burn·out  noun

  1. physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.

A long, long time ago, I thought being a mom was all rainbows and happiness. I thought that every moment with my baby would be glorious. I thought frustration and anger would never be part of my relationship with my beautiful, perfect angels.

Then I actually had kids. Three of them, in the course of eight short years. That’s when things got real.

At first, they’re so cute and cuddly, you don’t mind the crying and the sleepless nights. Then you have another one and go through the same feelings. Then, suddenly, you wake up one day, and they all start having their own opinions and attitudes about things – the simple stuff that, at one time, you could just decide and be done with. Like what they want to wear, what they want to eat, what they want to do, etc.

They learn the word “no” and that becomes the only word they use. Gradually, you start to lose your patience and snap at them more often than you want to about really dumb stuff, like being too rowdy or too many shoes piled up in the entryway. You find yourself on edge and impatient more often than not.

Sometimes, I can hardly stand to be in the house with all three of them at the same time. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s the truth. To be fair, it’s not just the kids. It is everything else that goes along with being a mom: work, homework, bills, alone time, life stresses… You get the idea. I’ve got a serious case of “mom burnout.”

Raising kids is, hands down, the most difficult and yet most rewarding job in the entire world, all at the same time. The ups and downs are constant, and the laundry list of responsibilities is endless. You laugh, you cry, you scream, then back to laughing again, over and over, every single day.

Moms rarely have a second to themselves. We’re so busy wearing all the hats of nurturer, helper, playmate, cook, driver, house cleaner, and so on. And we’re expected to do it all in a patient, kind, understanding, helpful, loving way. I’m exhausted just talking about it.

What can we do? How can we prevent this from happening? Honestly, hell if I know. I am so far into this burnout thing, I don’t quite know how to get out. Is there anything we can do to avoid this?

Or maybe it’s inevitable, and every mom reaches this point at one time or another. I don’t have the answers, but I do think there are some things we can do to lessen the effects of “mom burnout.”

1 | Take time to rest

Easier said than done. Trust me, I know. But moms need a break. It’s as simple as that.

2 | Turn off the mom guilt

Or at least attempt to. There are no perfect moms. Pinterest wants you to think there are, but Pinterest lies. I repeat. There are no perfect moms. If you do ever find one, please send her my way. I want to cage her and learn her mysterious ways.

3 | Accept help

If you have someone who’s willing to help, let them. You can’t do it all yourself.

4 | Don’t ignore your feelings

If you’re overwhelmed, something needs to change. Talk to a friend, laugh, step outside, take a break. Whatever. Saying “I’m fine” can only last for so long…until you are no longer “fine.”

5 | Let your kids be kids

They will make a mess. They will throw tantrums. Just accept it. They’re kids, not soldiers.