Advice Column: Can Depleted Mother Syndrome Affect Moms with Older Children?

Advice Column: Can Depleted Mother Syndrome Affect Moms with Older Children?


Hi Tamar – I read your post about Depleted Mother’s Syndrome and want to know if it can affect mothers of older children? I have two tweens and many of the symptoms resonated with me. Thanks!


Hi, I’m so glad you asked this question because so many women think that being depleted is reserved ONLY to mothers of young children. It is simply NOT true. Parenting tween girls can be overwhelming. Their bodies and minds are changing as well as the world’s reaction to them. That can trigger many fears for you as a parent. It can engage some old trauma and/or grief around feeling helpless, letting go, or feeling unsafe.

Depleted Mother Syndrome has three main characteristics:

  1. High demands
  2. Low resources
  3. Emotional vulnerability

When these characteristics are present, in ANY stage of parenthood – you are likely to find a parent who is DEPLETED.

Think for a moment about these three characteristics and what they look like in YOUR life.

Let’s start with Demands:

What demands and expectations are stealing away most of your energy? And which of these can you let go of temporarily?

Where in your life do you need to practice saying NO?

Consider for a moment, delegating some of the tasks on your plate to other people. What are the top 3 obstacles to delegating right now? Which of these obstacles is the smallest of the bunch? What can you do TODAY to remove it?

Next, Resources:

Who are the people in your life that give you energy? How can you increase their presence in your life?

Who are the people in your life that steal your energy? What are two things you can do to protect yourself from them?

If you were to introduce more activities into your week that replenish rather than deplete your energy, What would be the top 3 activities? What small thing can you do this week to move you one step closer to that?

What makes you Happy? Fulfilled? Passionate? Curious? If you were to increase these things in your life, where would be the best place to start?

And finally, Triggers:

What would you say is the hardest part of parenting tweens for you? Why is that the hardest part?

In what ways can you relate to your girls? In what ways are you totally dumbfounded by them? What comes up for you as you connect with those two things (relating and not relating)?

Fill in the blank:

I feel guilty about____________
I feel sad about_____________
I feel scared about____________
I feel out of control about______________
I feel inadequate about__________________

Now look back at the what you wrote above, and add at the end of each statement “and that’s okay for now“. Now re-read the statements.

Lastly, Consider getting a physical by your Dr. to rule out any nutritional deficiency.

Take a look at my Online Program for Depleted Moms: The Depleted Mother’s Guide to Wellness and Balance, where I offer tools for reducing anger, guilt, shame, releasing negative habits, and re-introducing your own happiness into the equation.

I hope that helps.

Take care.

What else would you recommend to this wonderful mom? Add your thoughts in the comments below:


Tamar (Tami) Amit, M.A. RCC

About Tamar (Tami) Amit, M.A. RCC