(Boss /Mom here, but It’s Not Just For Women)
Small disclaimer: This is not just for moms. It’s not for anyone, in fact. It is for everyone who has felt this way. It is simply from a mom’s perspective.
ANYWHO! It is just a fact that burnout happens to all of us at some point. Whether it was only in your high school years that you were balancing school, sports, friends, and more, or maybe it was short-term, like buying a new home and moving.
I am a mom, and this is my number one position in life. Somedays, I am the boss in this position, and some days I am the referee at a bar when several drunk people are playing darts, and your main job is to make sure no one loses an eye. Unless needed, I am not even really sure they know I am here.
I also run my own business working from home. I am no Bill Gates starting up a fortune 500 company and building it from scratch in his garage, but I am happy with my little business. I get to be home with my children, help people, and bring in money to help with the household, something my husband carried on his own for many years.
Burnout On My Best Day
For the most part, I have laid out my roles for myself. On my best days, they are a crazy mess, and my worst days an exercise in futility. You know, those days where not only does nothing get done even though you are working all day and exhausted, but the house and your to-do list actually look worse.
I have learned that taking everything one moment at a time and looking past the requirements I put on myself actually allows for more productivity and less burnout. (I wish I took advantage of this knowledge more often.) The days where everything seems to be crazy, and you throw in the towel and go outside to play, are the days that ease my burnout. Those are the days that the house is stagnant, and besides a couple of emails, work does not get done, but the kids are happy, and my mind is less… busy.
I find it almost freeing to take them to the park or do something silly. There is no sense in stressing about what I don’t get done cause I can’t do it from there anyway.
Burnout Is Not Only Okay, but It’s Also a Fact Of Life
You are going to get burnout, even if it’s just through the holiday season or when your child is a newborn. Most of us look down on ourselves for it. We get overwhelmed and start to think, “I’m not cut out for this” or “I have no idea what I am doing”. This is our mind’s default because insecurity begins to sneak in. We ask ourselves why aren’t other mothers feeling this way, or why are other business owners so confident? We don’t even think to peek behind the “I am okay” mask everyone wears at some point because we are too intent on keeping our own in place.
The Truth Behind The Scenes
We all have days of self-doubt. Somedays, you are on top of the world and your to-do list, and some days you are merely just trying to get back to bed. You tear yourself down so far, and then when you struggle to get back up, you judge yourself every step of the way.
The fact is, we have all been there in one way or another. We have held a tiny newborn and wondered how we would become the person they needed us to be. We have started a job or taken a client with the seed of doubt that you could actually do the job required of you.
Surviving The Burnout
Chances are, if you have made it this far into my rambling, you are in the middle of the grip of burnout and looking for a flicker of hope. First, let me ask you when was the last time you had that seed of doubt? When was the last time you were holding it all together with staples and duct tape and wondering how you were going to survive? Chances are, the last time you remember, it was a life-changing event. Bringing your child home from the hospital, taking care of a loved one, or being stressed about something big, are the first thoughts that cross your mind.
Why? Because the burnout that you feel on a day to day is temporary. It’s imposter syndrome rearing its ugly head or a juggling act of task that overwhelmed you. It is usually the breaking point that makes us change our ways or dragging ourselves into the depths of exhaustion until we can’t take it anymore.
As soon as you start to feel burnout, act on it. No, I am not saying lose your shit and drop everything. I am saying where possible, start to ease the weight on your shoulders. Schedule a little less one day. Ask your friend to help with the kids so you can get something done. Go to the store and buy some activities the kids can do to preoccupy them while you work.
The truth is you are feeling burnout for a reason. Even if it is just mental or emotional burnout, act upon it. Take a walk, go window shopping, write, draw, call a friend, anything that helps you to ease what is ailing you.
I saw a post recently that stated, “the 40-hour workweek was based upon the idea that someone would be working 40 hours a week while someone else was caring for the kids and house”. It wasn’t something that ever crossed my mind until I read that meme. We aren’t meant to do it all.
My husband works 40 hours a week, comes home to play with the kids, cooks dinner, helps clean up, walks the dog, and more. Even with chronic pain from past injuries, he takes us hiking on the weekends. He is constantly going like I am during the week. We take on our separate tasks, and after 13 years of marriage, we still fail to see sometimes when the other is burnt out. We usually suffer on our own and wonder why we aren’t enough.
When you set responsibilities and tasks for yourself, you don’t always look at the variables and there are ALWAYS variables!
- You have moods, sickness, phases, pent-up energy, school, teething, appointments, and so much more with children.
- In business, you have busy times, end of the month billing, mistakes, referrals, extra workloads, computer problems.
- Life in general, you have sickness, unexpected messes, bills, repairs, breakdowns, and more!
When you schedule yourself for work, help with the kids, and all the other daily duties you have, you never consider the variables.
Times of change are hard as it is. Parenting is hard. Building a business is hard. Excelling at work is hard. School is hard. Relationships are hard. When you combine these things and the variables of life, you create a mess that is both beautiful and disastrous, usually at the same time.
Don’t just try to grin and bear through it! Take a step back, look at the things that will not end the world if you pushed them off a little bit. Sometimes all you need is a quiet walk or a relaxing bath to recharge and look at the situation from a different viewpoint.
Life is hysteria on its best days. Keep a good mindset and remember everyone struggles. If you are starting a business, dealing with health problems, raising kids, or even just surviving day to day, you are not failing.
Treat Yourself Like A Human
Look into the person’s eyes in the mirror like they were your child, your client, your loved one, and ask them what they need to help them. No one knows what’s going on in your head, but if you ask for help or even just support, I bet you will find it, sometimes in the least expected places. Don’t hesitate to ask those that love you. Chances are they might not see your burnout signals, but just like you would help them, they probably want to help you.
I didn’t even mean to reach out. I sent a message to a client that said, “Sorry for the mistake. Things have been a little off lately, and I will get it fixed right away”. She responded that she was having the same problem and started a conversation about it. Now we both support each other in our businesses. She is the first one to like a post I make, and I do the same. I tell her about the little wins, no one else understands. She will vent to me and I to her. The truth is, sometimes it is just nice to know you’re not doing this alone even though your feeling like it sometimes.
I bet you are not the only one in the world struggling with your situation! Reach out, if not for your own sake, to support the others that are.
-The Un-Traditional Motherwww.untraditionalmother.com/blog