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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

Dr. Jacqueline Kerr: Work Burnout, Mom Burnout, and the Systems That Keep You Stuck

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

“That fear of burning out again – of course it’s driving me because I don’t want other moms to feel this way,” says Dr. Jacqueline Kerr, Behavioral Scientist. “But the reality is, we are going to experience this, and it’s about how we grow.” Jacqueline realized she was burning out when she started routinely crying on both her way to work and on her way home. At her lowest point, she experienced suicidal ideation, panic attacks, high cortisol levels, and loss of purpose. However, while Jacqueline still falls into the patterns of burnout at times, she tells listeners that she now knows the warning signs and possesses the arsenal of tools she needs to pull herself up more effectively.

At the time of her peak burnout, Jacqueline was a professor at a school of medicine, supporting a group of over 40 staff and students, doing her own research, teaching, mentoring and heavily involved in community support. On top of her work responsibilities, she was also a wife and mom. Jacqueline tells listeners that she started feeling inadequate both at home and at work; she simply couldn’t balance between supporting all of the people in her life and maintaining her personal health. Now, Jacqueline specializes in helping women and organizations understand the multi-level solutions to working mom burnout.

Tune into today’s episode of FRIED. The Burnout Podcast for a conversation with Dr. Jacqueline Kerr about the systems that keep you stuck. Learn more about Jacqueline’s emotional burnout story, the importance of implementation intentions and accountability partners, and why change is a ripple process.


  • “I realized I was burning out when I literally would be going to work and crying on the way to work and coming home and crying on the way home because both places were making me feel so inadequate.” (03:52-04:11)

  • “That fear of burning out again – of course it’s driving me because I don’t want other moms to feel this thing. I’m so afraid that anyone feels pain or suffering. But the reality is, we are going to experience this and it’s about how we grow.” (13:15-13:35)

  • “An idea from behavior science is called implementation intentions. Unless you actually sit down and say, ‘What am I going to do? When am I going to do it? Where am I going to do it?’ then you don’t really have a plan.” (17:14-17:28)

  • “There are definitely things you can do to help yourself [through burnout]. I think your mindset is so important, having a growth and curious open mindset, valuing yourself, trying to help yourself with some of your limiting self-beliefs. I think there’s so much you can do to think about your own outlook.” (28:50-29:08)

  • “The social norms around [mothering] just become exhausting because you feel like whatever you do, it’s never good enough. That social expectation, the research has shown, can really affect burnout as well.” (33:56-33:14)

  • “I totally understand when you’re exhausted, and you’re the victim of this system, you don’t necessarily want to be doing anything extra. But actually, that sense of fulfillment that you can get belonging to a group of people who have a purpose is part of your recovery….These social situations where you’re working as a group towards a positive goal that you care about can be so helpful for that process.” (46:43-47:21)




If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today:


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