Healthy Living

Mom Burn Out and Why It Makes Me Feel Selfish

Mom Burn Out is a real thing.

Mom burn out. I can feel it. I can physically feel it tightening up my neck muscles and sitting on my shoulders. I’ve begun falling asleep on the couch early afternoons and still feel tired after 8 hours of sleep at night. I’m overwhelmed and frustrated because I can’t seem to catch up. I can’t seem to get ahead. And what’s worse, I feel selfish for feeling it.

“Get it together, Carolyn. This isn’t that hard! Quit complaining and get what you need to get done. Everyone has problems, and yours are so minor.”

I’m a stay-at-home Mom who homeschools three children. For the 10 hours a day he is at work, I run the house. I cook, I clean, I teach, and I entertain, all while trying to keep somewhat of a side job and social life afloat. I try to do my part in church, with friends, and within my community.

I am thankful for a hard working husband who provides so amazingly for our family. He’s got a great job and he handles the stress well. I don’t worry about getting food on the table and I sleep in a comfortable bed surrounded by four secure walls. Compared to most women in the world, I’ve got it easy. So why do I sometimes feel like I’m drowning?

Stay at home Mom successes are hard to measure. We accomplish a task, only to see it fall apart within a few hours. You know what I’m talking about… You sweep the floors, but an hour later it’s full of cracker crumbs and dog hair. You wash the dishes, and then another meal happens and you’re back where you started. At the end of the day, I cannot physically see my accomplishments. It’s enough to make any person go crazy.

Homeschool adds another dimension to the struggle. Am I glad we homeschool? Yes. Do I want to send them to regular school? No. Do I think they’re thriving in this environment? Absolutely. Is it easy for me to spend 24/7 with my kids? No, it’s not. I’m never alone. And I very rarely hear my own name used

The alternative is there. I could send them off to regular school. I can find a job, go back to school, or find a new hobby. In the past I’ve thought adding another side gig to my already busy day would bring some kind of fulfillment, but it doesn’t. It’s just one more thing I have to do. I know that the work force is not where I’m suppose to be. I know it. I can’t go against what I believe God is telling me to do. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

I thought the hardest parenting stage would be having a newborn who cries multiple times a night, but the early childhood phase has been much more challenging. This is different. This is a loss of identity. This is being stuck between babies and big kids. I’ve got children who require my help in nearly everything but also aren’t small enough to be carried on my hips. It’s this weird in between space that I can’t quite grasp. And it’s exhausting.

I feel guilty for feeling the way I do. I have a husband who is healthy and takes care of us. I know many who are on their own for various reasons. I have children, and I know many woman would give anything to have a family. I have a beautiful home, and I know many would be thrilled to call a place their own. I live in a safe country, and I know many daily fear for their lives because of war and starvation. What right do I have to complain about anything?

Social Media doesn’t help. I’m really good at looking at the whole picture of what people post online. I know the what goes on behind those well thought out and posted images. It’s one of the reasons I left that path. But I’m only human. I still struggle seeing woman off on work trips or attending business luncheons. They have a freedom I don’t. The option to make decisions and just go. I don’t have the ability to do those things. I don’t have that freedom. My work is my children, and there are no back pats or raises that come with that.

I know it’s an important job, raising and educating my kids. To me, it’s the most important job. But it’s hard. And it’s lonely. And sometimes it really burns me out.

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