25 Oct Where’s the “I” in Mom?
Becoming a parent is an incredible gift–an event so large your life will truly never be the same again. From middle of the night wake-ups, to a house taken over by toys, jumpers, strollers and everything in between; your life is no longer “yours”. This past weekend I woke up to a rainy, grey Sunday. My immediate thought was ‘what a perfect day to stay in my PJ’s, curl up on the couch and binge watch the newest Netflix docu-series.’ I was then immediately brought back to earth by my 6-month-old beckoning me to her crib at 6 a.m.
Yes, becoming a parent is truly life changing and it is extremely easy to get caught up in the mentality of wanting to do everything for your child(ren)… which can often translate into doing nothing for yourself. Being a mom is truly a 24 hr, 7 day a week job. There’s no clocking in and out, no lunch breaks and no catching up with your coworkers about your weekend. This is a job with no boundaries, no dress code and most of all, no paycheck. Being a mom can often be thankless, and as with any thankless job… quick to burnout. Only, you have no time for burnout… you can’t just quit.
How to Keep from Motherhood Burnout
Below are some ways to grow your emotional bank account to ensure your positive deposits outweigh those continuous withdrawals every time you give a part of yourself to your family. Find the “I” in motherhood to make sure you’re not only taking care of the kids, but yourself too.
1. Be a little Selfish:
The world won’t stop turning (I promise) if you need an extra hour of sleep. See if your partner can take care of the baby in the morning while you catch up on your zzz’s. If going to the gym is your thing, see if you can get a relative to come watch your little one for an hour while you sweat it out (many gyms even offer free daycare while you’re working out!)
2. Find a Community:
Whether it’s a group of new moms or dads who live in your building, it can be extremely helpful to have people who ‘get it.’ Being able to share experiences, ask questions and engage in adult conversations can be rejuvenating (as opposed to baby talk all day, every day.)
3. Do what works:
If you’re having a particularly tough day and need to let your baby play in his/her crib alone… do it. If you’re not normally a TV family but need to buy yourself some extra time, throw on Sesame Street briefly. Don’t beat yourself up over the little things.
4. Go on Dates:
Adding a baby to any marriage or partnership will undoubtedly change the nature of your relationship. It is extremely important to not lose sight of that relationship and make time for the two of you. Whether it means finding a babysitter and going out to dinner, or making popcorn, pouring a glass of wine and throwing on a movie, make sure you find time to check-in and connect with one another.
5. Accept Help:
You are already superwoman just by being a mom, don’t try to do it all! If a friend offers to come bring you dinner, let her. If your mom wants to come watch the baby so you can go get a manicure, let her. If your partner wants to do the dishes and laundry, let them!
A little self-care can go a long way to help you be a better mother, partner and most importantly, your best self! Remember to always find the “I” in motherhood.
Authored by: Tracey Weiss, LCSW