Dealing with “Mom Burnout” during the Pandemic
Lima James

Lima James

May 22Motherhood

Dealing with “Mom Burnout” during the Pandemic

The pandemic has brought about a lot of changes, and one of the most significant ones has been in the way we work; the way we perform in our occupations. For some, the change has been welcome, while for others, it has not been an easy ride. Working from home can be quite monotonous and tedious and the lines between a personal and professional life have turned out to be quite blurry. However, for many, the process has been easier due to the efforts of one inconspicuous person – our mothers, who have ensured that with their presence, our performance has not been hampered.

Many of you reading this may have a mother who makes sure that you get your meals on time for your break, that you demand a particular food item and she prepares it for you, or you might yourself be a mother, tending to the demands of the household. Whichever be the case, to state that the share of work has doubled for mothers worldwide would be an understatement. Before the pandemic struck, the concept of me-time for mothers was still handy, which seems like such an alien construct currently. Sending their children to school and their spouses to work meant that they get a breather in between, however, given the current circumstances, they seem to be constantly working. Not just cooking, other duties in the household, especially, cleaning, preparing for meals, washing clothes, caring for the elderly, are all responsibilities that majorly fall upon the mothers of the family. Facilitating studying sessions through online mediums, attending to the assignments and other course-related material of the children in the house is also a share of the work that increasingly falls on mothers and if they are unable to do that, their competency and role is questioned and judged. Especially in impoverished households, the burden of having a meal ready for their families also falls on mothers and this can prove to be too much, considering how grave the financial situation has been. Even for pregnant mothers, the joy of childbirth is absent because of the stress and anxiety of delivering their child, what with the burgeoning demand on the hospitals that pregnant women find themselves in. The fear of contracting the infection themselves or for their babies adds to their emotional difficulties. Mothers who are also working from homes, who are frontline staff, who live in joint families have tons of other aspects to take care of, adding to their anxiety and feelings of frustration and irritation.

All these demands and pressures mean that mothers are on the road to burnout and something that all of us may not even be aware of. Burnout is mostly a construct that is understood in reference to work-related stress and therefore, you may ask, how is this applicable to our mothers?

Burnout can mostly be understood as the outcome of excessive demands at work, resulting in making you feel exhausted, worn-out and drained. Such a state may lead you to feel like giving up and questioning your capabilities and work efficiency. Given such a background, it can be said with much assurance that our mothers may be experiencing burnout, but may find it extremely difficult to voice it out. Housework and child-rearing are also rarely considered as a “job”, contributing to the silence and stigma around the experience of burnout. In the context of the same, mothers find themselves constantly working, without any change for the past year. All members of the family being present, interpersonal relationships may also be strained and mothers may feel especially emotionally exhausted. The monotony may feel like drudgery and they may experience fatigue, distancing themselves emotionally and cognitively from the work demands. Being there for everyone in the family, mothers may rarely get time for themselves and in families that are very stringent and don’t have opportunities for relaxation, it may be extremely hard for mothers to open up.


Navigating burnout can be extremely tough, especially if you have never been introduced to it. But remember that you can always seek ways to reach out for help and lessen the impact of what you are feeling. Here are some ways you could try:

1. Reach out:

  • Talk to someone, share how you feel with someone you feel safe with.
  • Sharing your experience with other mothers may build a sense of solidarity, as they may also be going through the same and may not have the courage to open up.
  • Your sharing of your experience would possibly spearhead a space for others to join in.
  • If your financial situation aids you, you may also reach out to a therapist and may seek professional help for your concerns. Remember, help can always be found.

2. Allocate and distribute responsibilities:

  • Society does place a lot of unrealistic expectations on mothers, but you don’t have to cater to those.
  • Chores in the house are an equal responsibility of all members, and it does not have to depend on a single person alone.
  • This may be especially difficult if you are doing this for the first time, so start small – give specific instructions and involve other members in small activities, like folding clothes, fetching clothes from the washing machine, arranging the dishes and so on.

3. Be there for yourself:

  • Understand that prolonged burnout is extremely harmful in the long run, and this may be detrimental to everyone in the family.
  • Enforce your boundaries to all members; it can be difficult to do this, especially in a joint family, where criticisms and judgments about you can fly high.
  • However, they mean nothing about you and you are only preserving your energy. Take breaks whenever possible and engage in tasks and creative activities that interest you.
  • It would also be a potent reminder to yourself that you are also in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, and that things may not be as they used to be, so create realistic expectations from yourselves.

Final words

We really understand how tireless and thankless the job of a mother can be and celebrating a single day in your honour can never do justice to you. But we are aware of what you do, and we also realize the void we would all have in our lives if not for your presence. We are truly grateful for all that you do, and indebted to you for making our lives easier.

Disclaimer: This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

Proactive For Her is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalised, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer out-patient care, diagnostic services and programs for various health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause.