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?