Parental Burnout: Do You Have It?

parental burnout

Admit it.

Parenting is incredibly tough. There are days where you’ll feel extremely exhausted and incredibly annoyed. Depression, frustrations, and feelings of low self-worth are bound to happen at some point.

Just like how professionals experience burnout in their careers, parents also experience the same thing. Parental burnout is real and if left unaddressed, it can cause huge problems at home.

So, how do you know if you’re having it?

Signs Of Parental Burnout

  • You feel exhausted most of the time.
  • You feel irritable more than usual.
  • At times, you miss those days when you were still childless.
  • You find everything a blur.
  • You feel the need to say you’re truly happy all the time.
  • You’re thinking that your kids are purposely annoying you.
  • You have a lower tolerance for frustration.
  • You sigh a lot without any apparent reason.
  • You’ve forgotten who you truly are.
  • You are starting to lose a sense of accomplishment from being a parent.
  • You begin emotionally distancing yourself from your kids.

The Negative Effects Of Parental Burnout

When you suffer from parental burnout, it’s not just you who’s affected. Your child may also suffer as you fail to function as a parent properly.

He might not get the support and nurturing he needs and that can cause huge problems in the long run. And worse, you- as a parent- may also end up with self-harming thoughts, substance abuse, and other similar problems.

With that, you need to acknowledge parental burnout for what it is. It’s not just about feeling lousy, stressed out or having a bad day. It’s way more serious than that.

What To Do With Parental Burnout

Dealing with parental burnout is actually easy. There are things you can do to get and feel better.

Stop trying to be perfect

One of the things you need to have a clear understanding of is that there’s no perfect child or perfect parent. With that in mind, you have to stop aiming for perfection.

Set realistic and suitable goals for you and your children. Keep your expectations manageable and stop trying to achieve what other families are achieving. Doing that will only suffocate the family.

If you force such parenting philosophy, you’re setting yourself up for more problems. For example, trying to force your teenage child to behave in a way that he’s not comfortable with will just pave the way for him to rebel.

Be optimistic

When you start being more realistic, you become more accepting. And as a result, you develop this more positive outlook in life.

Instead of paying attention to what’s going wrong with you and the way you are raising your child, focus on your strengths as a parent. Use them to positively deal with your children.

Know that you can't do everything

As much as you’d like to believe, you aren’t a superhero. You can’t do it all and that’s alright.

When you feel inadequate, don’t be too quiet about it. Find someone to talk to just to get off the ideas. You can discuss your feelings with your friends, another parent, your own parents or your partner. You can even find support online.

The main point is that you should address your weaknesses. Don’t feel afraid or embarrassed for having them and be open for advice.

And while you’re at it, don’t hesitate to delegate chores around the house. Ask your kids to help you out but be sure that the chores are developmentally appropriate for them. Divide the chores between you and your partner and you’ll feel so much lighter and better.

Don't feel guilty for pampering yourself

Take a day off. It might not always look possible, but try as hard as you can. You can ask your partner to cover for you while you take a break and return the favor after.

Relax, read a new book, drink a glass of wine if you want to or just soak in a really nice, warm bath. Eat in your favorite restaurant, treat yourself to a new dress or watch a movie by yourself.

Those things might sound too simple but they can dramatically change your perspective. You’ll feel refreshed and energized after a short break.

Learn to say no

You don’t always have to say yes to your children or your partner. Learn to set correct boundaries and make sure that they understand.

For example, once your children are in bed and you’ve attended to their needs for bedtime, let them know that it’s time for them to sleep. You won’t be there to address their concerns unless it’s really necessary.

Try something new

If you are really feeling low and unenthusiastic, maybe it’s time for you to find a new hobby. It’s something that should make you feel excited looking forward to doing.

Now, a new hobby doesn’t really have to be too expensive. You can try out gardening, sewing, baking or even exercising.

Consider doing yoga as well. It won’t just help you get more fit but it can also help calm your nerves and make you feel more relaxed. You can easily squeeze them into your busy schedule as you won’t really need complicated machines and pieces of equipment to do. Just get a yoga mat and you’re good to go.

Conclusion

Parental burnout isn’t something you can just ignore and brush off. It’s serious and if you fail to address it right away, you can end up with more serious problems. Even your kids can suffer from that.

So, don’t be afraid to take a break. Say no when you need to and ask for help whenever necessary. Talk to someone and try to be more open about how you are feeling. And if you are still feeling low, try something new. Pick a hobby you’ll be excited about.

Once you’ve recovered, it won’t just be you who’ll be smiling. Your kids and even your partner will be really happy, too.

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