School starts at 8:45 a.m., but you woke up at 5:30 a.m. to prepare for a meeting you have at 9 a.m. and to make lunches and breakfast, make sure backpacks are packed, teeth are brushed, and go to the store to buy the snacks you just learned last night, at bedtime, that you need to bring for the class party.
Once the kids are at school, you realize you forgot about your breakfast, but you have that meeting. And then another one, and a project to finish, maybe you can eat after that. But now the school nurse is calling, and your boss is calling, who do you answer and who do you send to voicemail? Hint: There’s no right answer.
Lately, life has felt like a constant game of tug-of-war where everyone needs you for something, all the time. You’re stretched too thin, and you’re burnt out.
But guess what? You’re not alone.
According to our 2023 Amplifying Women at Work Report, 67% of the respondents said they were experiencing moderate to severe working mom burnout.
Burnout typically refers to the emotional, social, and physiological effects of a chronic stressor – often work-related – that can result in mental and physical exhaustion, mood changes, irritability, and feelings of disengagement and dissatisfaction – just to name a few.
For many working mothers today, the day-to-day responsibilities of a career paired with the never-ending to-do list and expectations of motherhood can accelerate this path to burnout.
If you feel like you’re burning the wick at both ends, here are some tips to help extinguish working mom burnout:
STRIVE FOR WORK-LIFE INTEGRATION
Attaining a perfect work-life balance has become a proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Everyone seems to be chasing it, but does it exist?
Work-life balance is described as the ability to maintain a healthy balance between time and energy dedicated to one’s work and personal life, while also ensuring that neither aspect of life overshadows or negatively impacts the other. The emphasis is on finding a way for the two to exist separately, but for many working moms in the creative, marketing, and digital space – this is simply not a reality. On the flip side, prioritizing a work-life integration focuses on blending personal and professional obligations to better coexist together.
While work-life integration may not be feasible for every working mom, examples of work-life integration might include:
Scheduling family time on your work calendar, giving it the same priority that you would a work commitment
Instead of trying to fit exercise in before or after work, use your lunch break to take a brisk walk or attend a workout class
If you need to leave work early to take a child to practice, consider using that time to respond to work emails you missed during the day
Lean on block scheduling by mapping out key times in your day and assigning tasks to each block
Many women find that blending responsibilities this way allows the flexibility they need to manage priorities without having to sacrifice personal or professional goals.
OUTSOURCE WHAT YOU CAN
From making sure there is always toilet paper and snacks stocked and dental cleanings scheduled – the invisible labor working moms take on – can be exhausting on its own.
As the saying goes, time is money. And if you’re experiencing working mom burnout, paying a little extra to outsource things you both don’t want to, and don’t have the time to do, can be a welcome reprieve.
Depending on your budget you might consider hiring a house cleaning service (even if it’s just once a month), utilizing grocery delivery apps, or subscribing to meal prep delivery solutions.
If you’re looking for ways to outsource without the added cost, consider developing a network with other parents who you organize carpools and childcare trade-offs with. You can also check in to see if your local YMCA chapter offers any free or discounted afterschool programs. And if your children are older, it might be time to start assigning them chores. This will not only help lighten your load but teach them valuable lessons about responsibilities. Depending on their age, chores might include taking out the trash, feeding the pets, helping with dinner, doing the dishes, and folding laundry - just to name a few.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Understand your capacity before committing to extra obligations. If it’s a busy stretch at work and your child’s school is asking for volunteers to help judge the science fair, it’s OK to say no. This goes for social activities as well. You do not have to say yes to every birthday party, playdate, or dinner invitation. If you’ve had a long week and need the time to recharge, be mindful of when having too much to do on the weekends is adding to your stress.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
One of the most common pieces of advice many new mothers receive is to nap when the baby naps.
Perhaps you’re a new mother, reading this and thinking to yourself what so many mothers before you have discovered. Sure, naps are nice. But that precious naptime also happens to be the only time you have to do, well, anything.
Bottom line, nap, or no nap, taking time for yourself is easier said than done. Especially when there is a mountain of stuff to do. But learning to take time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, is a critical tool in combatting working mom burnout.
This time might be something you incorporate into your routine, such as waking up before anyone else to enjoy your morning coffee, reading before bed, taking 10 minutes a day to practice mindfulness, or prioritizing a daily workout. And depending on your unique circumstances, this might also be something you schedule out far in advance. Hiring a babysitter and planning a date night, a long hike, or a weekend road trip with friends. Another idea is to plan a do-nothing day or weekend, where you coordinate a sleepover for the kids with family or friends, so you can have a night alone to catch up on your favorite show, a good book, or whatever helps you relax.
DROP THE WORKING MOM GUILT
A majority of working moms surveyed in our 2023 Amplifying Women at Work report said they were experiencing personal and professional guilt. Sixty-six percent said they felt personal guilt that they were not able to do as much at home because of their workload, and 60% said they felt professional guilt that they were not able to do as much at work as they were before they had children.
Counter negative self-talk about where you believe you’re falling short with self-compassion and reminders about how much you’ve accomplished in your career and as a parent.
Developing friendships and seeking out mentorships with other working moms within your professional network can also be helpful for support and in reminding you that you’re not alone.
HOW 24 SEVEN CAN HELP
As a female-founded and majority female-led company, 24 Seven is intimately familiar with the issues that matter most to women and working moms today.
If working mom burnout has you feeling like it’s time for a change, consider working with 24 Seven to help you pursue a fresh start in your career. Whether you’re ready to venture out on your own as a freelancer or find a new full-time position, our specialized recruiters are ready to help you simplify your search.
Our team is connected to a vast network of organizations in the creative, marketing, digital, fashion, beauty, and retail spaces looking to hire highly skilled professionals just like you. Our team often knows of positions before they’re even listed, and we will work as a free job resource for you!
Browse our open jobs and contact a recruiter today!