How to Prevent Burnout for Mamapreneurs
Being a Mamapreneur isn’t easy. You’re juggling soccer practice with email marketing, and you’re constantly putting out fires with both your business and your kids. It might seem like burnout, that awful drained feeling you’re left with when you’ve pushed yourself too far, is inevitable.
But it doesn’t have to be. Knowing how to prevent burnout is the key to staying sane while doing it all.
Know the Difference Between Mom Burnout and Business Burnout
The first step in preventing burnout is understanding the early warning signs. But this can be tricky for Mamapreneurs because mom burnout may have different signs than business burnout, and it’s important to be on the lookout for both sets of signs.
Everyone is different, but some common warning signs that you’re starting to get burnt out as a mom include:
a. Overstimulation: the feeling that everything that touches you in sandpaper and every noise in an alarm
b. Activated Flight Response: the urge to get in your car and drive away
c. Exhaustion: drinking more coffee than usual just to get through the day
d. Inability to Relax: feeling tense, even when you have a moment of down time
e. Irritability: snapping at loved ones over every little thing
Some common warning signs that you’re starting to get burnt out as a business owner include:
a. Understimulation: the feeling that nothing is interesting to hold your attention for more than a few seconds
b. Activated Freeze Response: the tendency to freeze up any time you have to make a decision in your business
c. Increase in Social Media Usage: staring at your phone all day, pretending to be productive
d. Perfectionism: feeling like nothing is good enough
e. Scatterbrain: the feeling that everything is the most important thing; inability to prioritize.
Being able to recognize these signs will help you prevent burnout from escalating and creating even more problems.
Create a Support System
Moms and entrepreneurs alike need support systems to make their goals possible, but this is especially true for Mamapreneurs. At the end of the day, you have three key resources: time, money, and energy. Juggling both kids and a business is going to wear you pretty thin in all three areas, so to prevent burnout, you’ll have to arrange a support system to give you extra help.
You might be able to score some free babysitting from in-laws, or you might be able to order dinner once a week to give you a night to work more.
To save money, try using the free version of everything you can when it comes to business, and don’t be afraid to go generic when it comes to kid supplies. Coupons and discounts can also be a great resource for both business and parenting.
If you need to save up on energy, make the most of naptime. If you’re most productive at night after the kids go to bed, but you’re always too exhausted to work, try taking your own naptime.
Speaking of naptime, let’s talk about the Mamapreneur sleep schedule.
Prioritize Your Sleep
If you’re constantly exhausted and on edge, looking for the secret of how to prevent burnout, this is it.
Sleep is the key to preventing burnout for several reasons. First, we need rest to be at our best. It sounds simple because it is, it just isn’t always easy. With kids to raise and a business to run, sleep might start to fall pretty low on your list of priorities, but if you want to prevent burnout, you need to fix that real quick. You need to rest in order to have energy, and you need energy to do all of the other things on your to-do list. So sleep comes first.
The second reason you should prioritize sleep as a Mamapreneur is for the creative benefits. According to scientific research, sleep helps the brain incubate ideas, coming up with more creative solutions than if we tried to push through without sleep. Creativity is an essential aspect of both business and parenting, so this benefit should not be ignored.
Seriously, mama, go get some sleep.
Find a Helpful Balance Between Structure and Flexibility
The key to parenting is flexibility and the key to business is structure, so what’s the key to being a Mamapreneur? Finding a helpful balance of both.
What does this helpful balance look like, though, and how can you realistically achieve it?
Here’s my relatively simple system. Take a look at everything you do in a day, both mom and business duties, and split everything into six categories: necessary, helpful, energizing, unnecessary, unhelpful, or draining. If anything falls into both the unnecessary and unhelpful or draining categories, then toss it. Get it out of your daily routine by any means necessary. Then do what you can to increase the amount of necessary, helpful, and energizing things you do in a day.
This loose structure allows for enough flexibility for realistic parenting and entrepreneurship, but it provides enough structure to keep you on track toward your goals.
Practice Thinking Helpful Thoughts
How many other Mamapreneurs find themselves stuck in negative thought spirals, starting with something like “Dangit, I shouldn’t have done that,” and ending with “What’s wrong with me?” or “I’ll never be able to do this.”
These spirals happen, and I think it’s okay to just feel your feelings of frustration sometimes. It’s okay to be frustrated. The Mamapreneur life can be hard.
But sometimes we just want the negative thoughts to stop. If that’s the case, then I recommend having a prepared list of more helpful thoughts you can think instead. Right now, right down 5 helpful thoughts that are sure to disrupt your negative thought spirals.
These thoughts don’t have to be ultra-positive, they just have to be a little less negative, just something different from the spiral. Something like “I am an adequate parent and person,” or “Nothing is wrong with me, this is just hard.”
Remember That Mistakes Are Okay
Finally, one of the best ways to prevent Mamapreneur burnout is by accepting that you’re going to make mistakes, both with your kids and with your business.
Mistakes are okay. They are the only way we can really grow. As nice as it would be to do everything perfectly the first time, that just isn’t possible. We have to get messy, make mistakes, and apologize when those mistakes cause harm.
And then we need to move forward and try again.
How to Recover from Mamapreneur Burnout
So what should you do if you can’t manage to prevent burnout? How are you supposed to recover?
I recommend following these four steps:
- Identify whether you’re experiencing mom burnout, business burnout, or both. It’s easier to recover once you know what you’re dealing with.
- Ask for help. Ask your partner or a friend or family member to watch your kids for an hour or two so you can move on to step three.
- Take a break. Do a mini-spa night, take a nap, make something creative, just give your brain a break from entrepreneurship and motherhood.
- Reset your brain with gratitude. Remind yourself why you’re thankful to be a Mamapreneur. What do you love about business? What are some memories with your kids that bring you joy?
Wrapping Up: How to Prevent Mamapreneur Burnout
Some days it might feel like burnout is just the price you have to pay to be a Mamapreneur, but it really is possible to prevent burnout. It doesn’t have to be hard all the time. With some awareness and acceptance of our needs, we can take care of our businesses and our babies without losing our minds.
About Our Guest Author:
Megan Griffith (she/her) is a professional mental health coach and blogger. Her blog, Healing Unscripted, helps readers with depression and trauma, and subscribers get access to extra healing resources through her free Validation Station email newsletter. When she’s not writing (which is rare), she is usually going on walks with her husband and son or dying her hair another outrageous color.