We’ve all been there. Your blood pressure is rising, your head is starting to throb and you’re inwardly crying out to find that elusive pause button on your kids so you can just sit quietly for a while, rubbing your temples. You have just. had. enough.
You’ve hit Mummy Burnout.
Needing to spend a little time and energy on yourself does not make you a bad mum. Caring for children is a full-time vocation and giving fully of yourself day in, day out can be exhausting. I’m sure I’m not the only mama who has reached the end of a hectic day/week/month and thought, “what about me?”
Never forget – YOU MATTER TOO. In order to be the parent your kids deserve, you need to put yourself first every once in a while. So, here is my top 20 ways to avoid (or recover from) the dreaded Mummy Burnout.
1. Paint your nails. Leave the kiddos with daddy or a grandparent, lock yourself away in your bedroom and paint those nails. It sounds silly but it works. While the varnish dries you will be unable to do anything other than carefully flick through a book or magazine – no ninja tidying up when you’re supposed to be chilling!
2. Take a walk. Go by yourself, or if you have a small baby who needs to be with you, pop them into a sling to bring them with you. They’ll likely fall asleep. The fresh air will do you good, as will the serotonin release caused by the exercise. Either enjoy the peace and quiet, or take your iPod and blast your favourite tunes LOUD (probably not a good idea if you have a babe in a back carry, though).
3. Dance. Declare to your children that it’s Music And Movement day in your house, and get the tunes pumping out in your living room. Get your body moving, be silly, have fun. Your kids will love it and their smiles and laughter will remind you of why you had children in the first place.
4. Shop. Yes, I know, I’m a baaaad crunchy mama *slaps wrist * but you know what? A small, well-timed treat for yourself –clothes or craft supplies, make-up or shoes, new or thrift-store bought – can go a long way to boosting your morale.
5. Watch your children sleep. Nothing will lower that blood pressure or be more warm-fuzzy-inducing than watching your gorgeous babies snooze. Trust me.
6. Get your hair done. My favourite treat by far is a short trip to the hairdressers. A whole hour to myself to enjoy a coffee, cookie, trashy magazines and inane conversation with a relative stranger. And you’ll leave with gorgeous hair to boot. Win all round.
7. Have a bath. Complete with big mug of tea, something chocolatey, a trashy magazine and some delicious natural bath products. Bliss.
8. See your friends. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the day-to-day mechanics of life with small children to the point that you neglect your friendships and social life. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to be a social outcast. It’s true! A once-monthly dinner with the girls or Saturday night in your local pub is tonic for the soul.
9. Cook. Baking is theraputic, and you can make some yummy chocolatey goodies ready for #7.
10. Wine. Enough said.
11. Do something fun with the kids. Recharging your batteries and avoiding Mummy Burnout doesn’t necessarily equal a separation from your children. In fact, it’s often more helpful to do something with your kids that allows you to really enjoy them – it will remind you of all of the reasons why you love being a mother. Choose something low-stress, like arts and crafts or gardening. Family movie night is a great way to enjoy the little ones – what could be more fun than popcorn, snuggles on the couch under a blanket and staying up past bedtime?
12. Couple time. If you are part of a couple, set aside some quality time with them. Leave the littles with a sitter and go out for dinner (or lunch, if you aren’t comfortable leaving them at night-time). Allow your other half to treat you, and allow yourself to enjoy it.
13. Write a list… Of all of the things you love about being a mum.
14. Do something creative. Drawing, writing, painting, knitting… whatever gets your creative juices flowing and focuses your mind for a while is a winner. If you are creatively challenged (like me), try something very simple like stringing pretty beads on a thread to make a necklace or bracelet, or even colouring books. I know it sounds silly, but it’s very therapeutic.
15. Have a lazy day. If you’re like me, you probably try to fill your days with as many activities as possible to avoid hanging around the house trying to entertain bored kids. However, you will probably find that your kids will be more chilled out if allowed to just be for a day. You will, too. Put off the housework, take the phone off the hook and spend an entire day relaxing and playing with your littles.
16. Go swimming. Well, any exercise will help you feel better, but swimming is a great choice because floating in the water is so therapeutic.
17. Take time EACH DAY for you. It doesn’t have to be long – 5 minutes in the morning to do your hair or makeup. A steamy 10-minute shower in the evening after the hubby gets home so he can watch the kids. 15 minutes spent sipping a hot coffee and flicking through a magazine whilst the kids are napping. Spending a few minutes in the morning selecting an outfit that makes you feel good about yourself.
18. Be kind to yourself. We all lose our tempers at times, and it’s easy to fall short of those Perfect Mama ideals we all set ourselves. Mainly because it’s impossible to be perfect. Motherhood is stressful sometimes and expressing your feelings (provided it’s not aimed at your kids) is GOOD. And if that frustration does come out in the direction of one of the little ones, apologise and move on.
19. Have sex. It’ll boost your self esteem, fill you with happy-hormones and strengthen your connection with your partner.
20. Remind yourself of this – The days may be long, but the years are short.
I would love to hear what you do to recharge your batteries and centre yourself when you are feeling pushed to the limit. Please comment below!