Tag Archives: mommy burnout

Mommy Burnout – Health Tips

As promised, I want to give you some simple things to try for the fatigue and lack of energy that can be a big part of parenting – the mommy burnout.  There is no doubt that parenting is the biggest fullest time full-time job there is, and to be clear I’m talking about daddy burnout too. You are the bottom line of responsibility and that can be a difficult weight to carry – especially when you’re up at 4:00 am for the fourth night in a row with a coughing child and you know you have to be functional at 7:30 for work. There are some things that you can do to help maintain your energy level and bolster the reserves. Too many parents forget to care for themselves while they are busy caring for baby.

B vitamins

It sounds too simple to be effective but B vitamin deficiencies are very common, especially in women.  There are several B vitamins, but I think the easiest way to get them is in a B-complex, simply because the deficiency symptoms overlap and the functions overlap, so if you’re low in one you are likely to be low in others too.  Make sure you’re getting a B-complex with 5-MTHF instead of folic acid because some of us (the MTHFR mutants) can’t convert the folic acid into the active form. Symptoms of B vitamin deficiencies include:

  • Fatigue, low energy, weakness
  • Depression, memory loss, difficulty thinking or brain fog
  • Rashes, cracking skin, seborrheic dermatitis
  • Anemia and elevated homocysteine in the blood.

If you are already taking a B complex but you’re still having fatigue one of the quickest pick-me-ups out there is B12 liquid or B12 sublingual.  They can make a world of difference and give you an immediate energy boost. Again with the mutant problem – if you have an MTHFR issue or the related MTRR that changes the way you methylate B12 then look for the hydroxycobalamin or methylcobalamin forms.

Vitamin D

Surprisingly, up to 75% of Americans are deficient in this common vitamin.  In theory, we are able to manufacture vitamin D from our body’s cholesterol in response to sunlight.  In reality, we just don’t get enough sunlight.  Between skin cancer awareness, which has increased the use of sunscreens, sunglasses, and hats; and demanding schedules that don’t allow for outdoor time we are starved for this vital nutrient.  Your doctor can test your blood levels and suggest a therapeutic dose based on those results.  Generally, 2000IU per day is a good starting place.  Vitamin D helps you with fatigue, depression, maintaining healthy bones, protecting against cancer and boosting your immune system in general.

Hormone Balance and Rebuilding

Pregnancy is one of those life events that literally takes everything you have and then some.

In terms of priority, your body will give your developing fetus nutrients instead of saving them for you in order to make sure that the next generation has a good start.  This is a great system, just as long as you are taking care of yourself and working to get those nutrients built back up.  It is best to work with your practitioner on this one because every woman is different.  Some women notice declining thyroid function, some women develop blood sugar issues, for some women the adrenals bottom out and some women’s sex hormones never seem to recover.  It is best to have a whole protocol specifically for you, but here are some basic ideas to get you started:

  • Shatavari – this ayurvedic herb is an adaptogen for female sex hormones. We spoke about adaptogens in a recent post, but this one helps to normalize estrogen and progesterone. So if you’re low, it boosts you up and if you’re excessive it calms things down. Amazing.
  • Iodine – this vital nutrient is often deficient in the modern diet, especially since a lot of people no longer use iodized salt because sea salt is generally healthier.  It is found in high concentration in sea vegetables, but if you’re not getting a lot of those then it might be a good idea to supplement because pregnancy uses a lot of it – it’s vital to your baby for brain development – and women are often left deficient.  Iodine is necessary for your own brain and also for healthy thyroid functioning so boosting your iodine can boost your energy too.
  • Magnesium – this mineral helps your body relax for a restful sleep and also helps your adrenals – your main get-up-and-go glands – to function.  If you’re lacking it might show up as restless legs, restless sleep or muscle cramps.

In great news, if you are looking for any of these, you can now order professional grade supplements at a 10% discount right here.


Yes, I know.  It sounds too simple to help, but mild dehydration is the biggest cause of fatigue, headache and the afternoon slump.  If you’re trying to lose weight it’s good to remember that it’s also the number one cause of the “hunger” signal. Also, if you’re still nursing, then your body is using more than normal. Just remember to drink 8-16 oz of water every time you pass through the kitchen.  It’s a small change that adds up to big benefits.  Water is easy to forget to drink when you’re running errands, running around after toddlers, or just running in general.  Take a bottle of water with you everywhere (please no BPAs and no plastic water bottles if you can avoid them – plastics release hormone disruptors which are the last things your body needs.  I use a glass bottle, but there are great options in ceramics and stainless steel as well.)  Drinking eight 8oz glasses per day is the general rule of thumb but always try for more.


Melatonin has to be one of my favorite things.  This is the hormone in your body that makes you feel sleepy at the end of the day.  It is also the hormone in your body that opposes cortisol (your wake up/stress hormone).  For parents, this can be a godsend.  I have seen so many parents in the clinic who seem to lose the ability to fall asleep easily because they are stressed, overwhelmed, thinking about problems or just can’t wind down for the day in spite of the exhaustion.  Melatonin is a simple, safe quick fix that will help your body get into that sleepy place simply by taking it before bed.  It also acts as an antioxidant for brain tissue, which is a great bonus effect. After all, protecting the brain is always a good idea.  The standard dose is 3mg and if this isn’t enough it’s safe to double or even triple.  Also if your baby wakes up at night and needs you, you will still be able to get up and respond (although you may be a little groggy).  It’s a great alternative to sleeping pills and can really help you to maximize whatever sleep time you have.

Happy mommy means happier baby. Just remember that when you're battling your own mommy burnout.

We want parenting to look like this, but often it looks just like the woman in the video above.  “They want everything you have “. Just remember that when you’re battling your own mommy burnout.


Homeopathy isn’t generally a one-size-fits-all type of medicine. It’s tiny doses of something that would cause the same symptoms if you took it in a toxic dose, which then helps your body to understand and move through that process.  In a perfect world the remedy should be matched perfectly to your symptoms, but in the case of post-partum depression and typical mommy burnout stress and anxiety, this one is a pretty reliable win.  Sepia helps with the irritability that comes with constant caretaking.  The feeling that if everyone would just leave you alone for 20 minutes you might be able to function without snapping at them.  The urge to cry, or run, or lash out because your kiddo is quite literally hanging on you and you really just need a minute.  Those are pretty reliable parent feelings and sepia is a lovely, gentle aid. The 30C strength is sold commonly in health food stores and 3 pellets can be taken under your tongue as needed.

I know nothing fixes the overwhelming schedule, demands and stress of being a parent, but I’m hoping this will at least give you a little bit of help and support.  It’s also a great reminder to me to remember that even though I’m busy being mom I get to have needs too. 🙂 Feel free to leave comments on how this is working for you, or if there are any areas that you really need support that I didn’t address.

Mommy Burnout – Some Tips

I have a confession to make about this mommy burnout thing. It’s happening. It’s me.  I’m writing this to myself, as much as anyone, simply because I’m the fortunate mom of a hilarious, joyful, loud, energetic 18-month-old who is teaching me all about mommy burnout. Historically I’m a workaholic and know all about other kinds of burnout, but I could always retreat if needed.  Stop and regroup and rest because I was always choosing to work so hard.  Now, not so much. Just like every other parent out there, the choice is no longer mine. I am often reminded of my childhood best friend and her family when I think of mommy burnout, mostly because she has three high-energy kiddos and I have learned a lot by watching her parent – um… especially on a group camping trip. Believe me, I can’t think of anything more vivid than three swimming, singing, climbing, jumping campfire-roasting kids and two dogs who follow them through all the muck that entails.

I am honestly awe-struck by how well some people, like Laura, juggle the responsibility of a full-time career and three busy kiddos at home, and I’d like to share some of the things that I observed in her that I think would be useful for the other moms I see (myself included).  Don’t worry, my next post will also be health-related things you can try, not just parenting things. Mostly I want to say as long as your kiddo is fed and loved, you’re doing an awesome job. The rest really is mostly details. Just don’t forget to take care of you too.  Also, to clarify, mommy burnout isn’t confined to mommies. It’s really parenting burnout. Lots of this is obvious, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing it so pause and take a minute to remind yourself how to be nice to yourself too. Here is what I’m going to call “Laura’s List for Avoiding Mommy Burn-Out.”

  1. Important things are important – the rest can go hang.  So, it is actually important to maintain discipline when your kiddo decides he or she wants to play with the hatchet and to stick to an absolute NO.  It isn’t so important when they want to play rock band using a badminton racket instead of a guitar.  Firm clear discipline involving action and consequences matters when something is important – like a threat to safety.  It isn’t important when it’s just loud and fun.  Save the big loud angry reaction for times when it’s necessary.  If the kids are just being loud and unruly, like kids are, then don’t worry about it.
  2. Don’t expect kids to be mini-adults – because they’re not. It is easy to fall into the habit of expecting kids to behave like adults, especially in places like restaurants.  It’s easy to expect them to be quiet and sit still and have nice table manners, but the fact of the matter is that the things that matter to adults don’t matter to kids.  This isn’t carte blanche to allow your kids to rampage through a restaurant, but it is a reminder to keep your expectations realistic –  kids are kids and they are going to do kid things (and that’s the way it’s supposed to be).

  3. Take time for you – nobody else will. The thing that impressed me most about Laura and her husband was that they both manage to take time for themselves even in a full-throttle 24 hour kid day.  Laura is not (and never has been – I can attest to this) a morning person.  She and her husband have worked out a system that involves him handling morning duties while Laura takes time to wake up slowly (usually with the help of a good book) and Laura handling most of the evening stuff while he gets to relax.  I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen automatically and at some point, they both had to value themselves enough to establish ground rules. Lots of parents, especially new parents, forget that they matter too, and this is key for sanity.

    Happy mommy means happier baby. Just remember that when you're battling your own mommy burnout.

    Happy mommy means happier baby. Just remember that when you’re battling your own mommy burnout.

  4. Nap when you can – whenever you can. Seriously. Lots of people have stigmas about day-time naps equating to laziness, but that idea needs to go right now. No matter how awesome your kids are they are still kids.  They wake up in the night and need you, they fall out of bed, they have nightmares, they are just kids. Not only that, they often get up earlier than you do.  Parenting means sleep is on short supply so learn to sleep whenever you can – whether it’s a 20-minute cat nap or a 2-hour nap while the kids are gone somewhere, learn to prioritize sleep more than housecleaning, extra work projects, and the like.  the better you feel on a daily basis the more you will be able to accomplish, so sleep whenever you can and whenever you need.
  5. Let your kids be kids without your input. This is a hard one for the parents who hover and helicopter around their children (as the child psychology books advocated for smarter kids with higher self-esteem). The point is, your kid doesn’t like it, it is debatable whether this helps them at all, and it will wear you down to the bone faster than anything else in the world.  Kids learn and grow by making their own mistakes (even when it means skinned knees and bruised pride), by finding their own solutions to problems (even if there are better solutions out there) and by finding their own way through conflicts (even if that ends in tears and tantrums).  You burning yourself out as a parent and micromanaging your child’s environment, relationships and emotions won’t help anyone and it’s the surest way to drive yourself (and your kids) crazy.
  6. Remember your actual responsibilities as a parent and forget the rest. The basic obligations of parenting are the things you absolutely have to provide for your children and these are incredibly important.  Make sure you provide these and the rest is just gravy.  Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to give gravy all the time – you get to be human too.  As long as you give your kid the basics – food, safety, shelter, and unconditional love for them exactly as they are.  Everything else is extra.
  7. Eat. You need balanced meals too, not just the bites of things the kids leave over or the random items you can shove in your mouth between activities.  Take time to eat real food including fruits and vegetables.
  8. Maintain your own life, your own interests, and your own identity. Your kids are the biggest part of your life, but they aren’t your whole life and it puts too much pressure on them if you try to force them into that role.  Also I see a lot of parents who end up “blaming” their kids for all of the ways that they themselves don’t feel fulfilled as a human being and for the things they “gave up” (even if the kid never wanted that in the first place) and that isn’t anywhere near fair.  Make sure you are maintaining your own identity that isn’t based on your kids – it’s based on you and who you are and what you do as a person.
  9. Get help when you need it. Nobody can do it all alone and you are no exception.  Ask for help if you need it, whether that is from a daycare, a babysitter, a school, an after school program, your spouse, your family or whomever.  Everyone needs a break every now and then and there is nothing wrong with that.  You just have to remember to ask for help.
  10. Support your body just as much as you would support your child’s if they were struggling. Your kid isn’t the only one who needs good medical care, good food, joy and good sleep.  You do too. It doesn’t help your kids in any way for you to burn yourself out.  Treat yourself just as well as you treat your children and it will all work out great.
Save yourself from mommy burnout (or daddy burnout). Here's some friendly reminders.

Save yourself from mommy burnout (or daddy burnout). Here’s some friendly reminders.

Now – I completely recognize that this is all so much easier to say than to do because we all have a whole lot of real-life to deal with. I also think that when you’re wrapped up in 26 hour days and running on no sleep it’s easy to forget the basics, so this is a friendly reminder to everyone out there who is struggling to be the best parent they can.  Just remember sometimes it’s really enough to just be there, keep your kid safe, and allow the chaos to happen.