Most mums find that tiredness and feeling burnt out is all part and parcel of parenthood.
Between feeding, changing nappies, making meals and snacks, doing the school run, disciplining, sleepless nights and running a household, it often feels like it’s a never ending job.
But how do you know when you’re mentally and physically exhausted and are too tired to mum?
Here are 12 signs that you need to take your foot off the pedal and ask your partner, mum or friends to help out and lighten the load for you. Mama needs a break!
12 signs you’re burnt out and feeling exhausted
1. You’re struggling to keep your eyes open
Months, or even years, of interrupted sleep is tough. But if you find that you’re struggling to keep your eyes open in the day while your baby, toddler or small child are awake then it’s important you ask your partner or family member to watch them while you have a lie in or nap.
Children need constant supervision and if mum’s too exhausted to do this then it could potentially lead to all kind of dangerous situations.
2. Forgetting everything
Mum brain is something all mums experience from time to time, but if you feel like it’s all the time and you can’t remember even the basic things, then it’s definitely time you called in some back-up and take a nice long soak in the tub.
It’s important your brain is rested and you feel focused, as it’s important that you don’t forget to buckle up your baby in their car seat or even leave them in the car because you’re feeling forgetful.
3. Bickering with your partner
Do you feel you and your partner often argue about whose load is bigger? Or do you feel like your partner isn’t doing enough to help? Tiredness can cause even those in the strongest relationship to bicker about silly things.
It’s important you talk to your significant other about how you are feeling and important for you to tell them that you need a break. Or maybe you need some couple time and can ask a family member or friend to watch the kids while you have some important couple bonding time.
4. You feel run down
Not having enough rest can cause your immune system to weaken and this can cause a cycle of feeling tired which then leads you to feel run down.
It’s important you take the time to recover properly.
5. Feeling hungry or forgetting to eat
If you’re still breastfeeding you may feel hungry all the time, and it’s important you eat healthy nutritious food. As tempting as it is to reach for the chocolate bars for a sugary energy boost, it’s important you eat well and don’t skip meals.
6. You feel like you’re on the edge
Lack of sleep can lead you to feel emotional and stressed. Mums who don’t get enough sleep may feel more anxious than ever. Try and rest as much as you can when baby is asleep. Ask friends or family to help watch the kids. If you still feel that you’re on the edge, then it’s important you speak with your GP. It could be a sign that you are experiencing postnatal depression.
7. You don’t have time to see friends
Your social life changes when you have a family and you can’t always get out with your friends as easily as you did before. That’s okay, it takes time to adapt sometimes.
Make arrangements for a dinner nearby while your partner watches the kids or invite your friends over for dinner at yours. It’s important you make the time to connect with your pals.
8. Sleepless nights
Kids may interrupt us at night for a number of reasons but if you find you can’t sleep and your baby is sound asleep, then this is a problem. Do you have lots on your mind? Write a list of things that are on your mind and deal with them one at a time.
Eventually, you will hopefully feel like you can sleep at night. If not, you should speak with your GP.
9. You have no time to yourself
Even if it’s just 20 minutes to have a bath or a cup of tea or read a book when baby is napping, it’s important you make time for yourself. The washing and cleaning can wait.
10. You are suffering from mum guilt
All mums suffer from mum guilt from time to time and all mums feel like they’re not doing a good job. The thing to remember is, you are!
If you’re feeling like this it’s a sign you care about your baby. You may be feeling like this because you are tired. No one is perfect and the fact you love your baby is the only things that matters.
11. Your to-do list seems to be increasing by the minute
Do you feel overwhelmed by what feels like a never-ending to-do list? Write everything down and star what’s really important then cross them off one by one as and when you do them.
If you need to go to the shops for groceries then save yourself time by doing an online shop. Meal prep when your partner is home so you don’t need to make lunch or dinner in the week.
12. You feel down all the time
Becoming a mother for the first time can be filled with anxiety and stress. This is completely normal for all parents due to the extent of change happening in both your lives.
If Postnatal Depression (PND) hits, those around you can also feel its effects. It is imperative you seek help from professional mental health therapists but it’s equally important that you get appropriately supported by family and friends.
Ask for practical support
While emotional support is important, you may find you also need help with tasks at home while you adapt to motherhood. You may be feeling overwhelmed, helpless and fatigued so reaching out is not an indication of any kind of failure as a mother.
You may find it’s helpful if your partner or family member assists you in the household chores, instead of doing them for you.
By helping you with activities such as bathing the baby, housework or going for a walk as a family, you are getting encouragement from your family instead of isolating yourself from the everyday activities of life and your baby.
First and foremost it’s important to recognise the signs of PND and get help from a mental health professional.
You are not alone, there are brilliant resources out there for you to get help.
Getting The Support You Need
One in seven women in Australia suffers from postnatal depression and one in ten new fathers also experience postnatal depression, says Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA).
If you or someone you know is struggling, then remember you are not alone. Have a look at our story on what every mum who has experienced PND needs to hear as well as our post natal depression archives for ways to get the help you deserve.
For more on the signs and symptoms of postnatal depression visit www.panda.org.au.
PANDA National Helpline www.panda.org.au – 1300 726 306
Beyond Blue www.beyondblue.org.au 1300 224 636
Join our Healthy Mummy support groups for support through other mums, judgement-free.
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