Us mamas have a tendency to give and give and give until we crash and burn. Here are my tips as a mom of four to avoid that awful mom burnout, from simplifying meals, to joining clubs, to knowing your personality, and more!
1. Mindset – Self Care Isn't Selfish
I truly believe we are all meant to take care of ourselves first. It isn't our husband's jobs to make us feel good, we have to be responsible to do that for ourselves first. When our spiritual, emotional, and mental needs are met, we can then turn around and be the best moms and wives we can be!
“You can't pour from an empty cup” really is true! Your needs are the most important needs and come before your kids' needs! It's okay to say no, I can't play right now, I need a break. You are allowed to put off cleaning until the next day because you're exhausted. Or to enlist your family's help in cleaning and picking up. Maybe tell your husband to take over while you take a nap, or go out with your friends, or go get a massage, or take a bath. Don't allow the guilt to creep in while you take care of yourself!
It's a mindset shift from “My family needs me to be there for them whenever they need something,” to “My family needs a content, satisfied and happy mom.” Because you are setting them up for success as adults to teach them how to take care of yourself
I really feel like the woman sets the spiritual and emotional tone of the household, so when our spirits are out of balance, the whole house is thrown off. Taking care of yourself first helps to balance the entire atmosphere in the home.
2. Be Creative with Chores
What is that one thing that you can't stand doing? Your least favorite chore or chores? Find ways to streamline the process, a creative way to do them, or hire them out. Especially if your husband travels or works long hours – it's okay to get extra help!
Hire a Mommy's Helper
Hire a mommy's helper to come over to do your laundry or get dinner started, or play with your kids in the late afternoons so you can cook dinner. Or come in the mornings so you can run errands or get a coffee break! Or invest in a mother's morning out program, or even do day care for a few days a week so you can get a break and run errands.
Listen to Podcasts, Music or YouTube Videos while you do annoying chores
I also listen to inspirational podcasts, audio books, or YouTube videos while I fold clothes so that I end up enjoying the process. I get so lost in what they're saying that I forget that I'm doing something I don't really like! It's gotten to the point where I enjoy going to fold clothes now because I get some time to listen to something uplifting or entertaining and can relax! Such an easy and even free thing to to make my day less stressful.
3. Keep Things Simple
Keep things simple – especially for the things you don't enjoy! so pick the top 1-3 things that drive you bonkers and create a system or keep it simple.
Cook the same dinners over and over again
Being a chef for our families is not a requirement to be a good mom! We have to start there by changing that mindset. My grandmother was an incredible cook and if I try to be like her, I will always fall short because that was her gift and it isn't mine. And that's okay! I have different gifts.
If cooking isn't your thing like it isn't mine, then keep it super simple. I make the same dishes week after week, and my kids don't mind one bit (you know how they like the same things over and over anyway!). My husband and I can get a little bored, but the energy and stress it saves me is worth the boredom to me. But it may not be for you, so find what makes meals easier for you and do that.
The point is that we keep them fed with healthy food, right? Here are some of my regular meals.
- Spaghetti (make a double batch of sauce & freeze it or use it to make other recipes)
- Fish, veggies and rice
- Chicken, veggies and rice
- Hot dogs (all natural beef ones), veggies & fruit
- Roast beef, veggies & pasta or roasted sweet potatoes
- Sautéed balsamic chicken thighs, rice and veggies
- Baked ziti (from the leftover spaghetti sauce)
Other ways to make meals simple
- Make lunch the big meal of the day so that the cooking and cleanup is done during the day when you have more energy, saving the simpler meal for dinnertime
- Order groceries online and pick them up or have them delivered! Walmart and Kroger are now doing this, among other grocery stores. It is a HUGE time saver for me!
- Order meals from a meal planning service! It's like having a personal chef but way cheaper.
Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets
- Small cordless vacuum to keep the kitchen floors clean (this one is my fav)
- InstaPot Pressure Cooker – seriously, this thing is a life saver! Cooks a whole roast until it's tender and falls apart in under one hour!
- Good quality blender – like a Vitamix – I put off buying this for the longest time because of the price tag but once I did get it, I was SOLD. I love making smoothies for my kids so they can get a big helping of fruits and vegetables disguised as a sweet drink! See my favorite recipe here.
- Food Processor – cutting up veggies for dinner can take forever, and with a toddler hanging on your leg, it can take even longer! I highly recommend one of these to cut way down on that chopping time.
I keep my laundry simple by washing 1-2 days a week (though some weeks I may need to add another day). The other 5 days I hardly even go in my laundry room! This helps to avoid washing burnout for me.
4. Know Your Own Personality and Needs
In my opinion, this is the important part! In order for you to thrive as a mom, I believe you truly need to know what you need to thrive in your life and home. You need to know what YOU like, don't like, prefer. What stresses you out, what triggers you, what excites you, makes you feel comfortable, and safe. In my work with women, I've met so many who truly don't know what they want. We can get so focused on raising our children and running the household, that we put our own needs last and then get to a point where we don't even know what our own needs, strengths, and preferences are anymore! This sets up our households to really run from a place of stress and imbalance.
Live Your Truth – a Free Course
Carol Tuttle's Live Your Truth program has been amazingly helpful for me in discovering who I am and what I want. It's allowed me to be able to meet my needs so that I can show up as the best mom I can be for my kids! And the best part is, it's a totally free course! I did upgrade and get her LifeStyle Membership and have found even more help there in her Facebook groups.
For instance, if you're more of an introverted person who needs to recharge at home, work that into your schedule. Make sure you get the downtime you need each day in order to fill your cup.
If you're more of a social, extroverted person like me, join at local Mom's Club, or MOPS group, or bible study – whatever speaks to you so that you can get out of the house and be with other adults.
Work your house schedule, environment, decorations around your own personality so that you can thrive while in the house. This can only be done if you know who you are and what you need!
5. Join a Mom's Club, Book Club, or Bible Study Group
One of my saving graces when I was a new mom was joining my local Mom's Club chapter! They are in cities and towns all over the United States! There are usually several events every week that you can choose from and I ended up meeting some of my best friends there. We would do play dates all of the time, and our kids became best friends, too!
I was new to the area when I was a new mom and joining the club helped me to be able to get out of my house and explore with my new baby. It helped to know what kinds of things there were to do as a family together for when my husband was home on the weekends, too.
Later on, when we moved back home to Georgia, I joined the local Mom's Club there, too, and made more friends and connections right away. I also joined a Bible study for moms that helped me to make friends and have time to really pour into myself and feed my soul.
6. Set a Regular Day of the Month to See Friends
Set a day of the month every month where you get together with your friends for whatever is fun to all of you! Like the first Tuesday night of every month you all go out for Mexican food. That way, when it's predictable and regular, you'll able to plan around it and make sure you have a babysitter if you need one. Otherwise, it'll be another one of those things where you end up filling your calendar and they do their's, and it never happens.
Be intentional about this time – it can be hard to do this because it seems frivolous or not necessary, but it IS. Social time with adults for us mamas who have toddler conversations all day is KEY!
7. Have a Hobby
There is actual research on why hobbies are good for us (read my post on it here)! It's so important for all of us, children and adults alike, to have something in our lives where we can get completely lost in the moment. We can get so busy being busy that we lose sight of relaxation and enjoyment, and that doesn't have to only happen when you're on vacation. You can have a little bit of it all throughout your week!
It can be something as simple as reading to crocheting, playing card or board games, knitting, sewing, crafts, playing a sport, taking ballroom dance classes (like me!), playing an instrument, being part of a choir or theater group – the options are endless! It does not even have to take you away from the home nor does it have to be complicated or expensive – like reading. And even 10-15 minutes a day might be enough to get your fill! So don't overcomplicate it. Pursue what lights you up and fills you with joy and encourage your family to do the same.
If you love to crochet, I happen to have a ton of crochet patterns here on my blog! See them here.