole food options that are as satisfying as they are nutritious. But my favorite part? When we're ready to eat, I simply pull the food from the freezer and it's ready in minutes—without any chopping, measuring or searching for a recipe. Even better, they're incredibly tasty, meaning I'm not struggling to get my girls to dig in. Not cooking has never felt so good.

Here are my 8 favorite products that are helping to lighten my load right now:

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

One thing that actually helps break up the monotony of quarantine? Trying and introducing new ingredients to my family. I love this overnight oat bowl (add milk the night before and let it set in your fridge overnight—easy-peasy!) because not only does it not compromise on nutrition, but it also helps me bring new whole fruits, vegetables and superfoods to the table with ease.

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

I kid you not, these taste exactly like a mint chocolate chip milkshake. (Just ask my 4-year-old, who is constantly stealing sips from my glass.) What she doesn't know? She's actually getting organic banana, spinach and chlorella with every sip. #momwin

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Our family's eating habits have been leaning more plant-forward this year, which often means a lot of veggie washing, peeling and chopping every time I cook. That's why these flatbreads are my new best friend come lunchtime. This Kabocha + Sage Flatbread is made with a gluten-free cauliflower crust topped with kabocha squash, fennel and sage for a taste of fall in every bite. (Missing the cheese? You can add it before baking for more of a pizza feel.)

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

There's something about the combination of sweet potato crust topped with red cabbage, organic greens and an herby-cilantro sauce that is so delicious… like surprisingly delicious. I polished off this bad boy in seconds! And unlike other "veggie" crusts I've tried, these are actually clean (AKA no fillers, preservations, partially-hydrogenated oil or artificial anything). Plus, it couldn't be easier to throw in the oven between conference calls and homeschool lessons.

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Any time I get to serve a breakfast that tastes like chocolate, it's a good day. (That goes double when it's *my* breakfast.) This rich, chocolatey smoothie is packed with organic zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds and pea protein for a nourishing mix of healthy fats and muscle-building protein so I can carry that baby all day long. And did I mention the chocolate?

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Maybe it's just me, but after a long week of cooking, the last thing I want to do on Saturday morning is...wake up and cook. That's why these one-step breakfasts are saving my weekend. I simply add our favorite milk the night before and store the bowl in the fridge overnight. Come morning, I have a nutritious chia bowl that powers me through even the busiest day of errands. It's also Instagram-ready, which makes me feel like I'm out brunching (even if I can't remember the last time I was in a restaurant).

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

My kids have turned into snack monsters during quarantine, and I'm often struggling to find a wholesome option (that doesn't require a lot of extra cooking or else I resort to something ultra-refined and shelf-stable). These bites are the hero I never knew I needed. For one, they taste like cookie dough, but they're actually packed with chickpeas, pumpkin, dates and flax seed (among other whole ingredients). But unlike actual cookie dough, I don't have to go anywhere near my mixer to whip them up—all I have to do is pull the container out of the freezer, let them defrost a bit and we can all enjoy a treat.

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Sometimes I have a little more time to cook, but I still want a quick, stress-free solution. (Especially because it always feels like I just cleaned up from the last meal.) I love these Harvest Bowls because they warm up in under five minutes on the stove top (or microwave!) but pack tons of flavor. The Cauliflower Rice + Pesto bowl is one of my favorites, with basil, olive oil and nutritional yeast for a hearty dish reminiscent of a mouth-watering Italian meal. When I'm feeling extra fancy, I add leftover grilled chicken or a fried egg.

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Who doesn't want to end the day with a little something sweet? This creamy and decadent frozen treat from Daily Harvest is swirled with sweet berries and tropical dragonfruit for an antioxidant burst you'll feel good about—but that your kiddos will just think is ice cream. Go ahead, take credit for being the best mom ever.

Want to try it yourself? You can get $25 off your first box of Daily Harvest with code MOTHERLY.

This article was sponsored by Daily Harvest. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas

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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.

$79

Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.

$30

Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.

$32

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.

$37

The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!

$1295

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.

$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

$259.00

Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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