“If they ask me for something one more time, I’m gonna scream.”
“I miss my old life. I miss being a woman. I’m not a woman anymore, or a wife, I’m just a snack dispenser.”
“I’m so bored of this. I’m sooooo booooored. I’m SO BORED.”
“All I do ALL DAY is clean and then evening comes and I make dinner and afterwards I’m exhausted and I look around the house and the entire thing is a shitshow again. It doesn’t even last a day. It barely lasts a few hours. I’m so sick of it.”
“I can’t handle the constant whiiiiininng anymore. I miss being spoken to like a human being.”
“I can’t wait for life to just slow down a little bit, just enough that I can organize my thoughts.”
These are just a few of the things I thought or said aloud to my partner last week. It was a doozy. And I might be waiting for it to “slow down a little” but I’m also keenly aware that it’s not going to. I’ve been cruising steadily towards burnout for six years and I’ll keep on cruising for many more.
I need help. I need to ask my community here for ideas how to avoid burnout when you don’t live near family. For those of you who moved away from family or don’t have a large family, if you are somehow able to avoid the deep, deeply felt burnout of never having a break from your children, how do you do it? How do you avoid the burnout?
And I know what so many of the mothers of the older generations will say: the laundry can wait. The house doesn’t need to be spotless all the time. Slow down and be present and take a breath because it all passes by so quickly.
But here’s the thing, it can’t wait. It’s too much. We are five people generating a colossal amount of dirty laundry, dirty dishes, dirt dirt dirt. We have recycling to be sorted, garbage to be taken out, meals to be prepped, groceries to be picked up, kids to be dropped off, school, ballet, football, art class, work, yard work, spring bulbs to plant and fall leaves to rake, holiday presents to add to wish lists so that magic can be generated for memories. Friends to check in with, emails to send, PAC meetings to attend, homework to check, rooms to be tidied, bedding to be washed, bums to be cleaned, hair to be braided, fundraisers to be donated to, and after all of that has been taken care of, time and energy must be mustered so that I can find something for me, some kind of hobby or project so that I don’t lose my mind the way I’ve already lost myself.
Anyway, I may not know who I am anymore, but I still know what’s important to me: family, friendship, community care. Learning and growing.
So please let me learn from you; teach me how to combat burnout. Help me grow into a functioning, happier mother (and hopefully, eventually, a person) by telling me what works for you so I can try it and see if it’ll work for me.
I’m gonna go do some laundry now and I’ll check back later to read your gems of wisdom 🙂