If you read the title Mom Burnout and felt “really is that even a thing for a stay at home mom of just one kid?” all I want to tell you is the next time I bake my ridiculously tasty brownies you will not get any of it. Nope, not even a sniff of it.
I have always been very mindful of how I handle my relationships with my family and friends and I always loved hanging out with my loved ones and close friends. I had time to read, eat, sleep and had a decent work-life balance. The last few years of being a mom have been the best time of my life.
But, truth be told I have never faced these many lows in my life as much as I have in the past few years. Now the last few months, in particular, have been nerve-wracking for us as a family for so many personal reasons and I did not realize how much of my real emotions and feelings I have been bottling up until I had an open mental breakdown in public. I did not even know the term mom burnout until after I started researching what was wrong with me.
The 4:30 am alarm and a sleepy kid who refuses to brush his teeth or eat his breakfast are only 5 percent of our morning drama. Running with uniform behind your naked kid after taking just 1 sip of your extremely cold coffee can make some mombies like me to lose their mind. The real struggle for me was blogging and vlogging after he had gone to school.
I felt there was an invisible countdown happening that he will be back in 4 to 5 hours so you have to get the washing machine going, lunch cooked, clothes folded, exercise for 10 minutes, vacuum and tidy the house, blog, check emails, etc. In the middle of all this, I took up job hunting as my priority. Having a 5-year career break does not always make you the ideal candidate for the corporate positions and that ate up my self -confidence.
I did not really talk about any of this to anyone. When the weekends came and I wanted to sleep in my son still woke up early and it was time to make pancakes and pour orange juice and catch up with his teacher’s emails and school newsletters. I started resenting the fact that my husband could go wherever and sleep in as he pleased but, I could not do any of it as I do not have anyone else to take care of my kid.
During his school day afternoons after his lunch, I and my son regularly went to the mall with his snacks and puzzles where he interacted and played with other kids. The reason for this was so that he did not get sucked up into the world of TV and Youtube. I always wanted him to be physically active and meet other kids. The only downside was his tantrums kept increasing every day and he would outright refuse to obey me.
He started hitting me and rolling on the floor and running away to different elevators and stores and I started dreading the whole process. When mentioned to Mr. husband he asked Shaurya to be a good boy and not to trouble Amma. Do you really think that made a difference? All in all, I felt too tired and way too lonely.
Now the thing is before a burn out happens the signs are everywhere. During my MBA, I have heard about career burnout signs including increased absenteeism, dreading to go for work, not feeling alive, etc. I had my depression come back in full force, I could not sit down and write a blog post as I felt uninspired and also felt there were a million other things to do. I stopped being grateful and I was overall a walking talking ball of negativity. Did I still feel like talking to my loved ones about it? No.
So somewhere last to last week with all my tired angry feelings I called my mom and asked if she could take care of Shaurya for 3 hours as I was feeling a little low. She said she was busy and since my son is a handful I did not overshare with her about my mental health. After an hour I was in the mall with him and his tantrums were on another level. I ran into my friend a working mom who was heading to a movie with her colleagues.
I saw moms of 3 and 4 kids handling their kids with ease and still having their makeup and clothes on point. I called my husband to see when he would join us and he did not answer my call. I have no clue what exactly triggered me but, in front of a Ferrari store where my son was admiring the car, I burst out into tears. I had feelings of wanting to run away. I did not want to be a mom or wife or anything at that moment. I just wanted to be held, hugged and taken care of. I just wanted someone to say you are doing great and now you deserve a break. Needless to say, I attracted a lot of attention and that was another level of embarrassment.
How am I dealing with it?
- I stopped blogging and vlogging for a while
- I did a very long social media detox
- I asked Mr. Husband to take Shaurya out on a dad-son date and I took a nap
- I stopped comparing myself to others
- I cried a lot and felt relieved after that
- I wrote my feelings down in my journal which was very therapeutic
- I communicated regarding my situation to Mr. Husband instead of expecting him to understand eventually
- I started looking at my mom duties and saying I am glad I get to wake my little one up in the morning. I am glad I get to make his nourishing breakfast. Initially, it felt weird but, now my perspective has become so much more positive. I do not say “I have to do this” that often.
- Lastly, I stopped putting too much pressure on myself about blogging, social media, and house chores. And I do not feel guilty on days I cannot take him out to play. Some days I am a super mommy and blogger and some days I am reheating leftovers and waiting for bedtime. It is okay.
I realized I am my priority and I need to be in the right mind frame to be a good mom and also a good content creator.
So this is not a sad story but, this is the story of breaking down and lifting oneself up. I hugged myself with self-love and self-care. I did the detox face mask and warm water foot soak when Shaurya went to school today. Now after I write up this post, I will eat some eggs and do some brain dump and take it slow. It is okay to not be on top of your game on a daily basis. If you are a mom struggling with a similar mental situation please ask for help. Even a nanny (if you can afford) who frees up 3 hours of your time would prove to be great for your sanity.
And despite everything, if you had a meltdown please know that you are human and it is normal to feel overwhelmed at times. Feel it, talk about it, get the help and let the embarrassment go. Love yourself so much that you never compare yourself with others and never judge yourself.
I am ending this post with a quote from the book Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie.
“Rest when you’re tired. Take a break when life stales. Take time to recharge your battery. Energy isn’t something you have—it’s something you are. To give and give and give, to put out without taking in, depletes your battery. It drains you, runs you down.”
I hope me sharing my real life has helped you in some way.