The past month has been a huge whirlwind for me. I launched my books Missing You at Bedtime, Mommy and Missing You at Bedtime, Daddy to the world. It’s been a huge learning curve, and there are so many things to do. Trying to keep up with this never ending list of “to-do’s” in addition to being a wife, parent and friend has its challenges. Did I mention I’ve had events going on every weekend of November? I’m not complaining. I love being busy and I love being able to pursue my dream of being an author. Not everyone has these opportunities. But, sometimes the busyness and chaos of three children gets to me. I’m sure everyone gets to that point. I’m at that point. What point is that? It’s the point where all you want to do is shut down. Do nothing. Ignore your children. Stuff your face with crap.
I’m making the assumption that other people go through this too. (Please don’t tell me it’s only me who does this!!) And when I get to this point, I’m left with two options. Keep feeling burnt out, or try to find a way to crawl out of my hole and keep persevering. I think I do a little of both to be honest. Of course I don’t ignore my children when I hit this point. I am still a caring mother, but I am definitely not the engaging parent that I am when I have the energy. The TV is my best friend when I hit this point. I also may put my kids down for a nap a little earlier than usual, just so I don’t have to chase them. Meals are usually boxed and we may or may not hit all five food groups. If I do, I may be counting ketchup in the fruits and vegetables category.
And then I sit down and do something for myself. And eat whatever junk food I want. (I eat the food conspicuously so my son won’t steal my snacks. Most of the time I’m not caught.)
And then I feel like a crappy parent. And maybe a little sick.
I know I’m not a crappy parent, but it’s hard to take time for myself. And do things for myself, especially when I am in mom mode. I know I need to when I hit burn out, but it’s still hard to do. I’m lucky enough to have strategies in place that make me feel better when I hit this point. For me, I lose myself in a book. I’ve always loved reading and being able to transport myself into other people’s lives. So, when I hit burn out, reading makes me happy. If I can sit for a couple hours and read, I can usually pull myself out of my slump. I do it while the kids are playing or while my twins nap. Today, I gave my son my phone and he watched YouTube while I read. We sat on the couch together, and it was actually really nice. Is it something we will do all the time? No. But at least I was able to take that time for myself and he got a little treat too.
My other strategy is going for a walk outside. There is something so relaxing about going for a walk and breathing in fresh air. Luckily I can do that with the kids and it helps to tire them out too! That is what we did as a family tonight. We went for a walk, I completed some errands, and the kids loved looking at all the Christmas lights! And I was happy because I could go for a walk.
I think it’s really important to know what solutions will make you feel better when you are in stressful or exhausting situations. It makes coming out of those situations so much easier if you have coping mechanisms. That way, if you get to that point (which I do), it’s easy to solve the problem. Of course, this isn’t always the case, and sometimes problems are bigger than others, but I definitely think that it is worth taking the time to think about what makes you happy when you are not.
There is also the strategy of being self aware enough to slow down before you hit burn out, but I’ve always been bad at that. I push until I need to stop and then backpedal as fast as I can. If you are able to not reach burn out, I applaud you!
So. Moral of the Story. It’s ok to feel burnt out. We all hit that point. If you can, try make sure you have the coping strategies so that you can pull yourself out when you get there. It’s actually really nice to take the time for yourself! You can also be proactive and do those activities before you hit burn out. But, that would make sense and be so much easier on all our lives! And no one does anything the easy way anymore.