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Navigating Working Mum Burnout: Recognising the Signs and Taking Action.

In the fast-paced world of corporate roles, juggling career aspirations with family responsibilities can often feel like a high-wire act. For working mothers, the pressure to excel in both spheres can sometimes lead to burnout—a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. Recognising the signs of burnout and taking proactive steps to address it are crucial for maintaining well-being and achieving balance. In this article, we'll explore how we as working mothers can identify burnout and implement strategies to prevent it from taking over our lives.

Recognising the Signs: Burnout can manifest differently for everyone, but there are common signs and symptoms to watch out for, especially in the context of corporate roles:

  1. Fatigue: Feeling constantly tired and depleted, regardless of how much rest you get, can be a red flag for burnout. As working mothers we often face the challenge of balancing demanding work schedules with childcare responsibilities, leading to exhaustion.

  2. Decreased Productivity: Burnout can impact your ability to focus, make decisions, and perform effectively at work. If you find yourself struggling to meet deadlines or feeling overwhelmed by tasks that were once manageable, it may be a sign that burnout is looming.

  3. Emotional Exhaustion: Irritability, mood swings, and a sense of detachment are common emotional symptoms of burnout. You may experience guilt or anxiety about not being able to devote enough time to your family or feeling like you're constantly falling short in either your professional or personal life.

  4. Physical Symptoms: Headaches, muscle tension, and gastrointestinal issues can be physical manifestations of burnout. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to further health complications and exacerbate the cycle of stress, so pay attention to your body!

Taking Action: When you recognise the signs of burnout creeping in, it's essential to take proactive steps to address it and prioritise self-care:

  1. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and home life to prevent burnout. Communicate with your employer about realistic expectations regarding workload and flexibility, and learn to say no to additional responsibilities when necessary.

  2. Practice Self-Care: Prioritise activities that replenish your energy and nourish your well-being. Whether it's carving out time for exercise, meditation, or hobbies that bring you joy, self-care is essential for combating burnout and maintaining resilience.

  3. Seek Support: Don't hesitate to reach out to your support network for assistance when you need it. Whether it's delegating tasks to family members, hiring childcare help, or seeking guidance from a therapist or coach, leaning on others can lighten the load and provide valuable perspective.

  4. Reassess Priorities: Take a step back and evaluate your priorities to ensure they align with your values and long-term goals. Are there areas of your life where you can delegate or simplify tasks to reduce stress? Being intentional about how you allocate your time and energy can help prevent burnout.

According to a recent study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, working mothers in Australia spend an average of 20 hours per week on childcare responsibilities, in addition to their paid work commitments. This juggling act can take a toll on mental health and well-being, with research showing that women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of burnout. Globally, women are disproportionately affected by burnout, with studies indicating that women are more likely to report feeling emotionally drained and overwhelmed by their responsibilities. The intersection of gender and workplace expectations can contribute to this phenomenon, highlighting the importance of addressing systemic issues to create more supportive and equitable work environments.

Recognising burnout as a working mother in a corporate role is the first step towards taking control of your well-being. By acknowledging the signs and implementing proactive strategies for self-care, boundary-setting, and seeking support, you can prevent burnout from derailing your personal and professional life. Always consult a health professional if you're concerned about your physical or mental wellbeing & remember that prioritising your health and happiness is not only essential for your own sake but also for the well-being of your family and your ability to thrive in your career.


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