First Degree Burn(out)

It's Sunday, my friends. 

I don't know about you but I am exhausted.  I feel as though once Spring actually came, we were so deprived from the long cold winter and being stuck inside for month after month, that we went outside and barely stopped moving for fear we'd find ourselves hibernating again in the cold before we knew it.

And here we are.  Spring came late and left early - chased away by Summer and all of the activities that it brings.  Between baseball and lacrosse, dance recitals, graduations, summer bbqs, and the go go go in general, Summer was gone in a blink.  Back to school started a new type of whirlwind with adjusting to new teachers and students and schedules and soccer.  Every weekend packed full of stuff....stuff to keep us busy, stuff to provide photos for Instagram and Facebook for all to see that we are important people that are on the move and keeping up with the Joneses. (I'm speaking in general, tongue-in-cheek terms, here). Suddenly, it's October 19th and we've baked all we can for fall festivals and last day of soccer games and craft fairs and and and freaking and.     We. Are. Exhausted.

But wait....there's more.

There are bills to pay.
There are houses to clean.
There is a mound of laundry to be tackled.
There is ISIS.
Political Campaign Calls.
Notes from school bearing news of Lice, Strep, Croup...etc.

Is it any wonder we are fried?  When this is the song that's playing in our heads on a daily basis, of course we're going to be burned out!  GOTTA GO TO WORK- GOTTA GO TO A MEETING- GOTTA HIT THE BANK- NEED TO GET GAS -HAVE TO MAIL A PACKAGE- THE KIDS NEED A CHECKUP- I SHOULD COLOR MY HAIR- WE'RE OUT OF MILK- I JUST READ ON FACEBOOK THAT MY FRIEND'S AUNT'S COUSIN'S ROOMMATE FROM COLLEGE WAS ON A PLANE WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS EBOLA-I FORGOT MY GRANDMOTHER'S BIRTHDAY-THE GARAGE DOOR IS BROKEN-WE SHOULD GO TO CHURCH SUNDAY BUT NONE OF THEIR CHURCH SHOES FIT....  Maybe it's not all of the things we have to do in any given week that stresses out, but the THOUGHT of all of the things we have to do.  Maybe we over think things - maybe we just need to realize so much of this isn't even in our control and just learn to let it roll and take it as it comes.  Ha! Easier said than actually done.

We, as parents, have to keep moving forward, keeping up with everything and everyone, and life in general.  We cannot lag behind.  There is no one to push us in a stroller, or hold our hand to pull us along and keep us focused on the treat at the end of the day - no - only we can do that and sometimes, damn it, it's hard.   This is when I feel like I'm suffering from First Degree Burnout.  I say First Degree because it's uncomfortable, but not dangerous.  But the fear of Second and Third Degree Burnout startles me.  That feeling when you want to give up or you have given up.   I am somewhat comforted by the thought that we all must feel that way at some point, right?

Look, I know life is hard.  As a middle class mama, no matter what I complain about, it does sound like First World problems compared to so many in this world that suffer, but that doesn't minimize our struggles.  Parents are parents.  We want our children to be okay, to be healthy and stay healthy, to have kind friends and wonderful teachers, to be good friends and respectful students.  We want them to do their best, be their best, and above all, be happy little ones.  But let's face it, we are afraid for the world we live in.  We know too much, and in their little faces we see innocence and want to protect them from the ugly that's all around us.  We are tired - and rightfully so.  We are all just doing the best we can and sometimes in the midst of all of that we get a little lost and a bit weary - and maybe that's why winter comes just when we need it most.  It's like a way of forcing us back in the nest to settle in earlier, cozy up on the couch here and there and just exhale. 

I love this quote.

Getting burned out is something we all experience - some of us weekly, or monthly, or yearly or if you are really lucky - longer than that.  We care so much about our families and our homes and our jobs - our communities, our world - that we exhaust ourselves and our minds and even our souls with the worry and exhaustion that comes along with caring.  We go to bed completely wiped out every night with a thousand scenarios dancing in our heads - did we forget this or that - what's on tap for tomorrow - what if someone gets sick - what if ...what if...what if?  Shhhhh....we try to quiet our minds and thankfully, and most of the time, we are so tired that sleep takes us quickly.  If we keep going like this - like the Energizer bunny on crack - we get a mandatory time out by way of illness - cold, fever, whatever.  We've got to stop thinking this kind of go-go-go is temporary and realize it can and will become a way of life if we don't slow it down a little.  How many of us are walking around cranky, irritable, tired, worried, and weary and feeling like there is NO TIME for anything - and whatever there is requires what feels like an unbearable amount of effort.  Have you ever heard the beginning of the depression commercials when they ask "are you worried, sad, tired, depressed...blah blah..."  well most of us answer yes to all of the above.  An emphatic Yes to it all.

So - what do we do?  Isn't that the million dollar question?  I only know what I have been doing lately to survive.   First of all, with the whole Ebola thing - read the facts, educate yourself and free your mind of the bombardment of media.  Once you've done that, you are not a prisoner of fear of the unknown anymore.  Other scary stuff - I continue to live my life in the most happy, carefree way possible - and know that when it is my time to go, I will go and there's not much I can do about that other than not play in traffic or text and drive.  I can at least NOT encourage my time to come get me earlier by making smart decisions.  As far as the state of our world, country, state, city, community - - - I take baby steps and volunteer my time for two non-profits in my area that provide much needed help to children in need.  By doing this, I am taking my worries, and my woes, and my frustration for how things are - and putting them to good use in results I can see with my own eyes.  Seeing the smile on a child's face when they get a new pair of boots, or coat, or snowpants, or get to go on one of our scholarships to basketball camp or get a hockey stick with our funding - THAT'S what helps put salve on my burns.  Do SOMETHING that helps SOMEONE.  This is the greatest gift you can give yourself and others.

Turning to friends and family and laughing and enjoying life is the great first aid, too.  You need these people to support you and encourage you and help you through the craziness. Just knowing you are not alone in the Marathon of Life helps more than you know.

The holidays are coming and I beg you, instead of letting them stress you out and continue the cycle of burnout - commit yourself to simplicity and helping others so that you might find solace in return.  We are the only ones who can restore our strength, fill our tanks up with positivity, and fight the good fight.

Until next time, find some relief to your burns, and know we're all in this together.


  1. I love this. I love this almost as much as I love you. xoxo

  2. Fabulous! And yes, it'a the thinking about the stuff!! Once it is written down, it looks far less frightening sometimes for me...especially when I get to scribble over something done!

  3. Yes, this. You have helped soothe the burn because it is so comforting to know I am not alone. Love the quotes you found. Ellen

  4. This is a FANTASTIC post, Andrea. We ALL need to step back, breathe, don't let the fear and hectic life control us. Needed to read this today. Thanks!!

  5. Absolutely! Thank you for this.


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