Working Moms

I Am Tired of Being the Breadwinner: Here’s How to Find Support for Exhausted Working Moms

Carrying the full financial load as your family’s breadwinner has to be one of the heaviest burdens out there. The relentless cycle of earning enough for mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries, you name it. Enough to make anyone feel flat-out depleted lately, am I right?

Between the never-ending workday hustle and scrambling to stretch each paycheck, you’re trapped on a suffocating hamster wheel. So it’s no wonder you’ve found yourself crying “I am tired of being the breadwinner!” more than once.

Almost half of households depend on a woman making the bacon these days. But no matter how you slice it, being the sole provider is rough. Before totally burning out, let’s get you some sanity-saving, life-rebalancing strategies in your arsenal. This guide is a judgment-free zone to regain your spark without sacrificing your family’s security.

What Does it Mean to be the Breadwinner?

i am tired of being the breadwinner

On paper, being the breadwinner means your salary covers most/all of your household’s expenses. But in reality, it’s a role that goes way deeper – and brings a weight most spouses couldn’t fathom.

As the sole breadwinner, the core responsibility of keeping a roof overhead and food on the table falls squarely on your shoulders. That constant pressure to earn, earn, earn is utterly exhausting, both mentally and physically. Miss a paycheck or two, and everything could come crumbling down.

There’s also the resentment and guilt that can creep in over time. You might envy your spouse’s more laidback life, resenting that you have to work into the ground with no real break. Or you could secretly harbor guilt about them feeling unfulfilled as the non-breadwinning partner.

Being the family’s sole income source is an incredibly stressful long game. The weight of your loved ones’ financial security and future rests on your ability to just keep hustling, no days off. No wonder breakdowns and burnout are all too common for us breadwinners!

How Does Being the Breadwinner Affect You Emotionally?

i am tired of being the breadwinner

Look, bringing home the bacon for your whole family doesn’t just take a practical toll. That suffocating weight of keeping everyone afloat financially? It beats you down emotionally and messes with your head in some really crappy ways.

Deep down, you’ve got that nagging voice reminding you that one misstep at work, one job loss, could demolish your loved ones’ stability overnight. As Oprah herself said,

“The biggest burden a breadwinner carries is knowing even the smallest screw-up could mean lights out.”

Tell me about it! That’s why so many of us breadwinners live with insomnia, anxiety, and this undercurrent of strain that never quits.

Then there’s the endless guilt-tripping yourself about either a) resenting your spouse’s more chill life or b) feeling like a crappy parent who’s never around. Those joy-sucking thoughts leave you unmotivated and just…blah. Like you’re running on emotional fumes constantly.

And can we talk about the loneliness of this gig? While bystanders think you’re living that bougie dream, they don’t get how solely isolating and heavy it feels carrying the whole load alone. It’s easy to start going “Welp, I’m just trapped in this life solo” which is…depressing as hell.

The point is, being THE provider really screws with your psyche over time in some nasty ways. The immense strain, guilt mind-games, loner mentality – it’s basically burnout fertilizer. If you don’t prioritize your mental and emotional care, you’re headed for a total breakdown or depressive spiral. Not worth it, friend.

Top Challenges for Breadwinners Today

Okay, let’s talk about the unique struggles us modern breadwinners are dealing with on the regular. I’m talking challenges that would make our parents’ generation go “What the heck is that?”

Wild Inflation Pricing Out Basics

For one, we’re getting slammed with this wild inflation our elders could never wrap their heads around. Seeing those grocery costs skyrocketing while your paycheck flat-lines? Absolute gut-punch material.

Suddenly you’re budgeting down to every measly cent just to keep up with baseline expenses. Kiss any fun spending money goodbye!

Unhinged Housing Costs

Then you’ve got the wackadoo housing market pricing out hardworking folks left and right.

How’s a breadwinner supposed to provide that coveted dream home or even decent rental when prices have gone absolutely bonkers?

No wonder so many of us are trapped in extend-stay situations putting roofs over our loved ones’ heads.

Career Shakeup Chaos

And let’s not gloss over the erratic career shakeups that keep us breadwinners walking a tightrope.

Company downsizings, sudden layoffs, unexpected career stalls – any of those destabilizing wrenches could demolish your paid income holding everything together.

Societal Judgment

On top of that financial chaos, we’re also up against societal pressures and weird traditional mindsets about who “should” really earn the bread. Goodness, if you’re a breadwinning mom who outearns her partner! Then it’s like the whole world has an opinion on your unraveling family dynamic. No thank you, judgy folks.

The reality is being a breadwinner today means juggling a hundred different pressures, instabilities, and “wow I never saw that coming” scenarios that can uproot your entire provided-for life at any second. Talk about an insanely stressful gig!

Read More: “I Hate My Job So Much It Gives Me Anxiety”: 10 Actions to Consider

Breadwinner Burnout: Is It Different for Men and Women?

i am tired of being the breadwinner

We’ve all felt that “I am tired of being the breadwinner” burnout hit at some point. That soul-sucking sense that you’re carrying the entire workforce weight with no reprieve. But does that burnout experience differ depending on whether you’re a badass female breadwinner or male breadwinner? You betcha.

For a lot of modern women, there’s still this ingrained expectation that we secretly want to be the nurturing, domesticated counterpart – not the main income bringer. Even if we’re out-earning our male partners by a landslide, society loves to judge and critique how that’s “throwing off” family dynamics. No wonder so many ladies struggle with guilt about being the breadwinner.

Then you’ve got the working mom divide where breadwinning mothers get shamed for being “absentee parents” while dad breadwinners get this free pass to be workaholics. That “you’re never around” guilt-tripping seems way more brutal for us women stuck trying to “have it all.”

On the flip side, there’s still outdated baggage that gets lobbed at male breadwinners about being emasculated or inadequate moneymakers. Even in 2024, dudes get flack from family or peers if their wife or partner starts bringing home more of the bacon. Those bruised egos can be a killer source of burnout strain.

The reality is that breadwinner burnout is legit for all humans, but the root causes and emotional taxes tend to differ. Women face more societal scrutiny and mom-shaming backlash, while men get hit with fragile masculinity projections. We’re all just out here trying to pay the bills!

At the end of the day, every breadwinner – no matter their gender identity – is dealing with immense financial responsibilities that’ll leave anyone running on fumes sometimes. The key is stripping away those outside pressures and tapping into personalized strategies for recharging before total burnout ensues.

As for being a successful breadwinner long-term, the pros and cons are pretty universal. Pro: you get pride and self-confidence from being a total provider. Con: that weight can absolutely drain you over time if you don’t proactively protect your energies. There’s no one-size-fits-all.

Read More: Top 12 Free Tech Tools and Apps for Working Moms to Boost Productivity and Work-Life Balance

Practical Tips to Reduce Stress as a Breadwinner

Look, we already covered how insanely taxing and stressful this whole breadwinning gig can be. The money pressures, career uncertainties, self-doubting mental chaos – it’s a recipe for raging burnout if you don’t get smart about self-care.

That’s why I’m arming you with these mega-practical tips for lowering your clocked-out stress load as the family’s main money maker. No more white-knuckling it and powering through those meltdown moments, ya hear?

i am tired of being the breadwinner

Learn to Unplug

First up, you’ve got to become a professional unplugged person outside of work hours. That means celebrating ultra-firm boundaries around not checking emails, Slacks, or anything that’ll hook you back into work brain.

Shut it all off and be present with your family, hobbies, whatever. That mental transition is mandatory for avoiding the 24/7 stress cycle.

Schedule Guilt-Free Leisure Time

Speaking of being present, you need to start blocking off weekly leisure time without an ounce of guilt.

I’m talking a standing golf game, pottery class, veg-out movies on the couch – whatever fills your soul-cup back up.

Ask your partner to be on kid-duty during these scheduled breaks so you can truly disengage.

Find Your Release Valve

Everybody needs a release valve for pent-up breadwinner stress and anxieties. Identify what healthy outlets allow you to hit the reset button.

It could be exercise, cooking, boxing classes, or just rocking out to music. Having a pressure-relieving ritual is key.

Seek Out a Crew

Isolation may feel like the price you pay as a breadwinner, but that path leads to loneliness and burnout quick. Instead, seek out a crew who gets it – whether it’s coworkers, mixed social circles, or just a vetted online group.

Having that supportive outlet is huge for venting, receiving pep talks, and knowing you’re not alone.

Get Finances Handled

Money stresses are inevitable as the main moneymaker, but getting your finances tracked and planned can cut down on surprises.

From budgeting tools to money coaches to automated savings – solidify a financial routine that provides security and transparency. Knowing you’ve got it managed prevents chaos.

Communicate Your Needs

This breadwinning workload can breed serious interpersonal disconnect if you aren’t communicating your needs.

Have those open dialogues with your partner about evenly splitting domestic duties, arranging childcare coverage, etc. Getting on the same page prevents pileups.

Take Workcations

If you’ve hit a breaking point, don’t be afraid to take a workcation. Use up that PTO if needed for a family trip or recharging solo. Even just a 3-day weekend can be a game-changer for preventing total burnout by removing all the pressures for a blissful beat.

The throughline here is being proactive about creating breathing room as the hardworking breadwinner. Your household’s stability hinges on your ability to preserve mental, emotional, and physical gas in the tank. Don’t run it all down to empty – put on your own oxygen mask first!

Where to Find Support When You’re the Main Earner

Okay, so being the core breadwinner can feel like the loneliest gig ever sometimes. While your friends and family mean well, it’s hard for them to truly grasp the unique pressures you’re shouldering as the central financial provider. That disconnected sensation only amplifies burnout.

But listen up – you don’t have to power through this intense role all by your isolated self. There are plenty of communities, counselors, and support outlets designed to be that been-there-got-the-T-shirt empathy circle us main earners desperately need.

i am tired of being the breadwinner

Online Communities

For starters, don’t underestimate the power of stumbling into a solid listeners’ group on Reddit, Facebook, or other online forums.

Search for things like “breadwinner burnout support” or “main income earner advice” and you’ll find tons of anonymous spaces to vent frustrations, crowdsource tips, and feel that soul-replenishing camaraderie. Just knowing there’s a squad who deeply gets it can be huge.

Financial Therapists

If you’re craving even more personalized support, consider connecting with a financial therapist who specializes in the psychology of money.

These pros can help you work through mindset blocks, existential identity crises, and any mental roadblocks you’ve hit in your breadwinning journey. You’d be surprised how powerful money therapy sessions can be.

Local Support Groups

For something even more high-touch, look into local breadwinner support groups or working parent circles in your area.

Having a panel of trusted peers to offload challenges on – without dismissive eye-rolls – is invaluable for lowering stress and getting unstuck. You may even make friends who double as cheerleaders!

Your Circle

And whenever you’re having one of those “I literally can’t do this another day” meltdowns? Lean on your partner, lean on your friends, lean on anyone who’ll listen without judgment. Expressing that very real pain and having your burden validated can be a gamechanger sometimes.

Don’t try to shoulder the weight of being a marathoner breadwinner alone, m’kay? That isolating lone wolf mentality is exactly what leaves so many of us languishing in burnout. Take advantage of the supportive communities out there – you’ve got this!

Self-Care Strategies for Breadwinners

We’ve covered how crucial it is to proactively care for your mental and physical health as the main money-maker. Running on fumes and powering through never-ending stress is a one-way ticket to total burnout. Yeah, no thanks! Instead, prioritize these vital self-care strategies:

Stress-Releasing Rituals

Find a routine that allows you to physically and mentally decompress from those daily financial pressures.

Exercise is always a solid option – hit the gym, go for runs, or try yoga videos. But anything from nightly baths to gardening to kickboxing classes work too. The key is scheduling a scheduled release valve into your week.

Energy Management

Speaking of scheduling, get smart about managing your limited energies as the tireless earner. That means penciling in true downtime on your calendar, whether it’s mandated nap-times, TV vegetating, or reading for pleasure. You have to actively replenish your cup just as much as you pour from it.

Breathwork and Meditation

When you feel those stressful, anxious thoughts start to spiral, lean on breathwork and meditation practices. Use an app like Calm or Headspace to drop into mindfulness regimens that calm your nervous system. Just 10-15 minutes per day can rewire your haywire fight-or-flight responses.

Mood-Boosting Nutrients

Also key for breadwinners? Supercharging your body with nutrient-dense foods and vitamins that stabilize your moods and energy levels. Load up on mood-regulating vitamins like B12, D, omega-3s, and magnesium. Cutting down on processed sugar and carb crashes can work wonders too.

Guilt-Free Splurges

While you’re mastering that nutritious-eating game, don’t deprive yourself of little guilt-free treats either. Schedule weekly desserts or indulgences you savor without an ounce of money shame. A soul-nourishing splurge helps prevent the “I’m so deprived” mentality.

Restorative Getaways

And for the ultimate re-charge, you must schedule periodic getaways where you ditch all the financial stresses. Whether it’s a weekly hike, a beach weekend, or full-blown family vacation, disconnecting from that breadwinning grind is a restorative must. No negotiating on that!

The core reminder here is to embrace self-care not as a luxury, but a requirement for managing this never-ending hustle as a successful breadwinner. Your loved ones need you firing on all cylinders for the long haul – so prioritize your own needs first.

Knowing When to Change: Signs You Should Rethink Being the Breadwinner

Look, we’ve gone deep on all the different ways to safeguard your mental health, seek out support systems, and negotiate better life balances as the hardworking breadwinner. But frankly, sometimes those self-care band-aids just ain’t enough to stop the role from slowly breaking you down.

If any of these signs are hitting too close to home, it may be time to seriously reevaluate whether carrying the full financial load is sustainable for you long-term:

Your Health is Crumbling

When your body starts loudly recking the alarms with chronic issues like insomnia, frequent illness, anxiety attacks, or even hair loss – that’s a big ol’ neon sign reading “BURNOUT!”

Pay attention if your personal well-being has totally derailed.

The Resentment is Real

It’s one thing to experience periodic jealousy over your partner’s lower-stakes lifestyle. But if you’re consumed with bitter resentment and anger toward them or your situation on a daily basis, that’s toxic behavior brewing. A constant resentment undercurrent can torpedo relationships.

You’ve Completely Lost Yourself

Does it feel like your entire identity has dissolved into “just a paycheck” these days? If you can’t remember the last time you had a non-money related thought or engaged with old hobbies/interests, you’re on a slippery slope of losing your sense of self.

Your Finances Are Still Out of Control

Despite all your nonstop grinding, you still can’t seem to gain stable financial footing or pay down debts. If your budget remains a hot mess no matter what you do, that relentless money stress may not be worth it.

Your Work Mindset is Tanking

Are you experiencing a lack of professional motivation, decreased productivity, or straight-up hating your job lately? Once that toxic work mindset sets in, it’s almost impossible to resuscitate your drive as the family’s breadwinner.

The People You Love Are Suffering

At the end of the day, one of the biggest warning signs it’s time for a change is if your closest relationships have become casualties. When your spouse and kids are lamenting your absence or you’re constantly missing out on major life events, those are painful wake-up calls.

If multiple signs are ringing true for you, it may ultimately do more harm than good to keep white-knuckling the breadwinner role. Have those tough conversations about redistributing financial duties and responsibilities for everyone’s well-being.

Conclusion: Rebalancing Your Life as the Breadwinner

Being the one bringing home all the dough for your whole family is one of the most stressful, soul-crushing responsibilities imaginable. The endless money stresses, scheduled chaos, lack of any real “off” switch – of course there are times you think “I am tired of being the breadwinner!”

But look, most households simply cannot exist without that steady paycheck maker holding everything down. Keeping a roof overhead, the bills covered, money for kids’ activities and eventually college – somebody has to be the MVP making that happen. It stinks, but it’s the truth.

Instead of just quitting the whole provider gig, though, the smarter play is finding ways to rebalance your life and lighten that heavy load. Take the tips and self-care strategies from this guide and actually use them! Unplug from work when you’re off the clock. Carve out guilt-free “you” time every single week. Rediscover your identity beyond just being the money maker.

Get serious about self-care rituals that refill your cup – workouts, nutrient-rich meals, breathwork, whatever. And for goodness sake, don’t try to power through this demanding role all alone! Lean on friends and family, hire help, heck, get a therapist if needed. Having a support system is mandatory for sustainability.

At the end of the day, your whole family’s overall well-being rests on you, the breadwinner, not becoming a burnt-out, empty person. You have to prioritize your own work-life balance and mental health. Otherwise, that money train is going off the rails eventually, and then where will everyone be?

So go ahead and vent those “I’m over this” moments as they arise. We all cycle through those funks as the head money-maker. But don’t dwell there, you hear me? Get your recharge on, find that better balance, and keep winning that bread without running on fumes. Your whole squad needs you firing on all cylinders for the long haul.

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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