“Hi, my name is Victoria. I’m a mother of a 9-year-old and I work full-time. I feel burned out, depressed, and I’m having the hardest time of my life. I love my child more than life itself, but I have to admit, having a child and a job have made me a depressed overwhelmed working mom.”
Having to spend the majority of the day at the office and then coming home to a bunch of housework is more than I can take. Good sleep has become a luxury in my life. It’s been so long since I had a night out. All of this has left me mentally and physically drained. Recently, I haven’t even been in the mood to take my son out or do anything fun with him. What can I do to make myself feel better? Any advice would be appreciated.”
Dear Victoria, allow me to start by saying that I get you! I have two kids and have gone through exactly what you’re going through right now. Until only six months ago, parenting and working had left me with no energy to enjoy my life. It felt as if one job started immediately after the other one ended. This vicious cycle seemed neither fair nor right. I just knew that I couldn’t keep on living like that. So, I searched for ways that could help me cope with this situation. In this article, I’m going to talk about how I overcame this situation.
How to Cope With Being a Working Mom
Is parenting exclusive to those who have no money concerns whatsoever – the wealthy of the Earth? No, I don’t think so. Here’s how you can cope with mom burnout or depression:
Accept the Process
One of the things that made life harder for me was that I was constantly comparing my past to the present. I expected myself to have the time to do the things I liked just like I used to. And it devastated me when I couldn’t. What I didn’t understand was that life only gets harder over time. But we get stronger every day. So, in a way, life gets easier. But we don’t see it when we compare our life to the past. I realized this when I took a step back and looked at my life.
Having two children now, I rarely get a second to myself. Even when I’m at work, I check up on them and make sure they’re safe. When I’m at home, I have to make sure they do their homework, are happy, and eat well. Before, I thought all these responsibilities were too much. But now, I know that it’s only natural and it means that I’m a more competent person.
Make Adjustments to Your Work Situation
The Covid-19 pandemic taught us a big lesson. We realized that a lot of the meetings that we used to have could’ve been an email. We also realized that we could work from home and the world would not come to an end. Remote work has become very popular in the past few years, with 60% of U.S. employees working remotely, according to Gallup.
Working remotely has a myriad of benefits: It saves employees time and money. It contributes to air pollution and traffic reduction. Also, according to the American Sociological Review, working remotely promotes better sleep, health, and less stress among employees.
Consider talking to your office about working remotely at least a few days a week. If they can’t understand that and think that work is only done when employees are under direct supervision, maybe it’s time to look for a better job with a more modern mindset. You can also look for freelance jobs or ones with fewer hours. There’s plenty of fish in the sea.
Take a Short Break
Aside from financial reasons, I used to work before because I wanted to make my way in life. After giving birth, I forgot all about my hopes and dreams. The only reason I carried myself to work every morning was that I had bills to pay and a mouth to feed.
Taking time off from work for a long time was not possible for me. Being a full-time working mom overwhelmed me to the point of mental breakdown. I only had the opportunity to take two weeks off and it still had a positive effect on my mental health. However, if you can live off your savings for a little longer, consider doing it. This way you have more time to unwind and do the things that you like.
Know That You’re Not Alone
I wanted to do everything myself. Using other people’s help made me feel like I was a bad mom. Getting a babysitter for the night so that I could enjoy myself was completely out of the question. Telling my co-worker to fill in for me? No way! I just didn’t want to burden anyone.
I was wrong. So much is required from us in life and so little time we have to do them. So, we should get as much help as possible; whether it is asking a trusted person to look after our child for a while, sharing responsibilities with our partner, or using parental control apps to help us worry less about our children’s safety when we’re at work.
I used the Safes app and it has helped me quite a lot. With it, I can make sure that my kids are not out of school or that anything suspicious is threatening them online. I also scheduled some time to go out with my friends and asked my husband to look after the kids while I’m out.
Using other people’s help can also mean emotional support. According to Harvard Business Review, seeking meaningful interpersonal interactions can help beat burnout. I did the same. I talked on and on to the people whom I trusted or the ones who were going through the same. It made me feel heard and appreciated.
Beating full-time working mom exhaustion is easier said than done. Because nothing big really changes in life. You can’t suddenly jump into another parallel universe where a day is 42 hours, or where babies are self-sufficient creatures who only need you for cuddles and kisses.
The best thing that you can change is your mindset. As a former depressed overwhelmed working mom, I advise you to find what works best for you and do it. My days are so much brighter and I feel a lot better now. It’s certainly worth trying.