In the last few months you have been able to read a few different stories and perspectives on the topic of burnout in mothers and parents. Finally, I would like to give an input, which I recently found in a book: “Artgerecht” by Nicola Schmidt .
Why Our Life Is Not Appropriate
We humans have not developed genetically, and with regard to our instincts, in the last two million years. Strictly speaking, babies in their behavior are very similar to the baby from the age of hunters and collectors. The fact that most people have meanwhile become sedentary, have built safe walls of stone, wood or clay and live in a “culture” is of little interest to the newborn babies.
Just as they did two million years ago, their innate instincts signal that it is safe and important to be always close to the body and often breastfeed. The life of young parents was still a completely different one at that time: they lived together in small groups or “clans” and supported each other. A mother was able to take care of her baby 24 hours a day. The supply of food, warmth and protection took over other members of the group, as well as taking care of older siblings.
Now this is somewhat different today: we often live as a couple alone in a house or apartment. If we are lucky, live relatives in the local area, but often not. For us, for example, not. In a culturally “ideal” family, the father goes full-time. The mother is therefore alone with the baby most of the time. She would or should have to leave it by the way, because she has to do things in the household or do something to eat. It is expected that babies sleep alone, so that the mother can also rest. Because that is also very important. In a “proper” environment, in a group of people who support each other so, that would not be a problem – someone else can take the child temporarily. Today it is a problem.
From Non-Life To Burnout
In our culture, this fact often falls into the background. As mothers we expect from ourselves (and think that others expect) that we “get that already”. It can not be that difficult, after all, so many children have grown up before us. To meet all the tasks and expectations, we give 100% and more every day. And then the one-way ticket into total exhaustion.
Nicola Schmidt gives the following tip in her Artgerecht book: We should act as mothers according to the sailing rule. If he knows that a storm is going on (and that’s probably always the case with a baby), he uses the time left to rest and get ready. He does not give all the energy he has. A mother should do the same. Always do the utmost. Better to rest, sleep, relax and spend time with the baby. Because the next tooth, the next thrust or the next illness will come soon.
In addition, we can at least try to make our everyday life with child more kind. And that is what we need above all for other people. A “clan”. This is sometimes only possible during holidays or at certain times. But also at home we can ask other families for help or offer our help. We can cook together, play, spend time. This often makes everyday life much less strenuous.
The Exhaustion Is Real!
Above all, according to Nicola Schmidt, we may allow ourselves to be tired. This is a fact and has nothing to do with one’s own inadequacy, health or laziness. This is a consequence of our not appropriate life and goes to other parents as well. We need not be ashamed or justified. But we can get help.