Let's talk about that mom funk. Being a mom can be exhausting. If you spend your day changing dirty diapers, persuading your toddler not to climb inside the dishwasher, and pulling mashed banana out of your hair, then, of course, you're not going to be on cloud nine. You might be balancing all of this as a stay a home mom or you might have a career or business.
However when your mood starts to descend from "Kids are crazy, but I'm having a great time" to "Why did I do this?" "When will it end?", then it can be super hard to pull yourself out of that mom funk.
So, let's dive into exactly what a mom funk is and how to get out of it so you can start feeling like your fabulous self again!
What is a mom funk?
If you're in that zone where you could burst into tears at any moment, and you just can't get out of a slump, then this sounds like a typical mom funk. Every day can feel the same as the next - long, challenging, and not very rewarding.
A short fuse and feeling constantly overwhelmed by the pile of laundry, dishes, and kids' chores are all common side effects of the mom funk too.
Take a honest look at yourself, and if you feel disengaged from your family and spend more time scrolling through your phone on the couch rather than interacting with your nearest and dearest, then it's time to take positive action.
Why a mom funk can cause problems
Most moms will be able to detail an episode of their parenting lives when they hit a mom funk. Some of them might even be quite humorous. But actually, the mom funk can be pretty destructive. And the longer it goes on, the more it can impact important areas of your personal life.
Your relationship with your kids
If you feel fine one minute but the next you're yelling at your kids in a rage, this can affect their self-esteem. Because let's face it - screaming mom can be scary!
Your relationship with your partner
In an ideal world, your partner will be pitching in and helping out with all the things that have driven you into your mom funk. But if they're on the receiving end of constant tears, tantrums, and arguments, this is a one-way ticket to the relationship funk.
A mom funk can rob you of energy and mojo to do anything for yourself. If you're struggling to be productive at work, can't be bothered to exercise, and have no interest in meeting up with friends, then your mom funk has gone too far.
How to get out of a mom funk
So, now you know that being in a mom funk is no fun. It's certainly not great for your family either. But the good news is that there are 13 simple steps you can take to haul yourself out of that mom funk territory and restore you to a calm and content mama instead.
1. Get fresh air every day
Getting out of the house can be difficult when you're in a mom funk, but the connection with nature is worth all the effort. Fresh air is great for your physical health.
Not only does the increase in oxygen help to improve your blood pressure, heart rate, and digestive system, but it also strengthens your immune system and gives you cleaner lungs.
All of these benefits will provide you with more energy, so you feel ready to handle whatever parenthood throws at you next. But that's not where the magic ends!
Getting outdoors will make you feel super positive, too! The more oxygen you take in, the greater the release of serotonin, the happy hormone in your body.
2. Start exercising regularly
Exercise is an excellent remedy for anyone who has a low mood. High-intensity exercise such as running releases the body's natural feel-good chemicals, known as endorphins.
This also boosts nerve cell growth, causing them to make new brain connections and increase the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that regulates mood.
Getting started on a new exercise routine can be difficult if you're in a mom funk, especially if you're not getting much sleep and have little energy.
Start with a simple walk or jog, even if it's just 5 minutes, and try to build this into your daily routine. You can increase the duration of your exercise as you get going.
3. Start a gratitude journal
Are the negatives in your life weighing you down? Writing in a gratitude journal can help you move away from a negative bias and start to pay more attention to the things that spark joy in your life.
Start with a blank notebook or journal and make a list of the little things you love. These might be as small as the smile on your child's face, a song you love playing on the radio, or the smell of mac and cheese for dinner.
4. Practice self-care
We all need a little time out for ourselves, but if your mom time has descended into mom funk, then you might not even have the motivation to get off the couch.
It's also really easy to tell yourself you don't have time to take care of yourself, or that it would be self-involved. But actually, self-care isn't selfish. It's an important step to take to recharge your batteries and nourish your soul before returning to your family.
Self-care doesn't have to be anything dramatic like taking a solo vacation. Some simple ideas are:
- Take a bath
- Paint your nails
- Meet a friend for a coffee
- Arrange a girls night out
5. Accept help
Have you ever heard that it takes a village to raise a family? If too many childcare responsibilities are resting on your shoulders, consider accepting help from people close to you.
Have an honest conversation with your partner about where and when you need support. If you have parents or other family members close by, then accept their help if they've offered to babysit.
Or turn to your social circle and ask if someone could host a playdate to give you a breather. You can return the favor at a later date.
6. Be aware of your partners' needs
Strong communication is vital when a couple has children together. Take the time to listen to each other and hear what the other person is feeling. It can be tempting to play the blame game, but this will typically put your partner on the defensive.
It may seem as though you're the only one struggling, but the chances are that there may be a dad funk going on in your home too. So try to be sympathetic and tackle your blues as a team.
7. Take a break from social media
Getting in a mom funk can happen quite quickly when we're connecting with friends and colleagues on social media. If you've ever fallen into the trap of flicking through feeds of supposedly 'perfect' families, then it's easy to feel that your family and your mom skills fall short.
Anything from the spotless clothing other families are wearing, the stunning home they're living in, or the perfect organic meals they're eating can send you into a mom funk spiral. So, what's the cure?
- Recognize that people only post the most flattering version of their lives online.
- Try to limit your social connections to people you genuinely care about.
- Take a break from social media if you need to, and delete those apps from your phone.
8. Make new friends
Going through a mom funk can feel lonely, but it doesn't need to be that way. There will be hundreds if not thousands of moms in your neighborhood, town, or city who have been through similar times. Seek some of them out!
If you have existing mom friends, then make an effort to reach out and arrange a trip to the park together. If you're low on buddies, then you'll find plenty of moms eager to chat at baby groups or hanging out at your local soft play center.
Be proactive, exchange numbers, and don't be afraid to mention that you're struggling. You'll be amazed at how closely other moms will relate to your experience.
9. Try to stay organized
Is your home a heap of toys, books, and old clothes? Kids come with a lot of stuff, and your space can quickly become overwhelmed by the clutter. But worse, physical clutter and disorganization are also linked to anxiety, which can contribute to your mom funk.
If this is a problem in your home, you might be interested in Marie Kondo's Kon Mari method of tidying. The idea is that you organize your belongings by category rather than by room, keeping only your essentials and items that 'spark joy'. You'll be left with a clean and ordered home that will be a pleasure to live in.
10. Keep on top of your finances
The only thing worse than mom funk is when you pile a heap of money troubles on top of your bad mood. Unfortunately, being in a funk can put your finances at risk, as you might be tempted to splurge your cash on unnecessary expenses when you're not feeling yourself.
Staying in control of your household budget will ensure you're living within your means and meeting your savings goals. If this has been a problem area for you, then try out some frugal living tips and prioritize budgeting to put you firmly back on track with your family finances.
Some essential steps are:
11. Start a side gig
If you're a stay-at-home mom and have been out of work for a while, then starting a side gig that fits around family life can help lift you out of your slump. Many moms are rocking the side gig game, working as freelancers, selling handmade items online, or flipping goods on eBay.
Not only will a side gig help you focus on a hobby and improve your self-esteem, but it can also bring in some extra income. If finances are a source of stress in your home, then a side hustle could help you:
If you have a baby or toddler and zero childcare, you can start slowly with your side gig. Perhaps you could work during naptimes or for an hour or two in the evening. It'll become easier to work flexibly around your children and increase your earning potential as the years go by.
12. Reduce your screen time
Screentime is often a source of conflict in families. However, it's not always just the kids who are addicted to their devices. Not only can screens be anti-social, but they're also bad for your eyes and your mental health when you overuse them.
This is due to the blue light emitted from them, which can also cause sleep problems. If you're more interested in scrolling through your Twitter feed over dinner than chatting to your family, then you need to snap out of your mom funk and send some positive energy back into the room.
Set some boundaries about when you and your children can use screens and for how long - and stick to them! You might choose to screens together in a sociable way. For instance, watching a favorite movie together or using Facebook Portal to chat with long-distance relatives.
13. Play with your children more
Sometimes your low mood can be relieved by going back to basics and becoming a big kid again. Your own family will love nothing more than you crawling around on the floor pretending to be a monster or swinging as high as you can in the playground.
Being silly and laughing out loud is one of the best things to banish stress. A hearty chuckle can radically decrease stress hormones like cortisol and boost feel-good endorphins.
Say goodbye to your mom funk!
The first step to getting out of your mom funk is recognizing that you're struggling. Parenting can be exhausting, so it doesn't make you a bad mom to be down in the dumps now and again.
But try to remember that the days are long, but the years are short as a mom. So make the most of your time with your growing family.
If you've tried the steps above and your symptoms feel more severe than a mom funk, then you might be experiencing depression. In this case, you must seek medical advice to discuss a treatment plan. Remember we all need help sometimes, so don't hesitate to reach out!