mom burnout

Mom Burnout: It’s a Real Thing

DISCLAIMER: This article contains the use of “grown-up” words. 

If you have experienced the blessing of being called “Mom”, then you know exactly what the word “burnout” means…especially right now – mom burnout.

As moms (or dads) of this day and age, we have been required to conquer the impossible:

  • Make sure your kids eat a healthy and balanced diet, full of organic fruits and vegetables, limiting pre-packaged food and artificial dyes.
  • Make sure they have appropriate daily physical activity, promoting gross motor development.
  • Ensure there are opportunities for free-play and discovery, both with outdoor and indoor sensory components, and be sure to engage with your child during this time, fostering language development as well.
  • Make sure independent screen time is limited and developmentally age appropriate.
  • Make sure that your child’s mental health and well-being are discussed, and questions and/or issues are properly addressed.
  • Create an environment of honesty and trust, utilizing vocabulary pertinent to the information to be shared, and promoting positive mental health coping skills.
  • Don’t forget to floss those little baby teeth.
  • Also do every.single.one. of the above-mentioned things for yourself so that you can be a “good” example for your child.

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Those were our “normal” requirements on a daily basis. If you were on a walk with your children or at the park, museum, library with your kids, and you were caught on your phone, you have been judged.

If your child arrived at school with a small piece of candy in their lunch as opposed to the organic brand of fruit snacks, you have been judged (despite nearly equal sugar content in both).

mom burnout work from home

Parent Fails

Parents were deemed failures nearly every single day, with little sense or desire of understanding except those in the trenches with you. Though, oftentimes it may have been those in the trenches with you that we’re the ones judging you.

NOT. COOL.

During our pre-COVID lives, most moms were already flirting with the edge of their breaking point on a daily basis (or at least I know I was).

There were too many obligations.

Too many activities.

Too many expectations.

The Pandemic

During this global pandemic, we have been forced to go above and beyond the realm of our “normal” motherly duties. Oh, and become all of the things to our children, and without any of the resources or support systems.

Those self-care moments that we have preached to each other for years have had no space or time to exist.

Schools were shut down. The teachers that we already relied on to impart knowledge into the little minds of our children, were required to hand over the reins to parents who are uneducated in the ways of formal teaching and child development.

Extra-curricular activities ceased to exist. There were no “date nights” or “girls’ nights” or “babysitters”.

You got help and support if you were one of the essential workers that the world needed in order to keep it spinning, but no break from your hamster wheel either.

Moms and dads had new work requirements, as home offices became necessary to keep food on the table and bills paid, and we’re somehow supposed to continue to work AND care for their kids as though nothing had changed.

Work (and School) From Home

Personally, my sheltered little world during this roller coaster has afforded me an unfairly unique situation

I have a dual degree in Elementary and Special Education (though I left the world of teaching 8 years ago), so I at least have the tools I need to teach my children, even if the tools are a bit dusty and rusty.

I work from home and run our family business, which I have done so since we opened, so the work-from-home situation is not new to me.

working from home

The other small jobs that I do are completed when I make them fit into my schedule, thereby making my daily schedule as flexible as I can make it.

That means that I have the luxury of putting my kids first, whether that means their distance-learning or their need to have a day in the sunshine.

And yes, I absolutely consider that to be a luxury.  I think of the majority of the parents that I know that do not have that same luxury and are expected to give more than they could even *reasonably* have in their vault to give.

I don’t know how those parents are surviving right now.

For real.

If you are a full-time caregiver to your children and haven’t had one single fucking break in MONTHS, you deserve a trophy.

The time that you had previously spent filling days with fun activities that were planned to enrich the everyday life of your kids has shifted completely. The activities that were outside of the home are likely still shut down, and extra kudos to you if you have still managed to plan and prep creative and engaging activities for inside of the home.

You deserve a week’s paid vacation at an all-inclusive resort on the beach, and free childcare during that time.

You have more than earned it.

If you are a parent that has worked full-time or part-time, whether in or out of your home, during this shit show of a time in history that has impacted the entire world’s population, please know that you deserve a fucking trophy.  YOU deserve a week’s paid vacation at an all-inclusive resort on the beach, and free childcare during that time.

You have more than earned it.

If you are a parent that was laid-off or lost your job or business as a result of this horrendous reality, please know that you deserve the same all-inclusive vacation, but on an annual basis, because you have been forced to really figure shit out.

You have had to completely alter course and make major life changes.

As a result of the times that we have been living through during the majority of 2020, I truly believe that the requirements and expectations for being a parent right now have soared off the fucking charts.

Mom burnout is a completely real thing, and most, unfortunately, there are few prescriptions available for relieving the affliction.

Mom Burnout is Real

mom burnout working out

This article highlights Brené Brown and her expertise on the idea of Mom Burnout. She DARES moms to recognize the burnout that you are feeling and then carry out measures to decrease your burnout levels.

I know that when I am smoking from being burned for so long, I’m a real bit-…not a nice person. I am short with my kids. I raise my voice over small things. I am short with my husband. I retreat to my social media scrolling.

BUT…when I can sense it…when I am feeling the heat inside my body rising from crossing off too many items on my to-do list, and still feeling like I’ve accomplished NOTHING, I re-prioritize.

Re-Prioritizing

This has saved me more times than I care to acknowledge because it’s hard for me to admit that I’ve reached that breaking point, especially when there are so many others out there dealing with far more serious issues.

When I do re-prioritize, I take a serious look at my list of things that I need to accomplish. Do I *need* to do that task today, or can I make it a priority tomorrow?

This allows me to focus on what I MUST get through, and save the others for when I’m fresh, thereby making time for me to chill-the-fuck-out and remember the reasons why I’m trying to accomplish “the list” anyway.

I know that not everyone’s life/job/kids would allow the same process to occur, and there will always be times that are harder than others.

There will always be the times that I wish I just would have said “No” in the first place, instead of allowing myself to struggle through another day/week/month of the same bullshit.

What feeble offering do I have to offer you, fellow Mom Flame (get it, because you’re burning…?!): knowing that I am a part of your sisterhood.

There are lots of us out there. We all have varying degrees of “burning”, but we also have varying degrees of “flammability”, so some of us just handle more of the fire.

You Are Not Alone in This Mom Burnout

Please just know that you are not alone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and I can guarantee you there are other moms that you know driving the same struggle bus, every.damn.day.

During this unprecedented time of uncertainty and divide, take small comfort knowing that we are all just trying to figure it out. Trying to survive. Daring to thrive.

mom burnout prosecco

Pour yourself a glass of Prosecco (my go-to), let the kids have the screen time that they probably would not have been allowed 6 months ago, and know that it’s ok.

You’re doing great.

We’re here for you, Sis.

Jenelle S

Jenelle Stathes married her high-school sweetheart and they share their love with their three darling and fierce daughters. She works as the CEO of their small family business and as a group fitness instructor for a local gym. Jenelle was born and raised right here in Reno, Nevada, and is doing her best at living a non-judgy and tribe-loving mom life. She has experience with infertility, weight loss, body positivity, fitness, and most recently, a tummy tuck. You can follow Jenelle to laugh either with her or at her as she traverses through the daily adventures of motherhood.