Mother’s Burnout Syndrome

Mother’s Burnout Syndrome

Last update: 13 April, 2018

Although motherhood can be really rewarding, unfortunately sometimes it can also be excessive work. Mother’s burnout syndrome is a good example of how difficult it can be to be a mom.

Mother’s burnout syndrome affects many women when it comes to raising their children. It occurs due to the stress and fatigue that comes along with the responsibility of caring for a baby.

This syndrome is characterized by a chronic depressive state. In the most severe cases there can be very unpleasant consequences.

That’s why it’s a much more serious problem than simply fatigue or temporary depression.

The syndrome is a result of the physiological, emotional and psychological exhaustion that occurs from the accumulation of repetitive moderate-intensity stress.

The most frequent symptoms of mother’s burnout syndrome are sleep disorders, weakness, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, head and back pain.

Phases of mother’s burnout syndrome

1. Emotional exhaustion

Each person has a defined stamina for physical and psychological energy.

Mothers’ daily responsibilities usually take up all of their energy until they reach the moment when they feel completely exhausted.

During this stage the mother might feel a sensation of anguish due to the countless tasks she must carry out.

Mother’s Burnout Syndrome

2. Emotional detachment

In order to protect and take care of her little ones, a mother may establish defense mechanisms.

She might continue performing her daily tasks mechanically, however it won’t have the emotional investment that it should.

As a consequence, the mother might feel distant from her child, husband or daily life.

3. Reality

The last phase of exhaustion is probably the most worrisome. At this point the mother realizes the growing breach between what she imagined as an ideal motherhood to the actual reality she’s experiencing.

Reality clashes with the idealized concept of being a perfect mother.

During this chaos the mother might feel as if she’s failed. This implies a loss of confidence and it can even result in aggressive behavior towards the child.

Main causes

Taking care of your child and home is a real job and sometimes mothers aren’t valued for their labor.

Women who go back to work might not have the time nor energy to face all of the tough situations at home.

Sometimes, this exhaustion is due to searching for perfection. It’s important to keep in mind that perfection doesn’t exist.

Don’t try to be a perfect mother. Y ou’ll need help and understanding while taking on the great amount of tasks you’re responsible for.

The great disappointment

The reality of motherhood is completely different from idealized fantasies. The difficulties and responsibilities are immense.

It’s important to get rid of the concept of the “ideal mother.” Motherhood in reality is composed of both good and bad moments.

“There is no way to be the perfect mother, there are a million ways however to be a good mother”

Jill Churchill

Who can get the burnout syndrome?

There is no typical profile for who is susceptible to this syndrome.

In fact, mother’s burnout syndrome can affect women of any social status. It can also affect both first-time mothers and experienced ones.

This syndrome can occur at any time. It can occur right after the birth of a child or many months or years later.

Mother’s Burnout Syndrome

There are a few risk factors for maternal exhaustion such as having twins or having several children who are around the same age.

These cases imply an important increase in the mother’s workload and it can lead to maternal exhaustion.

Single mothers may also be prone to suffer from this syndrome since they may lack the support they need to raise their children.

How to get better

The most important and effective way to improve is to realize there is no such thing as a perfect mother.

Don’t hesitate to share how you feel with the people around you. You can even share what you’re experiencing with other mothers.

If you feel like you need the help of a specialist, you should consult a psychologist.

The delegation of certain tasks to family members or your partner is also recommended.

In the case of single mothers, you can find support in your family and friends. Daycare centers can also be a great help.


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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.