Work at home mom burnout is happening more due to changes in how we work because of Covid-19. Due to social distancing, we can no longer travel to work each day.
Now, mom’s are working from home in a non-distraction free home environment with no breaks between taking care of their child and work responsibilities.
If you’re now working from home, you’re probably stressed more days than not. I hear you mama and you’re not alone!
While it’s frustrating, I promise you can change things around in your home and work schedule to avoid work at home mom burnout!
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How to tell if you’re experiencing work at home mom burnout
Work at home mom burnout is a simple combination: Increased stressed mixed with increased responsibility with work, home, and child care tasks. It can be really hard at times to find 10 minutes of self-care time let alone an hour block of time to answer and respond to emails for work!
I completely understand! With two small children (one with autism) it’s a struggle to set aside time to complete anything.
Some days I’m on fire and can knock out a 2,000-word article, format, and create pins for it. Other days, I only manage to answer emails and run a quick vacuum. It all depends on your children and basically what they will allow you time to do!
While stressful days at home come and go, when you experience consistent high stress over a long period of time, the stress then becomes burnout. But what’s the difference between typical stress and burnout?
Symptoms of burnout:
-Feelings of detachment (or ‘numbness’)
-Troubles concentrating (even without the distraction of children)
-Loss of creative ideas
-Negative attitude about work
-Irritability or frustration
-Body aches and pains (unexplained)
-Gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhea or constipation being the most common if it’s unexplained)
-Loss of motivation to complete work tasks
Do any of these sound familiar?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! CNBC reported in December 2020 that 9.8 MILLION mothers suffer from burnout due to lack of child-care options and working from home because of the pandemic.
On top of this staggering number, mothers are 28% more likely to experience burnout compared to fathers. The same report also highlighted mothers of Black, Latino, or Asian descent are at an increased risk for experiencing burnout.
You may have noticed from the list of burnout symptoms above that burnout is a combination of both physical and psychological symptoms. So if you’re experiencing an increase in stomach issues and aches and pains, it might not be all in your head!
Take your symptoms seriously! Don’t ignore how you’re feeling and continue to push through. You deserve to not feel the negative effects of mom burnout.
While it may not solve every stress you have with working from home, there are some small adjustments you can make to your daily schedule to help prevent and relieve burnout symptoms!
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Here’s how you can avoid work at home mom burnout!
Make a to-do list every morning
Make breakfast for the kids and grab yourself a cup of coffee. While the kids are eating breakfast sit down with pen and paper and make a list of everything you need to do for the day.
Although it may be a long list and seem overwhelming, this to-do list is crucial for you to organize your and your children’s day.
Include not only work tasks but things you need done around the house and activities for your children.
Write down household chores like dishwashing, laundry, bathing your kids, creating a grocery list… Anything and everything you feel you need to get done for the day and prevent mom burnout!
Here’s an example of my own to-do list:
-Unload and load the dishwasher
-Check and respond to emails
-Create 10 new pin designs for Pinterest
-Start writing a new article
-Sensory activity with the boys
-Create a pillow fort
The best tip I can give you for creating a to-do list is to not order the list!
It may seem more productive to complete an ordered list. However, I’ve found things around my home change quickly with kids and I only feel guilty if I don’t complete the list.
Instead, I’ve found it’s more productive to pick a task and complete it when my kids will allow it. If you have only 10 minutes to spare, then unload the dishwasher. You get the picture!
Create coordinated planned activities for your children
You have an important deadline coming up on a project that cannot be ignored any longer. You’re working throughout the day, but you’re being constantly interrupted by your kids for the 10th snack of the day or they are just bored.
I’ve been there too! That’s where pre-planned activities come in handy.
Think of activities that are both fun and independent so your child can do the activity without assistance from you.
Some simple and independent kids activities include:
-Building a pillow fort
-Sensory bins (skip sensory beads, moon sand, or rice if your children are young and still like to throw it everywhere)
-Indoor small trampoline
-Indoor plastic slide
-Play kitchen with plastic food
-Create an indoor obstacle course
These are just some of the activities I have my boys do when they are bored and I need a little time to complete some work.
Rely on other family members
Sometimes we as mothers take on too much. We simply have too much stress on our shoulders. Many mothers like myself feel it’s their responsibility to take on every task with children and the home.
But if you’re married, responsibilities should be split 50/50 with your spouse.
Having an extra hand to help you with everyday tasks like dishes, laundry, and even picking up toys helps in preventing work at home mom burnout. It essentially alleviates the amount of stress you have on your plate and lets you know you’re not alone.
There’s no shame in asking your spouse or even a close family relative for an extra hand when you really need it! When you receive extra help around the home, you feel supported. This allows you to accomplish work assignments productively.
Although I believe moms are superhero’s, sometimes when you carry so much stress and responsibility for so long, it can lead to burnout.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with trying to balance work, children, and the house, reach out and ask for help!
Prioritize your time
What is the most important task you need to get done for the day?
To complete your most important task on your to-do list, other tasks may need to be put on hold.
I routinely put household duties on hold to work on my blog and write articles. Although I feel guilty about it, loading a dishwasher or doing a load of laundry can always be done later in the day.
So don’t feel bad if you need to prioritize your time to complete essential tasks over less important ones.
Over time, your attention to the most important work task for the day will increase your overall work production and will give you a sense of pride as well.
Have you ever become so frustrated with a work task you can no longer concentrate and even get anxious when thinking about it?
I’ve been there too! When work bothers you to the point where your anxiety begins to boil over… It’s time to walk away!
What does walking away accomplish? It gives you a mental break from the stress of work and lowers symptoms of burnout.
When I experience an issue with a lack of concentration or I have ‘writer’s block,’ I close my laptop and walk away. If you need to walk away, try and do something that focuses your attention away from the difficult task.
Play a game with your kids. Watch a feel-good movie. Eat a healthy snack to fuel your brain.
Believe it or not, sometimes when you stop thinking and obsessing over something, your brain recharges and allows you to have a fresh new perspective.
Find the good in everything you do
One of the symptoms of work at home mom burnout is a negative attitude toward work. If you’re starting to feel this way about your job, it’s time to remember your why?
Why do you do the work you do?
It’s time to find the good in the work you do. This is important because it helps you regain your passion for your job.
Sit down and make a list of everything you like or love about your job. Now, display this list where you can see it every day as a constant reminder of all the positives associated with your work.
Related Articles: 50 Hobbies To Try When You’re Stuck At Home
Final Thoughts About Mom Burnout
With an increasing number of employees across the world working from home, I believe it’s been especially hard for mothers. The increased responsibilities like working and homeschooling children from home have only increased stress for moms.
It’s easy to see why mothers everywhere are reporting symptoms of burnout!
If you’re starting to feel that work at home mom burnout, know first that you are not alone. Second, try some of the tips above I use to prevent burnout!