Worklife Balance

Addressing Burnout Among Working Mothers Once and for All

Common factors contributing to burnout among working moms and strategies to address them

Working moms often face a unique set of challenges that can contribute to burnout. The combination of managing a career, household responsibilities, and caring for children can be overwhelming. In today’s blog post, I am sharing some common factors contributing to burnout among working moms, and strategies to address them.

Not surprisingly, “a higher percentage of women leaders (43%) report feeling burned out compared to men at their level (31%).” – Source Source: Runn.io

Addressing burnout usually requires a holistic approach that considers both work-related and personal factors. As a #lifestrategist and #careercoach I help my clients create success systems to navigate their day to prevent stress and fatigue.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that goes beyond simply overworking. For working mothers, it often involves a combination of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion resulting from prolonged stress, lack of balance, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Additionally, cynicism or detachment from work, reduced productivity, and a diminished sense of personal accomplishment further exacerbate feelings of burnout.

Understanding Context

Webster’s Dictionary has two definitions of burnout that help us to better understand this occurrence

  1. exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration
  2.  the cessation of operation usually of a jet or rocket engine

The first definition speaks to exhaustion of strength and motivation. It also tells us that cause. Per the definition, it is the result of prolonged stress and frustration. As we know from the definition of exhaustion, “a state of extreme physical or mental fatigue”, fatigue contributes to exhaustion which in turn reduces our strength and motivation. I could go on for days defining definitions within definitions but I think you get my point.

I share all of this to help us understand WHAT we are dealing with so that we know HOW to address it in our lives.

The second definition of burnout is more of an engineering definition, specifically for engines. This definition, “the cessation of operation usually of a jet or rocket engine”, describes when something stops. Thinking about the consequences of a jet or rocket engine stopping should trouble us all, especially if it is in flight! So too should the thought of us experiencing burnout.

I also found this interesting Washington Post article that goes into great detail on the history of the work and the context in which it was first used. The history of burnout, from the 1970s to the Great Resignation – The Washington Post. It’s interesting and a quick read if you are curious.

Contributing Factors

Contributing factors include:

  • Juggling career demands and family responsibilities can lead to a lack of balance, making it difficult for moms to find time to refuel.
  • Limited support leads to stress and challenges for managing multiple roles.
  • Unrealistic expectations and personal standards can create necessary pressure.
  • Unsatisfactory or stressful work environment.
  • Lack of systems and routines that reduce stress and fatigue.
  • Lack of health and wellness routines to support holistic well-being.

The above list of contributing factors is not an extensive list but it does cover the more prevalent factors that cause burnout for working mothers. Feel free to share additional factors and your experience in the comments.


Addressing Burnout Once and For All

Addressing burnout usually requires a holistic approach that considers both work-related and personal factors. Here are some strategies you can implement to prevent and manage burnout. I prefer to provide practical insights that enable stress reduction, structure, and

Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and home life. Prioritize tasks, delegate when possible, and schedule regular breaks for self-care.

Mental Health Matters: Don’t hesitate to seek professional help or counseling. Mental health is crucial, and addressing any challenges early can prevent burnout.

Planning: Planning is a valuable tool for preventing burnout as it helps moms organize their time, set priorities, and establish boundaries.

Professional Development: Seek opportunities for professional development that align with your career goals. This can enhance job satisfaction and reduce feelings of stagnation.

Healthy Coping Strategies: Identify healthy coping mechanisms for stress, such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, or creative activities. Practice these regularly to build resilience.

Communicate Your Needs: Advocate for yourself and express when you need support.

Addressing burnout requires care and attention. Working mothers need to understand what this phenomenon is so they can properly address it through customized strategies of their choosing.

What strategies will you implement to properly address burnout once and for all?

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