What to do when your ‘mummy mojo’ has been hijacked
Self-care needs to be at the top of the priority list for new mothers before the risk of being hijacked by ‘mummy burnout’ is too great.
With even the most easy going baby needing at least nine hours of ‘hands on’ care every day (and night), it’s no wonder new mothers are constantly exhausted.
But it’s when your efforts at being a ‘good mother’ are at risk of being hijacked by ‘mummy burnout’ – a state of total exhaustion – that we have cause for concern, says Lactation Consultant (and mother of five) Pinky McKay.
“Whether you have one baby or several children, the intensity of meeting everyone else’s needs can ever so sneakily overtake your own needs for self-care,” she says.
“You can start to feel as though you are ‘quarter arsing’ everything – being a mother, a partner, a friend, a worker. And then you start beating up on yourself, thinking things like, ‘Am I a horrible mother to want a hot cup of coffee once a week or that I want to eat a sandwich without children crawling on me?'”
“And then, almost suddenly it seems, feelings of being overwhelmed or ‘lost’ can start to hit,” she warns.
New mothers need extra support
Pinky stresses the importance of ensuring new mothers are taking care of themselves.
“Make time for a health check,” she says. “When you have grown a baby, breastfed, and been sleep deprived for months or even years, this can deplete your body’s stores of essential nutrients.”
“You need to remember that ‘superwoman’ doesn’t exist, so it pays to make time for a health check before you totally crash.”
Another thing to remember, says Pinky, is that all parents need support to feel happier and more confident.
“Honest support from other mums can ease the load,” she says. “Find a supportive mums group, or share parenting with a friend – fold washing together, cook a batch of meals together, watch each other’s children while one of you has a rest or does something for yourself.
“It lightens your load, you have social interaction and it will boost feel good hormones that can help protect against stress.”
Pinky’s top tips for preventing ‘mummy burnout’:
1. Delete, delegate and simplify – ask your partner, family, or even older children for help. Remember to be specific as they aren’t mind readers!
2. Banish performance anxiety and take a break from social media. Stop comparing yourself with everyone else’s ‘A game’ as it’s a sure fire way to feel inadequate.
3. Schedule one fun activity a week, whatever that is, just for you.
To hear more from Pinky on how to survive the early days with a new baby, tune into her podcast here: