Exhausted Mothers and Burnout Syndrome

Exhausted Mothers and Burnout Syndrome
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Written by María Hoyos

Last update: 21 December, 2022

We always want to have everything under control and, when it seems that finally we’ve got there, we end up succumbing to exhaustion. Trying to reconcile work, family, our love life, home, and friends is an increasingly complex problem. Our lives are get busier and busier as the years go by. More and more responsibilities pile onto our plate and we want to meet all of them. This is where burnout syndrome comes from.

Among the most affected by this syndrome are fathers and mothers, who sometimes see their own interests put to one side in favor of their children’s. If this is you, then the time has come to act. If we neglect ourselves, paradoxical as it may seem, we will end up exhausted, with no strength. We will also end up neglecting our children.

Exhausted mothers with burnout syndrome

People who have this syndrome experience intense, harmful stress due to their failed attempts to reconcile their family and social lives. It is affects mothers primarily, as they are the ones who have traditionally taken care of the children. Fortunately, now fathers are taking a more active role now. The downside of this is that they too are affected by stress.

Mother with burnout

The burnout syndrome that exhausted mothers develop is essentially very acute or chronic stress. It comes with the feeling that everything is getting to be too much for them. They feel like everything is going wrong and getting out of their control.

The strange thing is that feeling stress actually keeps us alive. It is the result of adrenaline or cortisol being released, hormones that in the past helped us stay alive or to run for our lives from a predator. The problem comes when this threat doesn’t really exist.

Nowadays the causes of our stress are very different, but our bodies continue to prepare us for primitive situations of survival. That is why it is essential to set good priorities.

What are the causes of burnout syndrome?

As we’ve said, the main cause of burnout syndrome is the stress of juggling the different areas of life. Family, friends, work, and relationships are all essential. However, when we can’t reconcile them, we get frustrated and angry.

Although it may seem ridiculous, we often think that we are able to get to work early, attend to our children, have a healthy life, get together with family once a week, go out at night with friends — and still be able to sleep. Unfortunately, we are not superheroes. We need to learn to organize our time more realistically.

How do I know if I have it?

How can you tell if you’re exhausted and suffering from burnout syndrome? The answer is simple. If you can’t sleep properly, if you’re getting obsessive in your thinking, and if you’re blaming everyone around you for your problems. You hibernate, not bothering with your social lives and instead just sleeping on the couch. This will lead to isolation. Loved ones may stop counting on you, and you’ll start to feel alone and guilty.

Mother with burnout

What should we do about burnout syndrome?

To solve the problem, there are some key things we should take into account:

  • Let’s accept that we cannot do everything. We are not capable of doing everything that we want to. Sometimes we think we have time for all our responsibilities and leisure too, but it isn’t always true.
  • This means of course that we have to start to delegate. We shouldn’t be afraid to leave different responsibilities in the hands of others when our health is at stake. Then we’ll be able to rest and pick those tasks back up when we feel stronger.
  • Some things simply can’t be delegated, and, even though we won’t like the idea, we may have to give up some of the things we really like. If we don’t have time to clean and keep our house in order, maybe we shouldn’t be thinking about buying a bigger one. Or as much as the children may want a pet, if we don’t have time for ourselves then maybe it isn’t such a good idea.
  • To organize our life, we must first organize our mind; we must establish priorities. There may be aspects of our lives that seem essential to us but, in reality, they aren’t. It’s important to think about what we could do without.
  • Don’t blame yourself (or others). Guilt is a feeling that prevents us from moving forward. Remember that even though our intentions may be good when trying to reconcile things, if we then don’t meet our goals, then it’s important not to blame ourselves. Instead, we need to try to come up with solutions and not blame the people around us, even if doing so feels good.

Enjoy the little things

We shouldn’t feel like a failure just because we don’t have everything under control. We can fit more in our minds than in our hands, and that is not a bad thing. In fact, our main objective should be to find time to enjoy the little moments, both on our own and with others. Let’s find peace and spread it.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.