Being a stay at home mom has seriously been one of the biggest blessings for me as a mom. I love that I am able to be at home watching my kids grow up and being a part of (nearly) every moment of their day.
It isn’t for everyone and I totally get that.
I was a working mom until my oldest was 8 months old. But for our family, having me at home was the right thing.
But just because it was the right thing for our family doesn’t mean that it has been easy.
In fact, being a stay at home mom has been really, really hard sometimes.
Not hard in the sense that washing dishes and wiping bottoms is hard, but more mentally socially, and emotionally challenging. Sure, there is the physical exhaustion, but I think all moms, in general, feel that. It kind of comes with the territory of being a mom.
What I am getting at here is something I like to call “stay at home mom burnout”. It’s when you get to that point of being completely out of energy for ANYTHING. Phone calls, play dates, and yes, even wiping bottoms.
You become so exhausted that you no longer have the energy for anyone or anything including yourself.
That is hard.
So, to help keep stay at home moms, like me, from getting to that low place of stay at home mom burnout, I want to share with you some really helpful tips.
Some may seem simple, but trust me, they help!
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
Our second baby had infant colic and it was MISERABLE!
No one ever slept, yet we still went on with our daily activities and tried our best to function. Very quickly, I became a stressed out stay at home mom and I had to figure out how to survive colic.
A friend who had a baby around the same time I did, sent me something that helped me survive the long days (and nights).
It was a quick blurb about getting out of the house so that people will tell you how sweet and cute your baby is. It sounds silly, right?
Let me tell you, there were days that I would do this, simply because the frustration and exhaustion of colic wore me out and often made me forget how sweet and gentle our baby truly was.
Even now, with toddlers, I will sometimes go out and let other people remind me of how cute my kids are or how well the behave.
Getting out of the house will give you a breath of fresh air, a reminder of why you enjoy being a stay at home mom, and a clear mind to tackle the rest of your day.
GO ON A MINI TRIP
I didn’t take my first mini trip until recently, but OMG I had no idea what I was missing out on.
OK, so maybe I did, but I didn’t realize how badly I needed that time away until I had it.
People would say to me afterward, “I bet you missed your kids”.
Did I, yes, but did I miss the diapers, the temper tantrums, and the stay at home mom stress?
When I came back from two nights away with some friends, I came back refreshed.
I felt like I could better take care of my children and our home, and I could be a better wife.
Taking a mini trip with your husband would also be something rewarding and a great way to nurture your marriage.
HANG OUT WITH YOUR FRIENDS
It’s totally understandable if you aren’t in a position to swing a mini trip away, but even making time to hang out with your friends can help you avoid stay at home mom burnout.
If you have another stay at home mom friend who would benefit from a few hours away, arrange something easy you can do together.
Maybe you want to see a movie, paint some pottery, or even just have a coffee and chat without the kids screaming and hanging all over you.
Sitting with friends is a great choice for stay at home mom stress relief. Even just thinking about it makes me want to schedule something with my friends and take a much-needed break.
TAKE A CLASS TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Before becoming a stay at home mom, I was a working mom. And working mom burnout is a very real thing too. Motherhood, in general, can be exhausting.
BUT, one thing I had when I was a working mom that I no longer have as a stay at home mom is mental stimulation on a daily basis.
And no, trying to decide what to feed your kids for lunch doesn’t count as mental stimulation, although some days I feel like it should!
One reason I started my blog was to have something constructive that allowed me to learn something completely new.
I needed structure in my life and having a side income is an added blessing.
Even if something long-term, like starting a blog, isn’t right for you, there are plenty of short-term or even one-time classes you can take.
Maybe you would like to take a painting class, a cooking class, or even a tour of a brewery. Each of these experiences offers you something new to learn while giving you a break from your stay at home mom duties.
ASK FOR HELP-BABYSITTING SWAP
If there is one thing, I have learned so far as a mom, it would be that it’s OK to ask for help.
For some reason, we as moms, think we have to be Super Woman ALL THE TIME!
But we aren’t!
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There isn’t a “stay at home mom” rulebook that says we have to have our crap together all the time.
And thank goodness, because I am pretty sure I would be labeled as a failure!
It’s OK to ask for advice, it’s OK to ask for a break, and it’s OK to not feel like you can do this every second of every day.
Ask for help.
Find a group of friends who have kids who are similar in age to your children and do a babysitting swap. You watch their kids for a few hours, and then another day, they watch yours. You each get a turn, and you help each other avoid the dreaded stay at home mom burnout.
I have someone watch my kids for a few hours one day a week, and as a stressed-out mom of a toddler, this has been incredible.
It has allowed me some “me time”, or even just a chance to catch up on things around the house without being pulled in 10 different directions trying to care for everyone.
AVOID NEGATIVE PEOPLE
This one is HUGE!
Negative people can suck the ever-loving life right out of you!
I have found that when I avoid negative people, I am happier. Not only that, but I feel like I am a better person to others.
When you are around negative people, you tend to pick up on their negative energy and then you take it home with you. That’s good for no one.
When you’re a stay at home mom, it’s important to have a community. In fact, I think it’s essential to have a community.
But a negative community isn’t a good community. You need people who build into you and encourage you, not those who put negative thoughts in your mind and tear you down.
MAKE TIME FOR YOUR MARRIAGE
One topic I discuss often is nurturing your marriage. Just because you’re a mom now doesn’t mean your marriage moves to the bottom of your priority list.
Your relationship with your spouse is the foundation of your family. And, even if you aren’t married, your relationship with your significant other is still just as important.
Figuring out the balance between your relationship with your spouse and your role as a stay at home mom can be a challenge.
Related: Your Marriage After Baby
In fact, I feel like it is an ever-changing balance as my kids get older and my marriage changes.
What I have found is that when all of my relationships are in balance, I feel like I am in balance.
Avoiding stay at home mom burnout is much easier when I feel like things are right in all areas of my life, especially with my husband. When things aren’t good with us, I feel like other areas in my life suffer.
SLEEP IS A MUST
When you’re a stay at home mom, it can be easy to get caught up in everything that needs to get done around the house. Especially if your kids are little, you’ll likely learn pretty quickly that it can be really hard to get everything done before putting your kids to bed.
There are things that I know I cannot safely do when my kids are awake.
One example of this is laundry. The laundry is in the back of the house away from my kids. Without fail, if I try to put the laundry away with all the kids awake, someone is in something they shouldn’t be, or someone gets hurt.
But there has to be a balance between getting things done once the kids go to bed, and you going to be yourself.
Without enough sleep, you are good for no one.
Related: Time Batching – What It Is and How To Use It
Chances are, you’ll quickly succumb to stay at home mom burnout.
It can feel overwhelming when you first stay at home with your kids because it feels like there is always something you should be doing.
At least I feel that way.
As with any “job”, you have to shut it down at some point. You and your spouse need to set expectations that being at home taking care of the kids is priority number one, and anything that gets done around the house during the day is an added bonus.
Spend time with your spouse in the evenings, and make sure you get enough sleep. Everyone, especially you, will be better for it.
LEARN TO SAY NO
This one is the hardest for me.
I want to be everyone’s everything. But I can’t.
As a teacher, I was really good at multi-tasking. When there are 30-ish students who need something, you multi-task.
When I came home, I didn’t often turn off that multi-tasking feature.
I would be cleaning the house, helping with dinner, preparing to go to my part-time job, working my side business, helping at church, etc.
There was always something.
Once I had kids, I quickly realized my priorities changed. I didn’t want to be out running around several nights a week because, at that time, I was still working.
When I became a stay at home mom, and I started to feel overwhelmed, and I had to start saying no.
And that was OK.
At first, it didn’t feel like it was OK. It felt like I was disappointing a lot of people.
But the reality was when I was stretching myself so thin, I was the one who was disappointed most often, and that wasn’t fair to me.
Learning to say no takes times.
You don’t have to go to every play date, you don’t have to volunteer every time your kids’ teacher asks for help, you don’t have to volunteer to teach a class at church.
You can say no.
The more you do it, the easier it gets.
WRAPPING UP STAY AT HOME MOM BURNOUT
As a stay at home mom, you will realize that it’s a very different experience from being out of your house every day going to work.
There can be much joy found in the blessing of being at home with your kids, but there will also be unforeseen challenges too.
Knowing how to jump over each hurdle is the key to avoiding stay at home mom burnout.
Some days will be easier than others, and some seasons of parenting will really put your mental wherewithal to the test.
The greatest thing to remember is that you are a person, not just a mom or a wife, and you matter.
You cannot do good for others if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Make time for the people and things that matter to you.
Say “no” when you need to.
Motherhood is one of the greatest gifts in life, but it can also be one of the most challenging experiences. Be your own advocate so you can love others well.
This is a guest post from Lisa, a mommy blogger at Cheerfully Simple. Motherhood doesn’t need to be complicated, and she is dedicated to helping new moms learn the ropes about becoming a mom, baby tips, and ideas for kids. She’s a former teacher, now stay at home mom. She enjoys time with her family, whether it be playing or learning together. Stop by and see what’s new!
What a great post! I was so surprised at how exhausting being a stay-at-home mom can be! I expected to always be on top of the housework and always be so productive. But it’s hard to balance everything and it is exhausting! Thanks for sharing these tips!
It definitely IS exhausting (and none of us are as productive as we THINK we are supposed to be!) I was surprised as well though – I always assumed it was harder working out of the home before I did both.
Lauren | My Favorite Job Title Is Mom says
As moms, we try to be everything to everyone, and burnout can sneak up on us. These are great tips to help prevent crashing.
Agreed. For me, I struggle to notice I am burning out until it is almost too late!
I love this! I agree time away with friends is so valuable. It gives you the refill needed to be the best mom you can be!
Trish – agreed, it’s very important! I know that I am in a much better emotional place after taking some “adult” time!
I agree 100% with all of these tips! It is super hard being a SAHM. There are definitely days when I experience what you describe as “Stay At Home Mom Burnout”. On these days, I will put the kids in the car, put on Disney playlist in the car, and take a long & slow drive to get coffee. The other thing that has really helped me was scheduling play dates with mom friends. My one mom friend lives super close to me, as in she can walk to my house in less than 10 minutes. Our neighborhoods are literally next to each other. She will walk over with her 3 kids and we head to the playground that is at the end of my street. The winter is harder to do this, but the one night, we loaded up a wagon with all of the kids and walked around to look at Christmas lights. Getting out of the house is definitely a must for a SAHM and a toddler! We visit the library, go walk around the mall, or play at a friend’s house. Sometimes, we even go walk around the local grocery store where my daughter can push the little shopper cart. Thanks for sharing these tips!
It definitely is a struggle! I used to work full-time out of the home. Being away from my kiddos was REALLY hard – but honestly, it’s just as hard as being home with them all day! That’s awesome that you have a good friend close by. Living in a good neighborhood has definitely helped me avoid feeling stay at home mom burnout – and yes, getting out of the house is a must! Thanks for your thoughtful reply. 🙂