Moms are like superheroes. They protect their families 24/7, and they’re always there in a flash when their kids need them. Unfortunately, motherhood doesn’t come with supernatural abilities. No matter how tough and resilient she is, every mom needs support– and probably a break now and then, too! If you know a stressed-out mom who’s starting to experience parenting burnout, it’s time to lend her a hand!
COVID-19 has put a lot of extra pressure on moms in the past year. Temporary school closures and social distancing regulations have made it nearly impossible for parents to take a breather. For working moms, the results have been especially harmful. This article tells us that an overwhelming number of mothers want to leave their jobs due to their employers’ lack of consideration for their increased parenting responsibilities.
Although the COVID-19 situation has improved in many ways since we first entered quarantine, it’s still a long way back to normal. In the meantime, how can you help the struggling moms in your life? First of all, you should check in on them frequently to offer your help and emotional support whenever possible. Second, you should be aware of the warning signs of burnout that can indicate when a mom needs a break for the sake of her mental health!
In this post, we’re going to share some telltale signs of parental stress to look out for, as well as some simple ways that you can encourage your friends with kids to take breaks. If you missed our last blog post, go ahead and check it out here. Then, keep reading to learn more about helping busy moms recover from burnout.
She Often Loses Her Cool Over Small Setbacks
It’s not unnatural to get irritated when things go wrong. Breaking a favorite mug or missing an appointment can be incredibly frustrating! However, when someone is already under a lot of stress, a minor inconvenience could send them over the edge. If you know a mom who’s been having trouble bouncing back from slight complications, it could be a sign that she’s suffering from burnout.
Her Sleep Schedule Is Erratic and Unhealthy
Dealing with stress is exhausting, yet (ironically) it can also keep us awake at night. According to this article, pandemic-related anxiety has caused cases of insomnia to skyrocket throughout the U.S. When you factor in work and parenting responsibilities that make sleeping in an unattainable option, odds are most moms are seriously rest-deprived right now. Irregular bedtimes, frequent caffeine cravings, and mid-afternoon energy crashes are all clues that a parent needs a break!
Her Conversations Are Focused on Negative Topics
Do you know a mom who always seems to be talking about what’s going wrong in her life? If you find these conversations exhausting, imagine how she must feel! Stress and burnout don’t just make you anxious or tired; they can also take a toll on your mental health. When someone you care about starts to express a bleaker outlook than usual, pay attention. This could be a sign that they need support!
She Frequently Loses Patience with Her Kids
Cute as they are, kids can often be both mentally and physically exhausting. It’s sometimes challenging for moms who are already stressed out to respond with patience and empathy when their children are giving them a hard time. According to this article, when parents regularly snap or lose their cool, they might be suffering from burnout and need a break.
She Regularly Tunes Out During Interactions
It can be hard to enjoy taking a break and spending time with others when there are a million things on your mind. If you’re friends with a mom who’s often lost in thought or anxiously checking her phone while you’re talking, it’s not necessarily that she’s disinterested. She might be distracted by the stressors in her life or exhausted by parenting burnout.
She’s Often Sick or In Pain
Burnout doesn’t only affect a person’s mental health. Our bodies also respond negatively to large amounts of stress. As this article informs us, mental and emotional fatigue can manifest in physical pain, a poor immune system, and various other health concerns. When overworked moms complain of frequent aches or cold symptoms, they may need to take a break from parenting responsibilities and get some rest.
She’s Been Having Issues with Her Diet or Digestion
Another way that stress can impact a person’s physical health is through their stomach. This article gives us a few symptoms to look out for. If any of the moms in your life have been overeating junk food, claiming they’re “not hungry” despite barely eating, or experiencing digestive discomfort, they may be suffering from burnout.
She Finds It Difficult to Sit Still or Relax
Do you have a friend who finds it impossible to sit through a movie without checking her phone? Does she frequently interrupt conversations to add notes to her planner? If this friend is a parent, it could be a sign that she’s under a lot of stress! When someone has too much on their plate, they may have trouble relaxing without feeling anxious. This is especially true for moms, who are sometimes made to feel guilty for taking breaks, even when they’re much-needed.
Monday Mornings Fill Her with Dread
Weekends aren’t always restful for moms; sometimes, they end up with even more parenting responsibilities because their kids are at home. This can make it difficult to face a new week come Monday morning. According to this article, Sunday evening is usually when most people start to feel the dread of returning to work creep in. If you know a mom who always seems to feel sad or stressed at the end of a weekend, it could be that she didn’t get enough of a break.
She Has Little to No Free Time
You don’t have to wait until someone starts exhibiting signs of parenting burnout to recognize that they need a break. If the moms you know are always working or taking care of their kids with little time to unwind, they may be under an unsustainable amount of stress without even realizing it.
How Can You Help?
Let’s say you know a few moms who fit the descriptions above. Is there anything you can do to help them prevent or recover from burnout? Actually, when a parent becomes overwhelmed by the stress of their responsibilities, support from friends is indispensable! Below, you’ll find a few excellent suggestions for ways you can give an overworked mom a break.
Take Over for a Day
The best way to make sure a mom is getting occasional breaks from parenting is to help out with some of her child care responsibilities. Whether it’s watching her kids for the day or running errands, offer to lend a hand however you can. That will give her some extra me-time she can use to indulge in some much-needed self-care.
Get Her to Have Some Fun
All parents have a responsibility to be there for their kids. However, moms are usually the ones who are asked to put aside their own needs the most often, as this viral mom demonstrates in a humorous (and accurate) video. Getting a respite from the stress of child care isn’t always enough to recover from parenting burnout. A mother deserves to take breaks for pleasure as well as self-care! Consider taking the moms in your life out for some safe, socially distant fun now and then.
Offer Emotional Support
Even moms who love spending time with their children more than anything else in the world need to talk to a grown-up occasionally. Let your friends with kids know that you’re always there if they want to call and vent about the stressors in their lives or take a break from thinking about parenting!
Let Her Know She’s Doing a Great Job
Moms are often under a lot of pressure to be the perfect parents and role models for their kids. That kind of stress can quickly lead to burnout! Sometimes, a mother needs to hear a few positive affirmations about the fantastic job she’s already doing. If you know a mom who goes above and beyond, take some time to tell her how amazing you think she is!
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Encourage Her to Get Help
As crucial as parenting breaks and emotional support from caring friends can be, stressed moms suffering from burnout sometimes need more than that. If you know someone struggling with their mental health in ways you don’t feel qualified to help with, you may want to encourage them to talk to a counselor or therapist. You can find some excellent online mental health resources in this article.
We hope this post gave you some useful ways to recognize parenting burnout and help stressed moms get the breaks they need. If you’re looking for more tips on how to show your appreciation for the people you care about, you can check out the rest of our blog here. You can also visit our shop to find gorgeous, personalized gifts for everyone you love!