Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Review of "Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life And Raise Healthier Children In The Process" by Dr. Sheryl Ziegler

This is probably one of the most important books I'll talk about this year so I'm going to try and do it some justice. 

All of us that parent beyond the non-mobile baby years know what burnout is. All of us. It's a terrible song we all know the words to and yet most of us never sing it out loud; Mommy burnout.

Motherhood has been the most defining, most inspirational thing for me. It's also been the hardest, and it's the most important thing not to mess up. That's beautiful. Also, it's stressful. 

My acrylic work a few months after I had my third child.

Whether you work and care for your family, or care for your family fulltime, or work from home and care for your family, none of that matters. We all get hit with it. This book offers some biological reasons why (a little surprised it didn't mention things like parenting being more stressful because of the economy, which makes parents struggle to give their kids a boost more, but that's probably a different book...) and, are you seriously ready for this? 

It gives you some ANSWERS to HELP. 

Unlike those articles you have been googling to see why you are chronically irritable, exhausted, stress-eating, feel overwhelmed by parenting and can't seem to get anything done for yourself. Those contain tips like "have someone come help" as if we could magically pull an assistant out of thin air or afford to hire one. The truth is if we are experiencing burnout, we probably DO NOT HAVE THOSE RESOURCES, thanks. 

This text is broken up into chapters that refer to Dr. Zeigler's clients' experiences (she is a Doctor of Psychology and a licensed counselor) and they are really well-written. You'll find yourself on these pages, and you won't like what you see, but you aren't supposed to. That's how change happens. 

It truly makes a point to offer help and advice after walking you through those scenarios. 

Advice like connecting with your friends again, which many of us find hurtfully impossible in daily life, to avoid over-focusing and intensely mothering our kids. Women need each other, our relationships make our lives easier, better, and even longer. A long time ago, you wouldn't have parented without that companionship. It's one of the suckiest things we've lost in the modern age: our ability to get together and support each other. 

Other tips include things like: avoiding using technology as an addiction to destress, give back with charity work, understand that your spouse can support you, and should, but that they can't give you what your friends can, and for the love of cheesecake DO THINGS FOR YOU. Things that take care of you and make you happy. 

I know you feel like you don't have time. 

I have zero help (I probably need to work harder to ask for it, but that's a different story), I have a health condition, I write and paint from home while taking care of three kids, and my husband works in emergency services. "No time for you" is how I have run my life for years, especially after having a sick baby and a special needs child. I'm probably not looking at leisure time for a good long while, but taking care of myself has to happen. And when I feel the familiar pain of not wanting to do things I loved or being so overwhelmed I could cry and eat ten Reese's cups, I know I have to prioritize myself. 

And truthfully, your kids need to see it. They need to see how to overcome the overwhelming everything that comes with loving someone this much and wanting everything for them. 

They need to know how to make and keep friendships and value other people, and how to share responsibilities and how to take care of others without becoming a martyr. Maybe by being conscious of it and honest about mommy burnout, we can show our kids a faster and healthier way out of it so it's not something they deal with as parents. 

And that's why this book is worth its weight in gold plus some. 

Read it, share it, talk about it. Because it's so important to have a real dialogue about this. The ending chapter even offers you some hashtags to start uniting and start a much-needed conversation. Check it out for sale on Amazon here and look for it at your local library. 

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