How do you avoid burnout as a wife, mom and SM?

believerNovember 4, 2008

There is quite a variety of women here on this forum and the step parents forum. We range in age, education, job status and economic back grounds. What remains the same is that we are care givers to our husbands and children. How do you ladies avoid getting burned out? I am in a serious state of burn out and don't know what to do about it. How do you guys handle this? What do you do to replenish yourselves when everyone comes to you for the giving? I'm so tired.

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Pray. Make myself go out alone and get involved with other people interested it the same hobby I have.

I did not avoid burnout. Going out and making time for me to do a mentally stimulating activity that was not related to care giving was something I took up after being seriously ill from exhaustion. It took nearly dying for me to straighten out the imbalances in my life. I am very grateful to God to still be around. Burning out realigned my perspective and my relationships.

Making time away for yourself is a must. Asking for help is a must. Trying new arrangement and seriously doing less and prioritizing your household and lifestlye so you can do less is important.

Put yourself on your list of people who have needs and are valuable. Many women I know have gone through periods where self care was a concept that didn't even exist for them. (It happens to men too but looks more like withdrawl from family responsibilities when they are overwhelmed with the work of providing. Different look, same basic reason often.)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 2:41AM
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Good friends. A few women I could call after dinner and say "let's go get dessert or coffee." Or just call while I'm cooking/folding laundry/dusting/waiting on a kid's practice and chat.

Learning to say no. To DH, the kids, the school, etc. I can't do everything. And even when I *can* do something, I don't have to. I say yes only when I am willing, then my heart is in what I'm doing and I don't feel burnt out.

Escapes. The book store or library for me.

Awareness of my own moods. So I know when I'm starting to get worn out and do something about it before it feels overwhelming.

My own goals. In the past I've had community projects that were important to me, and my family knew it and cared. Right now it's my classes/tests to get my teaching certificate again, and my family knows it and cares.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 8:51AM
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Learning to say 'no' and realizing that taking time for 'you' is not being selfish.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 12:33PM
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I "got out of town." I learned that just being far enough away for a few days, so that is was a long distance call home, made a huge difference. I'd go stay at my sister's home, and use it as a base for some low key sightseeing, antiquing, reading, dozing, etc.

At that time, I had (have) three kids, a husband (now an ex), and parents - mom had dementia, who all needed a lot of attention. Being out of that house for a few days made a huge difference and was pretty much free (thanks to my sister). My parents and friends helped my XH with the kids and everyone did just fine, and I knew it.

Having a few days for myself away from the house and all the responsibilities it entailed helped quiet all the thoughts racing around my head. You know the ones - all the decisions, responsibilities, obligations, etc, that you think about all day and wear you out at the end of the day. A big part was the realization, that for a few days at least, they could get along just fine without me!

Now, when I visit my DD, SIL and grandchildren (7 months and 3 years) in Texas every few months, I try to make sure my DD has a chance to get away without the kids, even for a few hours, to run some errands, etc, and that she and her husband get out by themselves for a few nights for dinner and a movie or an afternoon for whatever.

It's important to recharge your soul.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 7:41AM
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I am just starting to plan a trip to Arizona to visit my 1st SD33 in February. She will be getting married this month in Hawaii. It will be after the holiday rush and by then I will be really tired of the winter here. I live in Nebraska. I won't go unless I can stay in a hotel. I need my space especially with my pain issues. I will have a new grandson, now 4, so it will be nice to meet him and spend a few days playing grandma. It'll also give me time alone. I emailed SD last night and tossed out my plans to see if that will work with them.

Having the disability that I do can keep me in my room for days. With the winter approaching I know that I have to have a plan. I usually put myself last on the list and I have to change that. Life is not very pleasant when it's all about what everyone else needs. I really need some refreshing. I think I need to come up with some things before then too. I don't see my friends very much any more and I miss them. Just a weekend away would do wonders...I would love to go alone. My DD's BF manages a hotel in town so I should see if he can hook me up. It would be great to go with DH but we have no one to watch SD10.

Dh and I had a date night every week until he started classes. Of cours they fall on the night that we would go out. Now he has so much reading to do that we hardly spend any time together and when we do he falls asleep. That gets old. We've been married for 3 years and he acts like it's been 25 sometimes. His idea of romance is changing a light bulb!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 8:24AM
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Break all the light bulbs and have a candlelight dinner until you both can run to the store and buy new bulbs!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 10:33AM
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That is so cute!!!!! We joke about the fact that he is romantically challenged! He is the best fix-it guy on the planet but if you were to send him out to buy me something feminine or romantic....forget it. That gene is missing!....:o)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 1:42PM
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"We've been married for 3 years and he acts like it's been 25 sometimes. "

ummmm... we've been married for 28 years, and I'd like to know what you mean by that!

Our romance level is as high as it ever was (and it is pretty darn good!!).

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 8:26PM
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western....pass on your tips to me please! My hubby gets up at 4 a.m. ish.....gets off work at 2:30 p.m. and is quite tired. He has a sleep disorder. The two kids get out of school at 3:30. We are never quite sure when the 20 year old will be home from school and/if she will then go to work. The 16 year old is in and out of the house and calling on the phone to check in with mom. The 10 year old goes to bed at 8:30. DH is falling asleep by 9:30. DH has a 3 hour college class once a week, mandated by employer. The studying for that takes a lot time. He is on call 24 hours a day for his job. I like to stay up until at least the 16 year old gets home.....not late on the week nights but later on the weekend. I can't get up and see DH before he leaves for work. We had our date night on Wed. night until the class started.

I am not being sarcastic when asking this.....when does a couple with kids that range in age from 20 to 10 and a job and school after work find time to be together? What are you doing? There is no doubt that we are in a rut. It doesn't bother him as much but it bothers me. Having married as a blended family we didn't have time without kids. It seems we never have time to spend together unless we watch a movie at home and pause it for the phone calls, pause it to put daughter to bed and then shortly after that DH is in bed.

Any suggestions from any one would be appreciated. This is a bit off the original post of feeling burnt out but it's part of it I guess.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 11:22PM
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Believer, one thing that you said stood out for me. It's that we are the caregivers for our husbands and children. Does your husband take care of you too? We can't do it all. Make sure he understands you need some "me time" to decompress, maybe in the bath with a book and a glass of wine, or taking a walk with a friend, or going to the gym or the movies...

As for the phone calls, put the phone on mute. When you get up to use the bathroom or get more snacks, check to make sure you didn't get an emergency call from the kids.

Put your daughter to bed earlier, with a reading hour or something. Start a babysitting swap with other moms so you can have a night together, even if you are just at home in bed watching a movie.

It sounds hard. I hope it gets better for you.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 12:05PM
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i did go through major burnout and kept it to myself when i should have discussed with my husband. he was the type that listened and tried to help with any problem i was having. i was tired of putting everyone before my own needs and wants. tired of keeping my mouth shut when i wanted to put my foot down regarding his kids. on top of that my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. i did what i had to do as long as he was alive. it was a rough time in my life and it is what has convinced me never to marry again.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 2:57PM
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If you guys read my other post you will see that I'm struggling with other issues. I think I wear my heart on my sleeve too much. I'm going to work really hard at putting my self first. Getting enough sleep, going to the "Y" and swimming first thing after the kids are off to school and walking with my dogs. I told my husband this and he is supportive. He is really a good man.....takes him a little while to get me sometimes but we love each other dearly. The different ages in the kids is a challenge but we are blessed with really great kids. I have to focus on the positive more often. Right now I'm feeling a bit like the world is taking a big dump on me!!!LOL

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 4:32PM
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No big secret or earth-shattering tip....

It has been my belief that you always find time for what is important to you.

DH and I decided early on - when our first was a newborn - that 'we' are important enough to devote time to.

It was a priority for us.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 6:04PM
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I think...that whoever could really find the answer to this question would be a millionaire! Cuz it IS hard,maybe not ALL the time,but everyone has times when they want to just throw their hands up in the air and say,"I give up!".

I agree with majority here,that you just have to MAKE the time.For yourself and with your mate.It's a juggling act,sometimes hard to keep all your balls in the air!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 2:36AM
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