Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Let's Talk: Dealing with SAHM Burnout

I've been thinking about how to position this blog as my other two blogs have become active again. I put up this blog so that I only have one avenue to write in. Turns out, my readers still want my food and beauty blogs to be active. In time, I found out that this blog has been popular with moms. So, I think the best way to go is to transform this blog into all things mom and family. This was, after all, put up after my life made a 360-degree turn when I became a mom.

Today let's talk about SAHM Burnout which for me, is a very sensitive topic. I am a Stay-at-Home mom and I'm proud of that. I gave up my career and a lot of my plans and dreams are put on hold just so I can be with my son 24/7. In this day and age, not many women can make that choice especially when living on only one income is very hard. So, I consider myself blessed. We live on one income and it's hard but we make ends meet. There are months when we don't know how we will pay the bills but God is good and He continues to provide for us. The important thing for my husband and I is that we see our son grow and he grows up in our teachings. We don't want to miss this very important stage of his life where he is developing and learning new things. We want to be there every step of the way. I want to be there. I want to build a foundation in him that cannot be shaken and I believe only mothers and fathers can do that.



The best things in life are free


Being a SAHM has a lot of up moments. I get to homeschool my son. He is officially enrolled in a school for gifted children under the homeschooling program. I am blessed to have a twice exceptional child. He is both hyperactive and gifted. I will talk about that more in the following days.

I also get to make him meals. There are times when he asks me to cook a specific dish and I am happy to oblige. Like the other day, for example. I made some doughnuts on a whim.  I don't think I'll be able to do that if I work 9 to 5 as I will be exhausted by the time I get home.

I get to play with him all day. He has a very vivid imagination and he includes me in almost all his play scenarios. Sometimes we pretend we are race car drivers. Sometimes we are constructing buildings. He also likes playing Candy Crush with me.

I get to watch him sleep like I do now. He is napping as I type this. Sometimes I get tears in my eyes when I realize how big and 'grown up' he has become. I didn't miss anything. I was there for every milestone of his life - first step, first tooth, first time to eat solid food, first time to sit on his own and to stand on his own and his first words. I witnessed all his firsts.  I can still remember how tiny he was when he was born and now, he is running and playing, making new friends and learning new things every day. I am amazed at this miracle God gave me.

I get hugs and kisses from him all day. My son is very malambing, very passionate in everything he does. There are times when he just comes up to me and kisses me. Sometimes he just embraces me. Sometimes he tells me, "thank you mommy" and then kisses me out of the blue. These moments are precious.

The Ugly Truth


However, not everything in life is perfect. I also experience SAHM burnout. There are days when I miss having a career. I was once a very busy entrepreneur, juggling several businesses all at once. On days when I'm worn out from all the chores, I think about this past life of mine. I used to talk to clients every day, email people, work on presentations, etc. Now I talk to my son's doctors, check mommy emails and work on school presentations. I think about the grocery list and the menu for the week when once upon a time, I thought about these for my budding food business.

There are also days when my sweet little son turns into a horrible monster. Oh, yes. I know you moms out there know what I'm talking about. If you say that your child is a sweet little angel all the time, okay. Good for you. Perhaps you shouldn't be reading this post  as you are probably not experiencing SAHM burnout. Anyway, during those days when my son just wants to scream at the top of his lungs while jumping on the bed and spilling water or milk or juice every where, I just want to get away. There are times when he takes his drawer of toys from me (which I just filled up with his toys from around the floor) and spills them again all over the place. There are times when he is just a pain. I just want to leave him in the room and go out and do something for myself. But I don't. I remind myself that he is my son and that I love him and that it is just a phase, a part of growing up.

Signs


What are the signs of a SAHM burnout? Fatigue, depression, not wanting to do things that you used to love doing, not taking care of yourself anymore, thinking about getting away, thinking about violent thoughts against your child or family, etc. It varies from woman to woman. I've also read that there are 5 stages to a burnout. The last stage involves violence or just plain giving up.

If you are experiencing any of these things, welcome to my world. You need to read up and be aware of what's going on with you before you do something you will regret. You also need to reach out and ask for help.

Most people think that I have it easy, staying at home and just watching the kid. They are wrong. Aside from taking care of my son, I prepare his meals six times a day. I prepare our meals, my husband's baon (packed lunch), I take care of the chores, I pick up toys God knows how many times during the day, prepare his lessons, prepare our materials for homeschool, etc. etc. etc. I am very busy that I often take naps with my son because my day starts at 6:30 am and by the time he naps, I am also exhausted so I sleep for an hour or two. Aside from that, I don't want my body to become super tired all the time as I might suffer a relapse of polymyositis which I never want to experience again.

What I do


Until I can get a vacation, I think I will be in this phase for a while. However, I don't let it consume me. I do a few things to help lighten my load physically, mentally and emotionally.

One  

I go shopping. Shopping is my vice but over the years I have learned to tame the beast. I am very careful when it comes to buying stuff as I have a budget to maintain. So, what I do is schedule a shopping trip where I only buy essentials. That way, I have the satisfaction of having the experience but without breaking the bank. I get to come home with bags full of cotton balls, diapers, wet wipes, etc. 

Two


I read. I dusted up old books which have never seen the daylight. I immerse myself in another time and place for just a few chapters. I also read about fashion and beauty news which have always been a source of inspiration for me. I stopped reading for a few years when my son was born. I am also lucky that one of my BFFs is my e-book pimp who provides me with any e-book I request. 

The Bible is also a very good source of rest and inspiration. Christian books about motherhood and being a wife are also great places to start. 

Three

I have a DIY spa day. This is usually at night or on weekends when my husband is here to take care of the little one. I just buy products I like or test new products and for a few minutes or an hour, I can relax. I also take long showers especially at night. This is my 'me time' and I take advantage of it.

I also try to go to the salon when time permits. I've also re-ignited my love for makeup. I get dolled up even if I'm just going to the grocery. 

Four

I write. Writing is both my job and my passion. I started blogging because there's so much that I want to share with people. I didn't care if anyone read what I wrote as long as I know that I did my part to share what's in my heart and in my mind. I knew I wanted to write about SAHM burnout for the longest time but I just needed the right time and that time is now. 

Five

I hang out with other people. My cousin has resigned from her job so now we can hang out together more often. She brings our niece here so that we can all bond together. 

We've also gone on a shopping trip last Friday, just she and I and it was wonderful. It lifted my spirits. 

Six

Schedule a date night. My hubby and I haven't been on a date for so long. I am still finding the right schedule and the right babysitter. But I will definitely do this. I have several posts about date night ideas here in my blog. Here's one.

Seven

I have become more serious with planner decorating. Yup. I still keep a planner. I like the feel of paper on my hands. I like to write and see what I'm going to do for the day on paper rather than on a screen. I am very crafty. I like crafts so I use my supplies to make my planner pretty. If I'm going to be stuck doing wife/mommy duties then I might as well enjoy looking at my schedule for the day.

Find a hobby. I also crochet, make scrapbooks and a lot of other things. Here in Manila, adult coloring books are all the rage. It helps your creativity and relaxes you.

Eight

Talk to someone who understands you. I have a handful of friends that I trust with my life. I talk to each one of them about the different aspects of my life. One of my best friends moved to the States with her husband and 3-year old. When I need some mom support, I send her a message. We talk about being SAHMs. We talk about our struggles and we give each other support. If you are experiencing mommy burnout, don't talk to single people about it. They won't understand you and they surely won't be able to give you good, practical advice. 

Nine

I take a time out. I call my mom to takeover for a while and I do some other stuff like check my email, blog, chores, whatever. I take some time off. I do this especially when I'm already losing it because my son has spilled his milk all over the place. 

We also have a 30-second hug practice where my son and I just hug each other for 30 seconds while singing a song. It helps calm us both down. 

Ten

At the end of the day, I drop to my knees and pray. I ask God to forgive me for losing patience. I ask him to give me more of it, to give me wisdom and to guide me to raise up my child in His way. I also ask him for strength - physically, emotionally, mentally. Being a SAHM is very hard work. My mother was not a SAHM because she is a single mother. She single-handedly raised my sister and I plus our extended family. I will perhaps never know her struggles but I salute her for all her sacrifices and hard work for us. I have chosen a different path and she told me that I am lucky I get to be with my son all the time. 



Please click on the photo to enlarge


I guess that's the end of this post for now. I hope you found some helpful things today. If you are experiencing SAHM burnout or depression, you are not alone. Being burned out does not make you a bad mother. It only means you are human but you can get through this. Just reach out and ask for help. There are people who can understand you. 

Have you experienced SAHM burnout? How do you cope? Please share your thoughts in the comments section so that you too can reach out to someone. 






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