Dealing with Mommy Burn Out

I've read a lot of blog posts about "homeschooling burnout" or "ministry burnout," but I don't think I've ever read about plain ol' mommy burn out. If you've never experienced mommy burn out before, first stop and thank God. Then know you'll likely experience it at least a few times in your career as wife and mother.

Mommy burnout has it's roots in two areas:

1. Doing stuff not directly related to being a wife and mother, and
2. The daily grind of being a mother and wife.

While the two are often linked, let's look at number one first:

* Begin by cutting ALL unnecessary activities from your life. Unnecessary means it's something your children, husband, or you can live without. This can mean leaving behind (temporarily or permanently) some very good activities, including church ministries, canning, crafts or other hobbies...If any of these things interfere with your ministry as wife and mom, or if any of these things are leading you to burn out, they must go.

* Focus on the basics. Spend time with your children and husband. Enjoy them. Keep the house essentially clean, but don't make it spick and span. Read your Bible. Spend time in prayer.

* If you must do work for pay, try to keep it at a minimum. Reconsider your schedule, too. For example, if you work early in the morning before anyone else is awake, is this exhausting you? Could you try working during nap time (or quiet time) instead? Could you work in small chunks throughout the day, keeping the children occupied with special crafts or games as you work?

* Once you feel recovered, prayerfully consider which activities - if any - should be added back into your life. Always bear in mind that your number one priority as a Proverbs 31 Woman is your husband and children.

If your mommy burn out comes from your job as mom, I still recommend doing all of the above. In addition, however, you may need to:

* Take a mini vacation. Hopefully, there is someone who can watch your children for you, even if only for an afternoon or two. If grandparents or other relatives aren't available, perhaps you can find a reliable teen to watch your kids for a reasonable fee. If not, at least consider hiring a mommy's helper - a tween who is willing to work for very little money and will play with your children while you are in another room. What should you do on your mini vacation? I recommend focusing on God, the Bible, and sleep. But if there are other activities that truly refresh you, you can add them in.

* Pray about finding regular help. I'm not suggesting you hire a nanny, but could your husband help more? Or some other family member? Could your children help themselves more than they currently do? (The latter alone is a huge help to moms and also teaches children some important life skills and attitudes. For ideas, check out "Age Appropriate Chores for Kids.") After praying on this topic, be sure to ask for help. Be careful not to accuse your husband or others of not helping as they should. Simply explain your exhaustion and ask for help. Be as specific as possible about what you'd like done. When speaking to children, it may help to put them in your shoes a little: "How would you feel if everyone in the house made big messes, but only you did any cleaning up?"

* Change the routine. A regular routine is a very helpful thing for children and mommies, but sometimes, routine can feel like a boring, awful rut. When that happens, don't be afraid to mix things up a bit.

* Get more sleep. It does wonders. (Not sure how to do that? Click here.)

* Get out of the house. I'm a homebody and an introvert, but even I need to get out once in a while. So grab the kids - and your hubby, if he's available - and go do something fun. It doesn't have to cost a penny; walk to a park, see the sites around your town, go on a nature trail.

* Keep in mind the big picture. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details, but keep reminding yourself why you're doing this mommy thing - and instead of focusing on your kids "issues" or your own failures, try to see any progress that's been made.

* Pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17). Play Christian music. Watch spiritually based movies. If you have time to read anything other than your Bible, read Christian books. The more you dwell on God, the better.

How do you deal with mommy burn out?

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