Being a mother is amazing—but if it's your whole life, it could lead to some serious mom burnout.
Workaholics spend most of their time dedicated to or thinking about their jobs because they crave success, enjoy their roles and are attached to the idea of a fulfilling career. But motherhood is a job all on its own—and moms can do the same thing with their families. As a mom, sometimes you can get so involved with parenting responsibilities, playdates, bedtimes, and balanced meals that you forget to make time for something equally as important: Yourself. If this sounds like you, think about your mindset and ask yourself—are you a momaholic?
If you don't spend time on any hobbies besides packing lunches, can't remember the last time you had a girls night, and consider a few minutes of alone time on par with a tropical vacation, you deserve a little more balance in your life. But how? Making more time for yourself doesn't mean neglecting your family—it means recognizing that as a mom, you matter too.
Here are some telltale signs you might be a momaholic, and how to prioritize yourself along with your little ones.
1. Your stress increases without your kids
Being a mom means the world to you, but let's be honest—it's also stressful. But when your kids are away at summer camp or sleeping over at a friend's house, does that stress increase instead of deflating? You may feel directionless without your kid-centric regular schedule of driving them around, helping them with homework, or getting them ready for bed.Intense stress or anxiety when your kids are gone is one of the classic mom burnout signs. It means you rarely get time for yourself because you're not sure how to handle not being in mom-mode. The next time you feel that way, take a breath, tell yourself you deserve a break and consider indulging in a little self care, like a hobby, some time out with friends or a relaxing movie night with your partner.
2. You can’t think of any hobbies
It's basically impossible to sit down and paint or spend an hour meditating in a garden when your kids need constant love, support and supervision. But in the whirlwind rush of being a mom, you may have let your hobbies fall to the wayside, and in doing so left yourself behind. What did you do for yourself before you had kids, and what were your biggest interests outside of your family?Think about what makes you feel most like yourself and try a few new hobbies—or revive a few old ones—whenever you get a moment on your own. Better yet, schedule time in your routine for your own hobbies. After your kids go to bed or while they're working on homework, try a new recipe, write a poem, or complete an online language lesson. Make sure you're choosing something that makes you feel relaxed, engaged, and fulfilled rather than something that puts more stress on your plate.
3. You haven’t tried self care habits
Self care might feel like a fantasy when child care is at the forefront of your mind. But even when you're busy, it's crucial to carve a few minutes out of your day to take care of your mental health. Self care is different than a hobby, it's investing in yourself, which could be as simple as taking a bubble bath or as ambitious as starting a blog. If you look at self-care as little windows of time you incorporate into each day, you can start supporting your goals with new habits built into your schedule.
Everyone has a different version of self care because it's tailored to what helps you relax or rejuvenate. That might mean sipping your morning coffee outside in the morning or renting a from the library for an evening read. Whatever you decide to try, don't feel guilty for caring for and investing in yourself. Make the most of those moments. You'll feel revitalized and more in tune with yourself when it's time to get back to your mom to-do list.
4. You micromanage your family members
This is something so many relate to, but you know you're a momaholic if your schedule plans everything down to the minute. It's comforting to always be one step ahead, know where everyone is, help your kids stay on top of assignments and activities and keep up with everyone's lives and schedules, but free time is great for your family, too. Give your family some time for unscheduled activity. Let them explore their creativity, play, relax, and spend time alone sometimes.Even though your intentions are nothing but loving, micromanaging can also make kids feel like their parents don't have confidence in them if you try to exert too much control. Give your kids the chance to develop self-confidence by stepping back and letting them control different parts of their day. Everyone's mental health will improve when your schedule becomes more flexible—including yours.
5. You’re always in kid mode
While you're chatting with friends, working or spending time alone, does your mind drift to your daughter's outfit for tomorrow, your son's math test or what you're making for dinner tonight? Being in kid mode keeps you focused during hectic days, but not being able to escape that mindset might mean you're overextending yourself as a mom.
Practice mindfulness to stay present when you're not participating in child-centric activities. Remind yourself to be in the moment, appreciate and focus on whatever you're doing, and leave upcoming responsibilities for later. You'll relax and get a crucial mental break because your mind will become more able to unplug from your responsibilities while your children nap, go to school, or head to bed.
6. You never enjoy adults-only plans
Your friend might call to set up a coffee date, or maybe your partner wants to go out for dinner alone. You'd love to do both activities, but they don't involve bringing your kids. If you're always turning down adults-only plans, start prioritizing them. It's not wrong to spend time with other grown-ups. You'll get to vent about your stressors, kick back and have some fun.
Even if these moments only happen once a week, you won't feel alone or isolated within your anxiety—you'll have more time to tend to your own needs as a thinking, feeling human who's more than a mom. Plus, asking someone to watch your kids for a night can help lighten your burden and loosen your need for control.
7. You’ve started forgetting things
Raising kids is stressful, and that stress has a direct effect on your mind. If you struggle to remember where you put your car keys and find your phone in strange places (we all do it!) you might have brain fog.Brain fog is a symptom of chronic stress and occurs alongside other symptoms like high blood pressure, depression and a weak immune system. Even though everyone jokes about being forgetful or "a mess," foggy memory is no joke. It's a significant warning sign that you need to make more time for yourself and prioritize both your mental and physical health by taking breaks.
8. You never feel wide awake
Babies keep you up during the night by crying intermittently, and older kids can wake you up because they had nightmares or sneak downstairs to watch TV. You often think you're adjusted to this on-again, off-again sleep schedule, or you tell yourself you'll feel awake after a second cup of coffee or another attempt at a full night's sleep. The constant exhaustion never seems to go away because it's one of the many mom burnout signs.
Even though you might not get ten straight hours of sleep anytime soon, self care habits and relaxing your schedule are a few simple ways to learn how to make more time for yourself as a mom without disrupting your family's lifestyle. Plus, making more time for relaxation during the day can help your mind wind down at night and prepare for sleep more quickly.
Moms need self care too
Sound familiar? These are a few signs you're doing too much as a mom. They might feel inevitable, but you can make a few simple changes to help you find more balance. Try new habits that help you relax, build them into your schedule and prioritize your mental health at least once a day. Taking a little time for yourself can help you remember to cultivate your personal identity, contribute to a more well-rounded, less draining lifestyle, and make you even more present as a mom. You deserve it.
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