I am a completely exhausted working mom, and here is what I am going to do about it.
WORKING MOMS WORK HARD
Although the working mom’s work hours start at 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. each day, in reality, she is putting in so many hours before and after. Being a working mom is hard. I’m exhausted; you’re exhausted. So, let’s talk about what it means to be a working mom, the struggle with burnout, and what do about being a completely exhausted working mom.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORKING MOM
Two hours before I have to leave for work, my alarm goes off. I drag my drooping eyelids and sore body to the shower before I have to get my kids out of bed. I know that once they wake up, it’s off to the races. The day won’t stop again until bedtime.
I grab the nearest, cleanest clothes. I run the hair dryer, willing it to work faster. Then, I swipe on as much makeup as I can before the next alarm goes off.
When it does, I drag my children out of bed. I coax them into rubbing a toothbrush around their mouth And pull shirts over their heads. We do anything so that we don’t have to continue arguing with them at 7:00 a.m..
As always, they complain about the breakfast I serve them, and no one has their shoes on…always with the shoes.
Finally, we find masks, coats, lunches, water bottles, backpacks –with forms that haven’t been signed—and the door. Usually there is yelling involved.
Once the school kids are out the door, it’s time to get the baby to the babysitter’s house. Finding shoes again, locating spare diapers, looking for the lost blanket…takes more time. Finally, we leave again.
I’m a tired mom already.
MOMS ARE EXHAUSTED AND BURNING OUT
After the stress of the morning, I walk into my office to a stack of emails and messages that all need “immediate” attention. Despite already feeling like I have fought more than enough battles for the day, I have to start defending my work to clients, arguing with opposing counsel, or just working through those 30 pages of contracts that are due by noon.
Lunch rolls around, and I have to skip it for this meeting, that appointment, or to grab the shoes that my son forgot for practice.
By the end of my work day, I’m ready to fall onto my couch with a bag of popcorn, but I have practices to attend, dinner to make, more paperwork to sign, homework to check, and another day to prepare for.
IF YOU’RE AN EXHAUSTED WORKING MOM, YOU’RE NOT ALONE
I’m suffering from exhaustion and near burnout. Turns out, I’m not alone.
I’m just one of 9.8 million moms across the country who are trying to do it all and finding that we just can’t seem to do it. (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/03/millions-of-working-mothers-in-the-us-are-suffering-from-burnout.html)
According to a study from CNBC, mom’s are not only working outside the home but are carrying the lion’s share of the home responsibilities. Add to that the stress of Covid-related childcare and school shutdowns, and moms are at their breaking point.
Sometimes by the time that the kids finally fall asleep, it’s all I can do to just watch television for awhile.
One night I sat on the couch in a near zombie-like state and wondered why I was so tired. I looked at my husband and simply proclaimed: “I’m exhausted.”
But, why do I continue to live in this state of exhaustion, overwhelm, and hurry? I mindlessly go from one task to the next rarely enjoying my children’s company or even my coworkers.
I work for a variety of reasons, and I am proud to be a working mommy, but it’s hard, and I’m exhausted.
(To read more about why I am a working mom, click here.)
(To read more about the hard truth of being a working mom, click here.)
WHAT TO DO ABOUT BEING AN EXHAUSTED WORKING MOM
So, here is what I have decided to do about being an exhausted working mom!
1. EVALUATE MY PRIORITIES.
One of my first steps on my road to not being quite so exhausted is to determine my priorities.
So, I sat down and made a list. My faith and family were at the top of the list, but then I started listing all of my tasks, chores, and commitments.
Turns out…some of those aren’t so important to me.
I don’t really care if my car is clean, if I’m late to a board meeting, or if I try new recipes every night. (Your priorities might be different).
What does matter to me, is getting time to exercise with my kids, spending time around our dinner table, and having clean clothes and floors.
So, I’m eliminating some of my to-dos, tasks, and responsibilities that aren’t nearly as important to me.
Do it. Make a priority list. Then, amputate the bottom third. If you are a completely exhausted mom, get rid of some of those obligations in favor of priorities that are far more important to you.
2. PUT MY LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE.
The next thing to do to make sure that you aren’t exhausted for no good reason is to put your life in perspective.
I do a lot of complaining. “The wallpaper is peeling.” “My shoes are scuffed.” “The kids are screaming.”
However, most of the time, I am not really complaining about anything.
Honestly, I hear a lot of that. Do we have so little struggle, discomfort, and perspective in our life that all we can argue about are meaningless vanities?
People in the world are truly struggling, truly starving, and truly hurting.
So, I am going to put my discomfort and exhaustion into perspective.
Specifically, count your blessings. Write down all the good in your life. Make a list; keep it on your phone. I know that my faith and family are at the top of mine. Healthy kids, warm house, food on the table…perspective.
Take a moment to refocus yourself on what you already have rather than complaining about how much work it is to have all of it.
3. OUTSOURCE, DELEGATE, AND GET HELP.
That priority list that I can’t get done. I’m going to find someone else to do it. Can’t iron the kids clothes –outsource it. Can’t get the bathrooms cleaned? Delegate it. Can’t pack the lunches? Get the kids to pack their own.
Put the groceries on auto-delivery.
Hire a laundry service.
Ask a friend to pick the kids up one day.
And, take turns doing drop off with your husband.
I am always happy to drop off extra groceries for a friend, to feed a neighbors’ kids, or to add a kid to our minivan for pickup. Find help, and don’t continue trying to do it all on your own.
4. STOP SWEATING SMALL STUFF.
Turns out that some of the stuff that exhausts me, really doesn’t matter at all.
For example, the hem fell out of the cuff of my pants at work. I can’t sew. However, I had a safety pin. My pants are now safety pinned around the cuff, and who knows if I will ever get them to a seamstress.
My son’s practice changed, and I missed it. The time is completely unrealistic for our family. He will never be there on time.
I’m letting it go. No one has noticed the safety pin, and my son’s 1st grade soccer career is not going to influence his future chances at greatness. I refuse to let it eat up my mental space anymore.
How many things do you hold onto and let get under your skin that just don’t matter? How many small comments, little imperfections, or insignificant events bother you?
Don’t focus on those little things that don’t matter. Give them up. Let them go. They are taking up your mental space and adding to your exhaustion.
5. SAY “NO.”
I have to stop adding things to my plate so that I am not so exhausted.
In fact, my husband has put a moratorium on “yes” in our house. I am not allowed to volunteer for anymore boards, sports teams, service projects, special events, or child watches.
I already commit at least one night a week to a board, one morning or afternoon a week to a sports team, and several hours a month in various church projects. All of these are in addition to the projects, boards, and events that my husband and chidren do.
The bad thing about saying yes to one board or event is that you will get more requests to join other boards or events. This can be a huge time commitment that leads to the working mom’s exhaustion.
Therefore, we started saying “no.” For the time being, with three small children, 2 jobs, a myriad of other projects in addition to family time, we have banned the word “yes!”
Do you think that you can’t say “no?” Are you committed to so many boards, projects, and PTO events that you can’t get a moment to enjoy dinner with your family?
It’s ok to say “no” sometimes. You have a limit. Don’t completely withdraw, but have a healthy balance before you totally burnout.
Say “no” to the next project, and maybe you can ditch some of the exhaustion.
6. PRAYER AND REST
Although prayer and rest might be last on my list, they certainly are not the last things that I do. I believe that the very first cure for overwhelm and exhaustion is prayer and rest.
Even Jesus had to withdraw from the crowd, stop teaching, have others bring him food, and rely on others to get through some of his hardest days.
Therefore, I believe that the most important thing that a working mom who is completely overwhelmed and exhausted can do, is to turn to prayer, scripture, and rest.
So, spend time in the Word. Spend time in prayer.
Take a nap. Meditate. Sit in silence by yourself on your work lunch hour.
Take the time to find rejuvenation, calm, and rest in the Lord. He will renew your strength.
BEING A WORKING MOM CAN BE EXHAUSTING
Working, keeping a house, raising kids, and being a productive member of society, can be overwhelming. I’m exhausted a good bit of the time.
When I get exhausted, I get stuck in a cycle of exhaustion and overwhelm. I get stuck to my couch, lost in Netflix, and down about my circumstances.
You too? Turns out…we aren’t alone. Millions of moms are in the same boat trying to figure out how to get out of it.
Evaluate your priorities, count your blessings, get perspective outsource, get help, let things go, say no, and pray.
You might find that you are a little less exhausted and ready to tackle yet another hard day in the life of a working mom.
Working mom: I see you; I hear you; I am you. Be encouraged.