After reviewing my resume during a job interview, the interviewer said, “You have been a personal chef, nurse, coach, financial advisor, janitor, photographer, videographer, life coach, counselor, and chauffeur?” And I replied, “Yes, I’m a mother.” That’s not actually true. It’s supposed to be an ironic joke showcasing the multi-faceted roles that mothers take on daily.
When I had my identical twin girls, all of my instincts kicked in and I felt like I was born to be a mother. Now, many years and children later, I wouldn’t mind running away to the beach for a couple days. I call this mom burnout. I have found I can avoid the mental breakdowns (where I hide in my room for the night) through a couple easy tricks.
- Get Dressed! As a stay-at-home mom, I am instantly tending to other people’s needs from the moment I wake up. Changing diapers, making coffee, brushing hair. I roll out of bed and start working. Most times, I would never even get dressed and then a whole day goes by and I’m still in pjs by the time my husband comes home at the end of the day. It is no wonder he thinks I sit on the couch eating chocolate all day – I look like I have! Take time for yourself every morning. I believe my feelings about myself are usually based the amount of effort I put into my appearance in the moring. If I wear a forever lazy all day (I have done this), I will feel like a forever lazy all day.
- 5-minute (or 2 hour) vacations: Taking a break in the middle of my day for myself is refreshing and wonderful. As moms, we spend the whole day taking care of other people and not so much ourselves. Lately, I have found that if I take a couple minutes to catch my breath and consciously enjoy my day, I have more peace. I do this while the baby takes a nap and since my 3-year-old is over naps, she takes a “rest.” I make a cup of tea, leave my phone in house, and sit on my patio. Even just 5 minutes can do wonders for your brain. I make it a point to leave media alone because — inevitably — my phone rings or an important email comes through that I have to attend to. So I take a break and I center myself.
- Get outside: Nothing can get your brain clear like fresh air. Take your kids to the park and talk to other adults. Take a walk around the neighborhood or through the woods. The sun has a direct effect on happiness because it boosts the level of serotonin in our bodies, which is the happy hormone.
- Take a break: Have a girl’s night out or go get a message. It is so good for me to take on a role other than “mom.” It’s nice to be a friend or sister. It recharges our battery and like I always say, it is sometimes fun to talk about something other than Dora once in a while.
- Do something you love: Don’t forget about the girl you were before you were a mom. Did you love to play racquetball? Did you love Jane Austen novels? Did you paint? Keep up your passions.
- Be thankful: Finding things to be thankful for in the midst of chaos changes your outlook. Focus on the positive things rather than the negative and it will change your mind set on everything. It is also attractive to the people around you. Others are drawn to positive people.
- Date night: Keep your spouse a priority and spend time with them. You will probably only talk about the kids but that’s okay. Keep the love flowing, and when you are filled up you can pour love easily on to your kids.
Staying sane in the midst of diapers and untangling knots is not only a benefit to us but also to our families. I have found that a healthy mom is a healthy home.