I Can't Breathe - An Inside Look At Motherhood Burnout

Alright, it’s time to spill the tea! I recently came across a book at my local library that was a complete game changer! It had me so fired up that I was ready to march the streets with bras on a stick, shouting FREEDOM, like Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

Ok....maybe that’s a little extreme but it was the awakening that I have been needing; that I have been searching for. The book, Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim You Creative Life in a Too-Busy World by Eve Rodsky, will forever remain rent free in my head. Eve lays out the truth that we all need to hear. While this book can be for everyone, Eve speaks a special truth for mothers. As a mother herself, she has a lot of great insight.

Eve started writing this book during the pandemic. When the pandemic hit, many mothers experienced an increase of “burnout”. We have already been feeling this way at one point or another but the pandemic only seemed to fuel the fire we have been trying to put out. When everything shut down, parents were working from home. Eve says in her book, “parenting and domestic duties increased for women by 23%. There was little to no increase for men”.

Now before we go any further, let me just say this, this is not a war on men. This is not us saying men do not do anything or are not valued for what they do for their families. This IS, addressing an issue many women feel on a daily basis. Which is what inspired me to create this image. It is a truth to me and a truth to so many women. It’s not talked about enough and it needs to be. We need to be able to express these deep and heavy issues. We need to know that we are not alone in feeling this way and most importantly; we do not have to continue living this way!

Photography. Creative Photography. Black and White Photography. Mental health. Motherhood. Mom tips. Chicago Photographer.

As mothers, we wear very many hats. There is mom, there is leader of domestic duties, there is wife, daughter, sister, aunt, career woman, taxi driver, etc. Where is our PERSONAL hat? Personal hat??? What does that even mean? Exactly! In a 24hr period, where do we fit in, as an individual? As a freaking human being??? We forget we were a PERSON before we became a mom, a wife, an adult. That beautiful person gets lost in translation when we take on responsibilities. I created this image called Identity Crisis based on this concept. Who are we at the end of the day? After parenting, working, cleaning, cooking, homework, bath time, bed time, and the 35th request for water due to toddler dehydration (if you know, you know). We are losing our identities in the depths of responsibilities.

Photography. Creative Photography. Black and White Photography. Mental health. Personal development. Motherhood. Mom tips. Chicago Photographer.

As society continues to shift, our responsibilities seem to grow. Mothers are constantly feeling tired, stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, and frankly burned out. If they could just have 5 minutes to just BE.

We seemed to have it burned in our minds that motherhood is black & white. You MUST be doing x, y, and z in order to be a good mother. If you are not then you are a bad mother. Good mothers keep clean houses, good mothers do all the things for their children with a smile on their face, good mothers can work but not too much; career driven mothers are damaging their children. All of these toxic expectations we carry and are consequently fighting for air. We are suffocating.

If I am being honest, I felt like I suffocated the entire year of 2021. One of my most successful years, but inside I struggled hard. I struggled with having a busy career, being there for my kids, blaming myself for having a messy house, not being in better shape. Now how many reading this are nodding their heads in agreement? I’m going to guess most.

I went into this year with the mind set that I was going to have another successful year, feel more present with my children and come up with a better system for the house. I just needed to find a way to do so without feeling like I was lost and suffocating. Que this book. This book saw me at the library and said, “I see your frustrations Jennifer and I raise you a solution!”. Wait what?! Don’t tempt me with a good time!

Now don’t be fooled. This isn't some magic solution that solves all the problems with a flick of the wrist. It will take work, but it will be worth it! The problem is not that we don’t have the time to have some time to ourselves. To relish in the things that make us who we are. We are not making the time. Period. Eve explains that we need to carve out time for just us. To do something that inspires us as an individual, that represents our soul. It can be once a week, for 30 mins, an hour, all day. Whatever works for us. We have to give ourselves permission to do so.

One of my favorite parts in the book is when it explains that we need to say this, “I grant myself permission to burn guilt and shame”. YES! We all know mom guilt all to well! Mom guilt is garbage. Burn it and throw that garbage away. My children deserve to grow up seeing a mother who loves who she is unconditionally. If we cannot love ourselves how in the world can we love others? They deserve to see a mother who works hard for the things she wants in life but also knows her self worth, to take care of herself and also enjoy life. They need to learn what healthy boundaries are and the importance of them. They need to learn the power of saying "NO" and most importantly it does not make yo a bad person for saying no. They deserve to see this so when they go out into the world, they too will be adults who love themselves, that work hard for their dreams and love the process. And you know what? You kids deserve this too. All kids do. In the grand scheme of things, we are not raising children, we are raising adults.

So for the past 3 weeks, I have been taking an hour for just me. To create things just for me. I am working on dreams I’ve always wanted to do, but told myself I never had the time. So what, I will just never make them happen? I only have the one life, so what am I really doing with that life?? Here’s what I can tell you, I am living a life that is not black & white. It is filled with endless colors of possibility. I will be busy but I will be breathing. I will be serving many roles, and one of those is Me.

I was honest with my husband and kids. I didn't tell my kids to just leave me a lone for an hour because I said so. That doesn't even work when I try to take 2 minutes just to pee. Instead I had an honest conversation with them. "Mom needs to take a little time for just mom. It's important that I do this so I too can do something I really enjoy. So I too can feel happy and relaxed. It would mean so much to me and be so helpful if you guys would help me with that". Most kids respond better if they know the WHY behind it and deep down they love to help. Make them feel special in the process, that they had a role in it some how.

Now depending on your kids' ages, that may be easier said than done. Some of you may have to leave the home to get that space. Others may have a spouse, family member or friend that could take the kids to do something fun while you have that time. Eve does an excellent job in breaking down all the possibilities and what option may work best for you.

I have only been doing this for a couple of weeks but in the process of doing so, I have written my first children's book! Something I always thought would be fun to do, but I'm a mother, who has time for fun?? Well I do now! There will be upcoming blog posts with more information on the book!

So go to your local library, book store, wherever you get books and read Find Your Unicorn Space. Run, don’t walk, run!

35 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All