December 15, 2017

Why Moms Feel So Burnt Out

Why Moms Feel So Burnt Out |

In response to my post on surviving burn-out, several of you so kindly wrote in expressing your concerns and even suggestions for helping me. Among those things mentioned were possible chronic fatigue syndrome, or adrenal issues, and even how to overcome depression.  I think I knew when I said the word “depression” that I was asking for trouble.  And I want to clear both of these areas of concern real quick.  I have neither chronic fatigue syndrome nor clinical depression.  In my video where I shared my heart, I mentioned the word “depression” in response to “my life’s circumstances”.  And let’s be honest.  We can all feel depressed by life’s circumstances without having any sort of chemical issue going on.  Life is just sometimes hard, plain and simple.

There was also one sweet mama who wrote in and said she knew the reason why I’m so tired and that it was because I’m pregnant.  And just to be clear on that one, too – it’s yes and no.  This pregnancy does feel a little different in that I don’t have as much energy, but I think common sense tells me that I’m running a hard race right now and my body is just asking for a little more rest so that it can effectively grow this sweet little person inside.  So is it just the pregnancy?  No.

As a matter of fact, as I mentioned before, burn-out is not a result of just one thing.  It’s almost always, for me, a result of doing a combination of too MANY things at once. It’s not one thing, it’s ALL the things.

Things That Cause Burn-out For Moms

And for the purposes of this post, when I type “burnt out”, you can read the word “tired” if you prefer.

And these, unfortunately friends, I’ve only learned by experience.


I recently read an article from another mom that addresses how moms can feel so tired because they are hyper-vigilant.  Well, amen, sister.  As mothers, our brains almost never shut off.  Our mom radar always on, 24/7, there’s little time to truly be restful, to truly relax.  We hear the baby and we worry.  We don’t hear the baby and we worry.  We worry about carseats, croup, whether or not we should vaccinate, whether or not we made the right decision to send them to school, ebola, whether or not we’re good enough, if they’re getting enough nutrition, why their leg hurts, whether they have dyslexia or not, why they’re sleeping too much, or not sleeping enough, why they fight with their brother so much, if they’ll ever EVER learn to listen to us, that they’ll get in the street and/or the alley while we’re cooking, that we might not be able to pull off dinner, pick up the older kids from practice, AND shuffle the younger one to his practice and then drop off a few more for church service all within an hour!?  Just enough.  Stop.  It’s a lot.  Definitely enough to make a mom tired, burnt out, pick your word.

Level of Intensity

It’s an intense level of living.

I don’t call motherhood a marathon because I think I am. somethin’. else.  I call motherhood a marathon because I know two very important things:

I’m NOT “super mom”.

Motherhood is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  It truly takes a commitment every single day from start to finish. These days add up to weeks which add up to years, and really, if you stick with it, you finish the ultra marathon of having raised champions for Christ.  I know that’s a huge aerial shot, but think about it.  That’s the point of it all.  And these moments all add up to an eventual big picture that is super important.  This is Kingdom work, moms.  And it’s hard work.  It’s intense.

Sometimes the noise is so intense at my house, my brain just wants to run and hide.  Too bad.  There are questions to answer.  Songs to hear.  Jokes to laugh at.  Needs to address.

And those needs.  The work load can feel overwhelming! Spin the hamster wheel a little faster, would ya?  Do you ever think that to yourself as you’re whizzing through the house to go wipe the boy in the bathroom, picking up laundry as you go, while another boy is calling for you to help fix the printer and another is crying because so-n-so just hit them?  Don’t even mention that the heating element just went out on the dryer or that you are behind on a whole list of other chores.  You feel pulled in a million directions.  So, tell me again, why you’re not unpacking those boxes since you moved in two months ago?  Yeah, this is intense.

And the multi-tasking just gets to you.  You start to hear yourself request to not have to multi-task anymore.  Can I just do one thing at a time?  Please?  And really?  This is a pretty smart solution if you stop and think about it.

I mean, but how could you stop and think about it since you’re over-scheduled?  Too many appointments and too many commitments in too little time can surely make a mom tired.  It can surely contribute to her burn-out.

Do we dare mention the strain on a marriage caused when a mother feels burnt out?  This just adds another layer of difficulty to the process of overcoming burn-out.

Lack of Rest

People ask me all the time if I have regular “girls’ night out” with my friends, or if I ever get a chance to relax, and I will say that I do, but it’s a rare occasion.  But let’s be honest.  Whose fault is this?

It’s my own.

God commanded us in His Word to rest.  Do we take a Sabbath each week?  I know I really struggle with this.  Since admitting my burn-out, I’ve begun trying to do better.  We need to sit down and rest.  Truly, we need a Sabbath each week.

And what other ways can moms find rest?  Well I’m figuring that out, but the obvious won’t go away:

  • going to bed on time
  • finding a few quiet minutes in our day to be alone with the Lord (Have you caught on yet that this is critical? And why does it seem to elude us?  I think we all know.)
  • time alone with our husbands (Yes, this is rest.)
  • having fun! (I know.  Stop looking for a time slot for it.  That’s a start.)
  • accepting help when needed

All these things and more contribute to a mom’s burn-out.  I’m going to be focusing on solutions in these areas and will be sharing soon.  But for my next post in this series, be expecting the topic of Burnt-Out Yet Content.  No, it’s not an oxymoron. Think of it like this:  You’re burnt out, but you wouldn’t trade this life with your family for anything in the world!  And that’s the point of this series.  To help us see what’s frustrating us and weighing us down and to help us free ourselves from the idea that we’re slaves to this thing called motherhood.  Because we’re not slaves at all.  Motherhood is a privilege.  A fantastic, beautiful, laborious privilege.

What causes you to feel burnt out as a mom?




  1. Mom of little ones says:

    Wow! You took my life and put it down word for word on this Burn-out blog. I am full time stay-home mom who is on burn-out row. Some days I feel SO torn and defeated and fried and tired and spent and, and, and….
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being a mom & God has truly blessed me with a beautiful life. But I feel I am no longer ME. My title is mom, wife, cook, maid, nurse, teacher, planner, taxi, etc.. I feel like I (and my husband) have forgotten I am a person, outside of those titles, that still needs ME time (something I never truly get to have).
    Anyway – mom burn out is real. And no it’s not depression! It’s pure mental and physical exhaustion.

  2. Katherine says:

    All of what you have mentioned cause burn out for me. It just sometimes seems like it is always something, meaning someone is always needing me and the massive amount of work that does not stop is overwhelming. I think I for some reason think once I get the latest challenges taken care of there is going to be a break, and when there is no break in the constant demands I feel defeated and hopeless. I also know it is my fault for not resting enough and not taking better care of myself some days.

  3. Every. single. post. of yours, inspires me huge!! Love how real you are. And how you handle eveything life throws at you!.. Am waiting already for your next post:).
    I hope you can find moments to take care of beautiful you.. I am pregnant with baby #4 and love my life, but some days I just want to bury myself under my blanket and stay there til this baby is born. lol.

    • Brandy Ferguson says:

      Hi Janice! I understand, but we can’t hide under the blanket. Well, maybe around delivery time….which I’m looking forward to those snuggle days as I know you are too! 😉 Hang in there, mama!

  4. Dear Mommies,
    I have a very active 15 month old baby boy who is my love and life. I’m definitely feeling mommy burnout. I have a full-time job, finishing my bachelor’s, and raising the little stinker with my husband. I’m the only one working at this time which adds some stress, but that will change shortly when my husband goes back to work.
    My question is I would like to have another baby so my boy can grown up with a sibling. When is a good time to try and how do you juggle another baby? This one is tiring me out? Does it get easier??

    • Brandy Ferguson says:

      Honestly, there is no one time better than another. And think of it this way – you get a good nine months to prepare for the next one’s arrival. 🙂

Share Your Thoughts