Parenting Burn-Out and Chaos!

Did you ever feel that homeschooling or even just parenting little ones should be FREEING, in a sense, but that it is not?  I mean, after all, every day COULD be a blank slate of whatever you would like it to be!  How disappointing, then, sometimes, when you realize that you are busier than when you worked outside the home.  When you realize that your schedule is way too full.  How disappointing when you can’t say no to things. How disappointing when your house is always a disorganized mess.  And that knowing that  burn-out is always there in the background (and sometimes in the foreground?) – we won’t even mention that!

If you have ever felt like that, then this post is for you.

First of all, please be easy with yourself.  The mothers I see that are hardest on themselves are the ones with babies ( “I should be doing just what I did before I had a baby!”) or the ones with multiple children under the age of 7.  Be easy!  Your most important job is to take care of them, and also yourself! But part of doing this is developing your own will….read on!

If your children are under the age of 7, in order to take care of yourself, you are going to need to ask for help and  to plan ahead. That is hard for people, but that is the only way it is going to happen.  Ask your spouse for help!  Ask a grandparent!  Ask a friend!  “Honey, could you please take the children to the park for an hour and a half so I can do some homeschool planning for fall?”  “Honey, I know you worked all day and you are tired, but this pile of clean laundry is driving me crazy! Could you please help me put it away?”  “ I really need to get some stress out.  Could you watch the children so I could go walk for half an hour?  I would feel so much better!”

However, in order to ask, you have to know what you need!  And I find many mothers are down so low, they don’t know where to start or what even to ask for help with!  Meditate, make a list – what are three things that would  make your life better right now?  Start there.

I have one for you that probably would make your life better (outside of exercise for yourself!): how about getting rid of STUFF?  It is hard to be restful with too much stuff.  If every room has too much furniture for the size of the space, if every flat surface is covered, if every closet and drawer is bulging, then it is time to start there.  It is hard to pay attention to your children,  to plan for homeschool, to do homeschool, if there is stuff everywhere.  And your children cannot rest in rooms that are overflowing!

But in order to get your own  house in order, you have to be HOME.  What would happen if you took a two week vacation and just said “no” to outside things, and made a huge dent in getting your house in order?  Really go through things and get RID of things. 

What would happen if over the summer you just planned to be home?  What would happen in the fall if you plan to be out one day during the weekdays (this is not including the weekends) and otherwise you were at home?  What would life look like then?  Babies, toddlers, preschoolers, really do need to be home – a walk around the block, playing in the neighborhood, being outside; yes- but really at home! 

Perhaps you can meditate on this and find the middle road, the common ground that really works for you.  Start small if that is where you are, but conversely, don’t be afraid to jump in and make a big change.  Your life, after all, should work for you.  If you are feeling resentful, stressed, not happy – change it, you are in control of at least some of it.  And your own attitude you are fully in control of!

Many blessings,


11 thoughts on “Parenting Burn-Out and Chaos!

  1. Hi Carrie
    I have been waiting on the promised post on developping your own will 😉
    Staying at home is not a problem, and I am in “Autum Cleaning” mode, but asking for help and for what I really need is still the biggie.
    What your blog has been teaching me is to be easy with myself. During my professional career I have twice suffered complete burn out, I know as mother I can’t go down that road again and I am finally finding tools on your blog to help me set boundaries and limits for myself. Your constant reminders that the under 7-year old child imitates what we do is really important for me – I do not want my children to copy this behaviour. So I am changing.
    PS Although I have yet to reach 10 compliments a day to my husband, I have found that by giving a few compliments and being more appreciative he is more open and supportive. So on to the next step, asking for help. 😉

  2. What words of wisdom Carrie. I’ve often pondered the reality that the “home” in homeschooling has disappeared! It takes tremendous courage to protect our family life and say no to the (even seemingly worthwhile) opportunities that we meet each day. I have been working on setting boundaries and protecting my family life for a few years now and there is such FREEDOM in that!

  3. What a timely post!
    As I am about to deliver baby number two, I am in full nesting mode, when I am not too worn out to move about…., so getting rid of stuff is a real biggie for me! I have been getting rid of things since the fall and managed to cut down immensely on all the things in and around the house. I still have quite a ways to go yet but I highly recommend this to everybody, it is such a liberating feeling!
    Things can really way you down!

  4. It’s such a pleasure to read your words, to be reminded of all of these things that help. Today I am cleaning off the flat surfaces and bulging drawers. And staying home. Love it, thanks. Looking forward to all of your posts.

  5. Great post! I often advise and blog about the same *simple* steps to taking charge of our lives and our selves, taking steps to own and create our happiness.
    I know you have a lot of readers, so I’m glad they are getting the word!
    I have really been enjoying your blog since I found it a few weeks ago 🙂

  6. As others have said, so timely!

    My problem is that usually I don’t know who I would ask to help:

    a) Husband- when he is home, I want to spend time with him, talking with him, and playing with our son together.

    b) Friends- when we can finally coordinate our schedules, I am with (local) friends so we can have adult conversation, while letting our little ones play together, or getting groceries together.

    c) Grandparents- well, my family lives in another state, and we get together with my husband’s family on occasion for dinner & Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.

    Sometimes I don’t want to be around other people, or even want to let my son out of my sight- we really haven’t spent much time apart (he’s 9.5 months) and he’s at the stage of separation anxiety, as well as teething (4th tooth cutting through), and a growth spurt.

    I also don’t know what I need- I know what I want, but it feels selfish. I want time to write. I want to meditate. I want to hike alone. But unless I am quite apart from my husband & son, it’s, “Mommy, he needs you!”

    I am constantly working on getting rid of the clutter, but then it just sits around in bags until I can bring it to a consignment shop. (We could use the extra funds.) I’m unable to sleep during the day, but find myself going to bed when he does- which again means less time with my husband.

    Oh well, at least I can practice slowing down my breathing. 🙂

  7. As a husband, I feel great pride in what my wife provides for our family and her focus on homeschooling our children.
    She has an enormous responsibility and I believe that she is totally capable of providing an excellent educational experience and surround.
    I am not a mind reader and so it’s vitally important that she communicate with me what her needs are on a regular basis – even though we “know” each other quite well…..let’s leave nothing to chance!
    I appreciate your blog tho I rarely see men/husbands respond… on behalf of all the husbands – wives/mothers, TELL us what you need, don’t keep us guessing.
    For those husbands who are interested in continuing to develop their own character as a role model for our children, I have found this link/blog to be a wonderful starting point for my own daily considerations –

    with my busy schedule and considering how much i enjoy spending time with my family, my meditation time needs to be concise and to the point with a specific daily focus…it keeps me on track.
    Thanks for your continued writing Carrie. Wives, pick out specific brief pieces for us husbands to focus on – and remember we love you and what you provide for our families!

  8. I have just come over from “Planning with Kids”. I was giving myself a hard time yesterday, because things were so up and down with the kids, and I just wanted it to be “UP”! Looking back now, (hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it!) I think I did pretty good considering I was doing everything by myself from morning till evening with four kids 9 and under (hubby is out in the evenings one day a week).

    It is a shame are so much harder on ourselves.

    I’m just going to take the good things from yesterday, and bring it into today!


  9. Pingback: Doing Things Differently – An Update! | Planning With Kids

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