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Your baby is squealing and your toddler’s tiny feet are ‘pitter-pattering‘ across the living room floor. His or her nappy is half hanging off, sodden with you know what, and your partner is nowhere to be found! What do you do to prevent mum burnout?
This may read like a scene out of a chaotic mum flick, but this is the reality for many mothers!
Being a mum is a great blessing. You are blessed with the chance to give and receive love from a human being who looks up to you, and have the chance to positively influence their lives. But make no mistake, motherhood can be challenging!
Staying at home with children day in and day out can become overwhelming if you don’t give yourself time to recuperate.
The way society is set up today, you probably live away from your family or other support systems. Even if you are a stay at home mum, you are probably wondering about how you will up your side-hustle game. Let’s face it, the bills won’t out of the kindness of their hearts, give you a maternity leave from paying them.
These may all be overwhelming and may seem too much for you, but fear not mum. Below are some tips that may help you prevent burnout.
Ways To Prevent Mum Burnout
When your babies are asleep, try and sleep as well. You may be tempted to do the house chores, but sleep instead!
When my children were babies, my mother always told me to catch up on sleep when my children slept during the day. Sometimes I would do so, and some times I wouldn’t, thinking that I could be productive and get other important things done.
I was wrong.
While it is true that you could get important home or business things done while they are asleep, this should only be prioritised if you don’t feel tired.
You know your baby better than anyone else. If your baby tends not to sleep throughout the night, you would do well to catch up on your sleep when your baby naps during the day, to prevent you being sleep-deprived.
It would be counterproductive to try and do things if when your baby wakes up you don’t have the strength and stamina to look after them.
The importance of sleep cannot be overestimated. Lack of sleep can lead to numerous illnesses, so please don’t neglect this.
This is something I have always struggled with. Sometimes I have periods of drinking enough fluids in a day, and sometimes I neglect this.
When I don’t drink enough water, I feel sluggish, and I am prone to having headaches. Imagine feeling this way and having to take care of young children?
Our brains are 80% water and our bodies 50 – 75%, so it’s no wonder that we need to keep hydrated.
Drinking water rids our bodies of toxins and helps to keep our minds focused on tasks and more alert throughout the day. You need all the energy you can get in order to fulfill your role as a mum.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Eat Nutritious Meals
Your body requires balanced meals to function optimally. You also need adequate fuel for your body, so you have adequate energy to look after your children.
This is of great importance if you are a breastfeeding mother. Breastfeeding uses up a lot of energy and nutrients. You, therefore, need to be more mindful and intentional with your food choices.
Different food groups contribute to different functions in the body. It is therefore important not to restrict any food groups from your diet, except for health reasons.
With a new born baby, your daily routine may be thrown out of the window for some time.
I hear you.
To get adequate nutrition throughout the day, you could eat quick nutrient-packed meals and snacks such as:
- Sandwiches with protein and vegetables. You could fill your sandwiches with sliced chicken, eggs, pulses, cheese, or any other protein of your choice, and ready-prepared salad.
- Fruits. You could eat these on their own, or with yoghurt. My favourite yoghurt is Greek yoghurt. Different fruits provide different vitamins and fibre, and Greek yoghurt provides calcium as well as protein.
- Porridge oats are quite nutritious. They contain protein, carbohydrates and fibre. You could prepare this pretty quickly, and eat it with fruits such as blueberries and banana. Oats keep you fuller for longer because it takes longer to digest, and releases sugar slowly into the bloodstream.
- Milk drinks, including fortified plant-based milk, and yoghurt. These contain calcium which is good for bone health and calcium is contained in breast milk. It is important to consume calcium otherwise calcium will be taken from your bones when you breastfeed. This could lead to osteoporosis or other brittle bone diseases later on in life.
- Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds provide generous amounts of protein, fibre, calories, fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
- Avocado. Avocadoes are high in healthy fats and low in saturated fats. They contain vitamin K, Folates, vitamin C and other nutrients.
- Dip and vegetables. Simple and nutritious dips and vegetable combinations are carrot sticks and hummus, apple slices and nut butter (for example, peanut or almond butter), toast and guacamole.
This is one of those things that I should have done sooner in my motherhood journey, but didn’t start doing until my children were well out of diapers!
Prepping your meals for the week or for at least a few days at a time would save you so much daily headache.
The initial time spent creating your meal plan and prepping for the future would give you more time to spend with your loved ones, or even time to get much-needed rest. Preparing your meals in advance can also help you avoid eating unhealthy meals on a whim.
Importantly, meal prepping can save you money that would have otherwise been spent on takeaway meals.
There is no perfect way to meal prep. You have to take everyone’s preferences into account when deciding what you would prepare for the week. Pinterest is full of meal prep ideas.
The important steps to take would be to make a list of the foods you will prepare for the week and buy all the foods required once in the week to avoid numerous shopping trips.
Meal prepping tips include marinating your meats for the week or next couple of days. If you eat eggs, you could boil a number of them on one day for the rest of the week. Eating today’s left over dinner for lunch tomorrow is another way you could minimise your time spent in the kitchen cooking.
With meal prepping, your freezer is your friend! You could cook certain stews and soups and freeze them for easy meals during the week.
Online Grocery Shopping
Why traipse around supermarket aisles with crying babies in tow, when you can shop from the comfort of your home?
What about those times when after shopping you proceed to your car, and pack your groceries into your boot, only to realise you forgot to buy some garlic? This has happened to me more times than I can count, and it’s not really a crisis per se.
However, when you have a squealing baby and no more clean milk bottles in your bag, it can put you in panic mode.
To save time and fluster, consider shopping for your groceries online. Shopping for your groceries online can save you lots of time and sometimes money.
Weekly offers are usually displayed on the home page, helping you to save money on those items. You could save money on petrol, and time spent queuing up to pay online.
When grocery shopping online you are given ample time to complete your shopping. Should you be unsure of how to navigate the site, you could search for items you need in the website’s search box.
There are a few things which you need to be aware of when grocery shopping online.
Sometimes, the items you require may not be in stock and you may be given similar alternatives.
Also, with having someone else pick your fruits you may run the risk of getting your fruits at a different ripeness to what you would like. However, food descriptions are usually thorough and give you an indication of the ripeness of fresh produce.
Meal Kit Service
If you don’t fancy cooking or you are just not up to grocery shopping or prepping, you could try a meal delivery service.
No, I don’t mean ordering takeaway food every day, although it may be tempting! I used to do this when I was young and carefree, so I know how tempting it can be when you’re too tired and just want your food right now. I digress.
Meal kit packages come with either the ingredients required to prepare your meals or the meals pre-prepared so you wouldn’t need to step out of your home to buy ingredients.
Although the price of the meals may cost more than if you went grocery shopping and prepared the meals yourself, the convenience and time saved to do other things, could be worth more in value.
KBK has a number of different meal plans depending on your goals. They have introduced a short term meal plan for those in isolation who may need to boost their immune system.
Enlist your husband, partner, or any other family member to prepare the meals and it’s a win all round for you!😂
This tool which helps in the work environment, is also very effective for personal use.
To-do lists can increase your productivity by helping you with prioritising what needs to be done. Writing things down with the most important at the top to the least important at the bottom ensures that you don’t forget anything.
When you use lists effectively you will be better organised and can focus your energy on high priority things first.
Ask For Help
Don’t be shy with this like I was and ask for help.
There will be times you will need to ask for help from family or friends with babysitting so that you can take care of yourself.
You may feel that you are being a burden, but you’ll only end up suffering by not asking for help. You will never know if anyone would like to help you if you don’t ask.
Ask your partner to help with looking after the children when you need it, or to do the grocery shopping, or cooking. Whatever it is that needs doing in your household, involve your partner. After all, you made your family together.
This tip is very important and will help you prevent burnout.
Would you over-work your house maid, deprive her of sleep, not give her food and prevent her from taking showers? No, I didn’t think so. So why do this to yourself?
Before you can give love to anyone else, you must first love yourself. Take the time to look after your self-care needs. This is where asking for help will serve you well.
When your children have been taken off your hands, even if just for a couple of hours, take the time to pamper yourself.
There are many ways you can show love to yourself. In fact, every single thing in this blog post is an act of self-love because they all in one way or another relieve you from stress and anxiety.
Other ways you can show yourself love are by:
- Having a warm bubble bath
- Reading your favourite book
- Going for a walk
- Treating yourself to a special gift
- Treating yourself to a glass of wine (express your breast milk first if you are still breastfeeding 😉)
- Relaxing and watching a movie
You get the point here. Do whatever you love that will give you joy.
Reciting positive affirmations may just give you the positive boost you need to get you through what can be stressful times.
Repeating positive words release power into the universe so that what you say will begin to happen. Reciting positive words and phrases work on the mind, and eventually, they become reality.
You can write them down on sticky notes and place them around your house. Or you could write them in a notebook which you can slip into your baby’s diaper bag when you go out.
The positive affirmations you choose to recite can be very simple. You just need to pick them and recite them.
I take care of myself, therefore I have all the energy and strength to look after my babies.
I am the perfect mum for my perfect babies because God designed it that way.
Being a parent is no doubt an awesome part of your identity. However, being a parent should not lead to the neglect of your relationship.
Date night is an awesome way to spend time together and re-connect with your partner without the kids in tow.
Date night can be simple and done in your own home.
Once the kids are tucked in bed, or safe at grandma’s, you could order a takeaway but make it special by lighting some candles and popping open the bottle of wine.
You could watch a movie or two via the many movie streaming services that are available.
Other ideas for date night at home include taking part in a common hobby such as doing some art or playing games together – games night if you will.
Then, of course, you could also go out to a nice restaurant for late lunch or dinner, to the cinema, art class, whatever. Afterwards, you could go home and ‘chill’.😉
Girls’ Night Out
Okay, I might be pushing this one a bit, especially if you’ve just given birth to your newborn baby, but let this one remain at the back of your mind for a later date!
It’s important to continue to socialise occasionally with friends, especially friends who may be mothers also.
Keeping in touch with your friends will help to take your attention off home life, just for a little while.
Having a kiki with your friends can be a great stress reliever as you let your hair down and enjoy some child-free grown up time.
Make New ‘Mum’ Friends
Staying with children day in and day out can eventually become isolating.
You may even feel you’ve evolved and your old friends are perhaps too risque for you, in which case you can make some new friends who may also be new mothers like you.
You could attend play groups with your toddler, and make friends with other mothers. This can be good for you as you can both share ideas of what is helping you through your motherhood journey.
You could meet new mums online, for example Facebook is full of groups for mothers, and everything else for that matter.
Being able to exchange ideas and gain knowledge from more experienced mums may just be the lifeline you need when you feel alone.
Have Mercy On Yourself
I write this because it’s easy to beat yourself up for make one mistake or another.
Remember, there’s no perfect manual for motherhood. We learn from our mothers before us and also from our past mistakes. We may even learn from the mistakes of our parents and strive to be better.
Life is about learning, evolving and improving.
So please, have mercy on yourself. You’re human after all.
It’s Okay To Say “No”
Mama, it’s okay to say no!
How many times have you tried to go out of your way to serve other people to the detriment of your happiness?
It could be friends, your family, in-laws, whoever! Politely declining to do something would not make you a bad person.
The truth is,
whether you do or whether you don’t, you can’t please everyone!
You can never control people’s opinion of you, no matter how nice you try to be. Some people will never be satisfied, despite your best efforts.
Therefore, your priority is your health and well-being first and foremost, followed by your husband or partner and children.
Listen to your gut more often. If you feel uncomfortable or undue stress after a request from someone, the chances are that perhaps you may need to say no to prevent mum burnout.
Take each day at a time, and enjoy motherhood.
Your babies won’t remain tiny and cuddly forever. Soon they’ll be taller than you and you’ll wonder where all the time went!
Forgive yourself for past mistakes and keep elevating yourself.
Don’t suffer alone or in silence, and seek help to prevent burnout.
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What challenges are you having in your parenting journey that you need help with? Please comment below.