Parenting is a serious task and a full-time job. It respects no weekends, vacations, or nightshifts.
It requires constant learning, and many times it can make mothers feel like they are at the edge of themselves. Just by the end of the 1st year of your life with your child, the average mom loses close to 700 hours of sleep.
So when do you know if it is just lack of sleep, or if you are facing mommy burnout? Today we will analyze the signs, as well as stages of this syndrome.
The 5 Stages Of Mommy Burnout
According to Procaccini and Kiefaber, from Dobson’s book , parental burnout has five progressive stages:
The “Gung-ho” Stage:
This stage is determined by “compulsiveness”. Moms try to do everything themselves, and they don´t ever let their child under somebody else’s care. This stage is very common in ASD moms because ASD children have specific needs that only they can meet.
What to do: Analyse how can you practice new hobbies, and how you can allow your husband or family to get more involved in the child’s needs.
The “Doubt” Stage:
At this point, moms have been giving themselves fully into motherhood. Day in and day out with no breaks. They are starting to behave a little cranky, and there is occasional yelling, irritability, and exhaustion has started.
What to do: Ask yourself when was the last time you got good sleep, and hand your child over to someone( for a few hours) so you can have some needed me time. If you feel like you are taking way too many things upon your shoulders, postpone some tasks and prioritize yourself.
The “Transition” Stage:
This stage receives its name because this is the point that will determine the family`s wellbeing for the years to come. At this point, mothers feel depressed, tired, angry, and many times discontent with their lives. Sometimes they blame their children for this unhappiness.
What to do: Determine how you can bring people to help you out? How can you get out of that circle and have more time for you?
The “Pulling Away” Stage:
At this point, moms will pull away from their families and friends. A good sign of this stage is the fact that mom has developed a “deafness” to her child. If the child is yelling she doesn’t seem to hear him/her anymore. She may overreact violently and punish wildly and may have feelings of anger and guilt as she has moments where she feels like she’d like to ‘hit’ the child, or worse.
What to do: If you find yourself yelling and overreacting ask yourself if those feelings come out of your child`s actions or out of your frustration. At this point is important to seek help.
The “Final” Stage:
Procaccini and Kiefaber call this stage the ‘chronic disenchantment’ stage, characterized by confusion and apathy. This is the moment where the mother realizes that her life has no meaning, and loses all sense of accomplishment and realization. Weeks can go by without anything exciting happening to her. A sense of apathy has taken over her completely, and depressive thoughts are recurrent.
What to do: If you have a sense of running away, or wanting to disappear this might be your stage. We urge you to seek help and to get counseling.
Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is NECESSARY! Let go of the guilt of attending to yourself and your needs and please allow yourself to receive a small fraction of all the love that you selflessly give away daily. You deserve all the love in the world, thank you for being so strong and courageous. You are a true champion!
At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with stem cell therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation and improving overall brain functioning. Contact us and join an autistic community of support and companionship.
Remember, you are not alone!