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From exhaustion to empowerment: conquering mom burnout with self-advocacy

By Remy Meraz May 20, 2023


Key Takeaways

  • Conquer mom burnout by prioritizing self-care
  • Embrace self-advocacy to set boundaries and communicate your needs.
  • Manage mom stress through effective coping mechanisms.
  • Achieve work-life balance for a fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle.
  • Empower yourself through guilt-free self-care and positive mindset.
From exhaustion to empowerment: conquering mom burnout with self-advocacy

Being a working mom is a remarkable feat, balancing the demands of a career while juggling the responsibilities of motherhood. Yet, beneath the surface of their superpowers, lies an all-too-common struggle that many working moms face: burnout. The exhaustion, overwhelm, and constant pressure can take a toll on both physical and mental well-being, leaving moms feeling depleted and powerless. But fear not! This post is here to guide you from exhaustion to empowerment, offering practical strategies to conquer mom burnout.

As a working mom, you wear many hats, and it's all too easy to put your own needs on the back burner. However, by embracing self-advocacy and prioritizing self-care, you can transform your experience from one of sheer exhaustion to one of renewed energy and empowerment. In this post, we'll explore how self-advocacy, along with a range of effective self-care practices, can help you overcome burnout and reclaim your well-being.

So, if you're ready to put yourself first, find balance amidst the chaos, and discover the power of self-care, read on. Let's embark on a journey that will empower you to not only survive but thrive as a working mom.

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Understanding Mom Burnout

Definition and Symptoms of Mom Burnout

Mom burnout is not a badge of honor but rather a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion resulting from prolonged and overwhelming stress. It is a silent struggle that many working moms face, often neglecting their own well-being while striving to meet the demands of their careers and families.

Symptoms of mom burnout may manifest in various ways, including:

  1. Persistent fatigue: Feeling constantly drained, both physically and mentally, even after a good night's sleep.
  2. Emotional exhaustion: Overwhelming feelings of being emotionally depleted, irritable, or experiencing mood swings.
  3. Decreased motivation and productivity: Finding it difficult to focus, lacking enthusiasm for work or daily tasks.
  4. Neglected self-care: Putting others' needs above your own, disregarding personal well-being, and feeling guilty when practicing self-care.
  5. Heightened stress and anxiety: Constantly feeling overwhelmed, on edge, or experiencing racing thoughts.
  6. Physical symptoms: Headaches, muscle tension, changes in appetite, or disrupted sleep patterns.
  7. Loss of enjoyment: Feeling a lack of fulfillment, joy, or satisfaction in both personal and professional areas of life.

Recognizing these symptoms is crucial in addressing and preventing mom burnout before it takes a severe toll on your overall well-being.

If you're struggling with anxiety at work, check out our blog post on calming anxiety at work for valuable tips and techniques.

Factors Contributing to Mom Burnout

Several factors contribute to the development of mom burnout, and understanding them can help you identify potential triggers and take proactive steps to prevent burnout:

  1. Overload of responsibilities: Balancing a demanding job, household chores, childcare, and other commitments can leave little time for self-care or relaxation.
  2. Lack of support: Limited support from partners, family, or friends can intensify the pressure and create a sense of isolation.
  3. High expectations and societal pressure: Striving for perfection as a mother and professional, fueled by societal expectations and comparisons, can lead to chronic stress.
  4. Poor work-life integration: Difficulty in setting boundaries between work and personal life, leading to blurred lines and a constant feeling of being "on."
  5. Neglected self-care: Failing to prioritize self-care, often due to guilt or a belief that self-care is selfish, can exacerbate burnout.
  6. Insufficient coping mechanisms: Lacking effective stress management strategies or not prioritizing time for relaxation and rejuvenation.

By understanding these factors, you can begin to untangle the web of burnout and implement targeted strategies to regain control over your well-being.

The Importance of Addressing Burnout for Overall Well-being

Recognizing and addressing mom burnout is not just a matter of personal well-being but also essential for your overall health and happiness. Ignoring burnout can lead to long-term consequences, both physical and mental, affecting your relationships, job performance, and quality of life.

By taking proactive steps to address burnout, you can:

  1. Improve your physical health: Reducing stress and exhaustion can enhance your immune system, promote better sleep, and decrease the risk of developing chronic health conditions.
  2. Enhance your mental well-being: Managing burnout can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve your mood, and enhance overall mental resilience.
  3. Strengthen relationships: By prioritizing self-care and managing burnout, you can nurture healthier relationships with your partner, children, and loved ones.
  4. Boost productivity and job satisfaction: Overcoming burnout enables you to approach your work with renewed energy, focus, and enjoyment, ultimately enhancing your professional growth and satisfaction.

Understanding the impact of mom burnout and the importance of addressing it sets the stage for taking proactive steps towards conquering burnout and reclaiming your well-being.

Self-Advocacy: The Key to Conquering Burnout

Self-Advocacy: The Key to Conquering Burnout

Exploring the Concept of Self-Advocacy for Working Moms

As a working mom, self-advocacy becomes an essential tool in your journey to conquer burnout. It involves actively speaking up for your needs, setting boundaries, and taking charge of your well-being. Self-advocacy empowers you to prioritize yourself, ensuring that your physical, mental, and emotional health are not compromised in the process of fulfilling your various roles.

How Self-Advocacy Can Help Prevent and Alleviate Mom Burnout

  • Setting Boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life is crucial in preventing burnout. Communicate your availability and limits to your colleagues, clients, and even family members. Embrace the notion that it's okay to say "no" when necessary and delegate tasks when possible.
  • Seeking Support: Recognize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but an act of strength. Reach out to your partner, family, friends, or support networks to share the load and create a support system that understands and supports your needs.
  • Communicating Needs and Priorities: Clearly communicate your needs and priorities to your supervisor, colleagues, and loved ones. Articulate the importance of work-life balance and advocate for adjustments or accommodations that can support your well-being.
  • Negotiating Flexibility: Explore flexible work options that can alleviate the strain of juggling multiple responsibilities. Discuss alternatives such as remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks that align with your personal needs and promote a healthier work-life integration.

Empowering Yourself through Self-Advocacy

  • Know Your Worth: Recognize and acknowledge your value as a working mom. Understand that prioritizing your well-being is not selfish but necessary for your overall success and happiness.
  • Develop Assertiveness Skills: Enhance your assertiveness skills to effectively communicate your needs and boundaries without feeling guilty or apologetic. Practice clear and confident communication to ensure that your concerns are heard and addressed.
  • Cultivate Self-Compassion: Embrace self-compassion as you navigate the challenges of being a working mom. Treat yourself with kindness, understanding that you are doing your best and that self-care is an essential component of your overall success.

By embracing self-advocacy, you can reclaim control over your well-being, prevent burnout, and create a harmonious balance between your professional and personal life.

Prioritizing Self-Care as a Working Mom

Prioritizing Self-Care as a Working Mom

The Vital Role of Self-Care in Overcoming Burnout

Self-care is not a luxury; it is a necessity, especially for working moms who often put their own needs last. Prioritizing self-care is an act of self-preservation and empowerment. It replenishes your physical and emotional reserves, allowing you to better navigate the demands of work and motherhood while preventing burnout.

A great article on this topic is Why You Should Learn To Love Yourself First.

Practical Self-Care Tips for Busy Working Moms

Physical Self-Care Practices:

  • Make sleep a priority: Aim for consistent and sufficient sleep to restore your energy levels and promote overall well-being.
  • Nourish your body: Focus on a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and incorporating regular exercise into your routine to support your physical health.
  • Practice mindful movement: Engage in activities that bring you joy and promote relaxation, such as yoga, dancing, or taking walks in nature.

Emotional Self-Care Strategies:

  • Set boundaries: Learn to say "no" without guilt, and create boundaries that protect your emotional well-being. Respect your limits and prioritize activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
  • Seek support: Build a network of trusted individuals who understand your challenges and can offer emotional support and guidance.
  • Engage in activities you love: Carve out time for hobbies, creative pursuits, or activities that bring you a sense of fulfillment and happiness.

For more practical tips on improving mental wellness, you can explore our blog post on 20 Daily Habits to Track for Improved Mental Wellness to discover effective habits for nurturing your mental well-being.

Mental Self-Care Techniques:

  • Practice mindfulness and relaxation: Incorporate mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or journaling into your daily routine to reduce stress and promote mental clarity.
  • Unplug from technology: Set aside designated technology-free periods to disconnect from the constant demands and distractions of digital devices.
  • Engage in positive self-talk: Challenge negative self-talk and cultivate a positive mindset. Celebrate your achievements, however small, and practice self-compassion.

Finding Joy and Pursuing Hobbies:

  • Carve out "me" time: Schedule regular moments for yourself, whether it's reading a book, taking a bath, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
  • Cultivate hobbies and interests: Rediscover or explore new hobbies that ignite your passion and allow you to express your creativity or interests.
  • Celebrate small wins: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Give yourself credit for your efforts and progress.

Remember, self-care is not a one-time event but an ongoing commitment. Prioritizing self-care equips you with the resilience and energy needed to thrive as a working mom, while fostering a positive and fulfilling life.

Check out How to find life balance in 10 simple steps for more in-depth on this topic.

Strategies to Manage Mom Stress

Identifying Common Stressors for Working Moms

As a working mom, it's important to identify the specific stressors that impact your well-being. By recognizing these stressors, you can develop effective strategies to manage and reduce stress. Common stressors for working moms may include:

  • Work demands: Meeting deadlines, managing heavy workloads, and balancing competing priorities.
  • Parenting challenges: Juggling childcare responsibilities, school activities, and addressing the needs of your children.
  • Household management: Maintaining a clean and organized home, meal planning, and managing daily chores.
  • Lack of time for self-care: Struggling to find time for relaxation, hobbies, and personal activities.
  • Financial pressures: Balancing the financial demands of your family while pursuing a career.
  • Social expectations: Striving to meet societal expectations of being a "perfect" mom, partner, and professional.

Coping Mechanisms for Managing and Reducing Stress

Time Management and Organization Tips:

  • Prioritize tasks: Determine the most important tasks and focus your energy on them. Delegate or eliminate tasks that are not essential.
  • Create a schedule: Develop a well-structured schedule that includes dedicated time for work, family, self-care, and relaxation.
  • Break tasks into manageable chunks: Divide larger tasks into smaller, more achievable steps to reduce overwhelm and increase productivity.
  • Practice time-blocking: Allocate specific blocks of time for different activities, ensuring a balance between work and personal life.

Stress-Reducing Techniques:

  • Deep breathing exercises: Engage in deep breathing exercises to activate the body's relaxation response and reduce stress levels.
  • Journaling: Write down your thoughts and feelings as a way to process emotions and gain perspective.
  • Practice mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness techniques, such as mindful meditation or body scans, to bring awareness to the present moment and reduce stress.
  • Engage in hobbies: Set aside time for activities that bring you joy and help you unwind, such as reading, painting, or listening to music.

Seeking Help and Delegating Responsibilities:

  • Build a support system: Reach out to your partner, family members, friends, or support groups to share responsibilities and seek emotional support.
  • Delegate tasks: Involve your family members in household chores, distribute responsibilities, and teach children age-appropriate tasks.
  • Outsource when possible: Consider outsourcing tasks such as cleaning, meal preparation, or childcare to lighten your load and free up time for self-care.

Embracing Flexibility and Letting Go of Perfectionism:

  • Embrace imperfection: Recognize that striving for perfection is unrealistic and can contribute to increased stress. Focus on progress, not perfection.
  • Practice self-compassion: Be kind and understanding toward yourself, acknowledging that you're doing your best in challenging circumstances.
  • Adapt to change: Be open to adjusting your plans and expectations when unexpected situations arise, allowing for flexibility and adaptability.

By implementing these strategies and customizing them to fit your unique circumstances, you can effectively manage mom stress, reduce overwhelm, and create a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Achieving Work-Life Balance

Exploring the Concept of Work-Life Balance for Working Moms

Work-life balance is about finding harmony and integration between your professional commitments and personal life as a working mom. It involves establishing boundaries, setting priorities, and creating a sustainable equilibrium that allows you to thrive in both realms.

Strategies for Finding Balance and Reducing Overwhelm

Setting Realistic Expectations and Boundaries:

  • Define your non-negotiables: Determine what matters most to you and set clear boundaries around those priorities.
  • Learn to say "yes" selectively: Evaluate requests and commitments before accepting them, ensuring they align with your values and goals.
  • Practice effective time management: Prioritize tasks and allocate your time intentionally, allowing for a balance between work and personal life.

Effective Communication and Negotiation Skills:

  • Communicate openly with your employer: Discuss your needs and limitations with your employer, seeking flexible work arrangements when possible.
  • Establish open lines of communication: Foster open and honest communication with your partner, family, and colleagues about your expectations, challenges, and support needed.
  • Delegate and collaborate: Recognize that it's okay to delegate tasks and seek help from others, whether it's at work or home.

Time-Blocking and Prioritization Techniques:

  • Time-blocking: Allocate specific time blocks for different activities, including work, family, self-care, and leisure. Stick to these time blocks as much as possible to maintain balance.
  • Prioritize self-care: Treat self-care activities as non-negotiable appointments in your schedule, ensuring that you have dedicated time for rejuvenation and relaxation.
  • Focus on essential tasks: Identify the most critical tasks that align with your goals and values, and tackle those first. Let go of nonessential tasks that can be delegated or eliminated.

Creating a Support System:

  • Seek support from loved ones: Share your challenges and aspirations with your partner, family members, or close friends. Allow them to support you emotionally and practically.
  • Build a network of working moms: Connect with other working moms who understand your experiences. Join support groups or online communities to share advice, resources, and encouragement.
  • Consider professional support: Explore the option of hiring childcare help, seeking a mentor, or working with a coach to provide guidance and support in managing work-life balance.

By implementing these strategies and making conscious choices to prioritize both your work and personal life, you can achieve a greater sense of work-life balance, reduce overwhelm, and cultivate a fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle.

Empowering Yourself: The Path to Recharge and Renewal

Recognizing the Importance of Personal Empowerment

Empowering yourself as a working mom involves acknowledging your own worth, embracing self-care, and nurturing a positive mindset. It's about taking ownership of your well-being, finding strength in self-advocacy, and fostering a sense of empowerment in all areas of your life.

Embracing Guilt-Free Self-Care and Self-Indulgence

Prioritizing Self-Care:

Shift your mindset: Release guilt associated with self-care. Understand that taking care of yourself benefits not only you but also your loved ones.
Schedule regular self-care: Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. Set aside dedicated time for activities that replenish and rejuvenate you.

Self-Indulgence and Me-Time:

Give yourself permission: Allow yourself to indulge in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, guilt-free. Whether it's taking a bubble bath, reading a book, or enjoying a hobby, honor your need for personal time.
Celebrate your achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate your successes, both big and small. Give yourself credit for your accomplishments and milestones.

The Role of Gratitude and Positive Mindset in Combating Burnout

Cultivating Gratitude:

  • Practice gratitude daily: Take a moment each day to reflect on what you're grateful for. This simple act can shift your perspective, increase positivity, and reduce stress.
  • Gratitude journaling: Write down three things you're grateful for each day. This practice fosters a positive mindset and helps you focus on the positive aspects of your life.

Positive Self-Talk and Affirmations:

  • Challenge negative thoughts: Notice negative self-talk and replace it with positive and affirming statements. Remind yourself of your strengths, achievements, and resilience.
    Affirmations: Repeat affirmations that resonate with you. For example, "I am capable and deserving of self-care," or "I embrace balance and joy in my life."

Celebrating Small Victories and Self-Appreciation

Acknowledging Small Victories:

  • Celebrate milestones: Recognize and celebrate even the smallest achievements along your journey. Give yourself credit for overcoming challenges and making progress.
    Reflect on growth: Take time to reflect on how far you've come and the positive changes you've made in your life. Celebrate your personal growth and resilience.

Practicing Self-Appreciation:

  • Embrace self-love: Cultivate self-compassion and practice self-love. Treat yourself with kindness, care, and respect.
  • Focus on your strengths: Identify and appreciate your strengths, talents, and unique qualities. Recognize the value you bring to your work and personal life.

By embracing personal empowerment, practicing guilt-free self-care, nurturing a positive mindset, and celebrating your achievements, you can recharge and renew yourself as a working mom, unlocking a new level of strength, resilience, and fulfillment.


In the journey from exhaustion to empowerment, working moms have the power to conquer mom burnout and reclaim their well-being. By embracing self-advocacy, prioritizing self-care, managing stress, and finding balance, you can unlock a renewed sense of strength and resilience. Remember, prioritizing yourself is not selfish but necessary for your overall success, happiness, and ability to care for others.

Through self-advocacy, you can set boundaries, communicate your needs, and create a support system that understands and supports your journey. Prioritizing self-care allows you to nurture your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, ensuring you have the energy and resilience to face the challenges of being a working mom. Managing mom stress through effective coping mechanisms and strategies helps you navigate the demands of work and family with greater ease. Achieving work-life balance empowers you to create harmony and integration between your professional and personal life, allowing for a more fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle.

As you empower yourself, embracing guilt-free self-care, gratitude, and positive self-talk, you unlock the path to recharge and renewal. Celebrate your small victories, practice self-appreciation, and embrace the journey of personal growth and resilience. Remember, you are capable, deserving, and worthy of living a life that nourishes your soul.

So, dear working mom, it's time to prioritize yourself, to rise above exhaustion, and to embark on a path of empowerment. Embrace the strategies and practices shared in this post, adapting them to fit your unique circumstances. Your well-being matters, and by nourishing yourself, you become an even more extraordinary force in both your professional and personal life.

Here's to conquering mom burnout, embracing self-care, and thriving as the incredible working mom that you are!

For ideas on how to express gratitude, check out the post Thank You for All You Do: 100 Ways to Express Gratitude for inspiration.

Interested to learn more about Zella Life and why Google decided to fund it? Zella Life selected for Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund

Read more about: Self Advocacy

About Remy Meraz

Remy Meraz, co-founder, and CEO of Zella Life, is a visionary leader who leveraged corporate glass ceiling challenges as a woman of color to drive systemic change.

While leading and cultivating high-performance teams from VC-backed startups to Fortune 500, she consistently faced obstacles such as inadequate mentorship, lack of psychological safety, and non-personalized training. Taking matters into her own hands, she turned to executive coaching and NLP training. This life-changing growth experience led to breaking leadership barriers and a passion for cognitive psychology.

Motivated by her experiences, she co-founded Zella Life, an innovative AI-driven coaching platform bridging the talent development gap by enhancing soft skills and emotional intelligence (EQ) in the workplace.

Her vision with Zella Life is to transform professional development into an inclusive and impactful journey, focused on the distinct needs of both individuals and organizations. She aims to promote advancement and culture change by ensuring every professional's growth is acknowledged and supported.

Today, Remy is recognized as an influential innovator, trainer, mentor, and business leader. Under her leadership, Zella Life has delivered significant measurable outcomes for numerous well-known brands. This track record of positive outcomes garnered attention and funding from Google for Startups and Pledge LA, establishing Zella Life as a pivotal force in the learning and development arena tackling and resolving fundamental talent development issues for organizations of all sizes.

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