Are Moms Partially to Blame for Mom-Burnout?
Are you as exhausted as I am from raising kids? Mom-Burnout is so real, but it seems like a lot of us are too afraid to talk about it. Is admitting that we’re physically and emotionally burnt out admitting that we don’t love our kids? Absolutely not. Does it mean that we hate our spouses/partners? Probably not. But what it does mean is that many of us are suffering silently because we don’t want to appear as though we don’t have our shit together.
I will tell you right now that I am burntthehellout.
My oldest kid is now 26 years old and my youngest is 13. I’m finally able to admit how exhausted I am. I know so many mamas who are right in the thick of it, the mothering. I feel bad about just being able to talk about this now because as a mom of teens, the physical exhaustion has pretty much passed. That’s one great thing about kids getting older- you can sleep again!
These days, there’s a huge mental and emotional load on me. When you have teenagers, you can’t drop the ball. In my experience, teens need access to their parents more than toddlers. When you have a toddler, it’s pretty simple to assess your kid’s problem and help them fix it. Not so much with teenagers… between an unwillingness to talk (while needing to talk) and preparing yourself for the anger that’s about to be unleashed on you, it can take DAYS to sort out a teenager’s problem.
We saw a therapist with one of our kids years ago and she explained it this way: Basically an eleven year-old mirrors a 1 year-old, a twelve year-old mirrors a 2 year-old, a thirteen year-old, a 3 year-old….and on and on. (You get it, right?) If you think about it, you can see a lot of behavioural similarities! Also, it’s the hormone changes that make a lot of kids feel anger.
So basically, my 6 foot-tall 13 year-old with size 14 feet is an angry, oversized three year-old. That’s not exhausting at all.
I don’t think it really matters what stage of mothering you’re in: If you’re a mom, you are taking on most of the physical, mental and emotional load. No matter how amazingly supportive your partner is (and mine’s the best!) it’s a thing that moms naturally acquire. Like menstruation and stretch marks. But I think we can blame ourselves for some of it. Men are wired so much differently than women: they don’t “notice” things, they don’t naturally multi-task , they aren’t typically as nurturing as women… how can we really expect them to innately understand? We can’t. So what can we do?
First of all, we can tell them.
I have a real problem asking for help and I know I’m not the only woman out here that struggles with that. If I ask for help am I weak? Am I a nag? Will it get done the right way? In the appropriate amount of time? Isn’t it easier to just do it myself??
But here’s the thing- most men want to help us out. If we don’t specifically ask for what we want, they won’t just “sense” it. When we freak out they know we’ve had it, but they have no idea why.
Lately, I’ve heard a lot about “self care” for moms. I fully support any woman who takes care of herself because I am one. I don’t need anyone to tell me to do yoga, have my hair done or meditate. But I’m going to work on telling my husband what I want and need, even if it makes me really uncomfortable. I love him and he needs me to speak up, to be patient and persistent.
I’m not a perfect woman and he’s not a perfect man. But if we help each other out, maybe we can be perfect for each other and our family.
What can you ask for today, mama?
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!