The concept of being an overwhelmed parent is something that we are all more than aware of in the world we live in today. But it seems that, in light of the pandemic, the concept of being overwhelmed has been taken to a whole new level. It can feel almost relentless, not just because of the daily duties of life, but the concerns over what is around the corner. Not to mention the fact that we are tasked with giving our children nutritious meals, and need to provide them with emotional strength and fortitude, not to mention saving money for their future. With so many things going on, is it hardly surprising that most of us have started to feel full with parental burnout? So what is this, and how can we cope with parental burnout?
What Is Parental Burnout?
The idea of parental burnout can fall into four different categories: feeling exhausted by your role as a parent, feeling a sense of contrast with your previous parental self, feeling fed up, or distancing yourself emotionally from your children. So it’s not just about feeling stressed or fatigued, but it’s a deep-rooted sense of inadequacy that can leave you drained and unable to be an ineffective parent.
How Can We Help Burnout?
The first thing that we should all be aware of is our timetables. Being a parent means that we’ve got a lot of duties to do, and not necessarily enough time to do them in. This is why we must recognize that if we are trying to be responsible for our children’s upbringing, but also keep the house ticking over, we’ve got to find out what is more important. Naturally, the answer is the former. And while you can outsource a number of housing duties to your local maid service you also need to understand that the concept of time with your children is far more important. So how do we address this?
Learning to Get the Balance Right
The idea of work-life balance is nothing new, but the problem we have as parents is thinking that we are indebted to our employers. While there is more of a balance at play these days because of hybrid and remote working, the reality is you still feel that you prioritize your employer over your children, at least during working hours. And therefore, splitting your time effectively, while also making sure that you can focus on your work is essential. But you need to ask yourself why you need to work so much? Is it to do with giving your children everything that they want, rather than everything that they need? When we feel burdened by a certain number of parenting duties, coupled with expectations of our lifestyle, we believe that we have to earn a lot of money to give them what we think they want.
The Stress of “Intensive Parenting”
Something that isn’t necessarily spoken about, but many parents now feel the pressure to be “on,” and invest heavily in their children 24/7, and this means that we can feel ourselves at risk of burnout by trying to be our children’s idols and everything else. But this means we start to hold ourselves accountable for the wrong reasons. Being an intensive parent means that we are investing too much into our children’s lives, and thinking that we need to bring out the best possible outcome by being in every part of their lives, which is unrealistic, that can also give rise to helicopter parenting. But this goes back to the idea of wealth being a key factor because we think that if we have more money, we would be able to invest more time, but the reality is that the more money we try to earn, the more work responsibilities we have, so anxiety, depression, and guilt soon follows.
How Do We Cope With Parental Burnout?
There are typical avenues that we can go down, such as self-care, but we have to remember that when we feel stressed, we have to look after ourselves, while also recognizing that we are not prioritizing ourselves over our children. There is a distinct difference between the two. And when we are looking after ourselves, and allowing us the opportunity to recharge, we should be able to see the effects of it on how we are parenting. There are plenty of self-care resources online that can help, but it’s vital to remember that if you are not able to have a positive mindset, it can all be in vain.
Finding time for yourself is important. Whether it’s five minutes to use some nail care products or a meal out with friends once a month, it all helps you to recharge. There are many ways you can recharge your batteries as a parent but it should always be done without your children in tow. After all, you can’t help others if you’re constantly running on empty yourself. However, it’s not just about the ‘me time’ you can squeeze into your schedule.
The real solutions involve lowering your expectations as a parent, and this can boil down to not playing the parental game as we see it. Some parents need to be on top of the laundry four times a day, but we have to remember that if we put ourselves through the wringer, and focus hard on giving our children the things we think they want, this might not even result in having successful or happy children. We can also spend less time on social media thinking that we need to up our parenting game, but we have to remember that we deserve to feel good about ourselves. When we feel burnout, it’s because we’re going down a pathway that isn’t suitable for us. We think that we need to conform to a certain way of operating, but when we start to realize that this doesn’t provide a satisfactory end goal, perhaps we can stop beating ourselves up so much?
We can finally remove stress and thoughts that plague us so much, and actually focus on the quality of life with our children, rather than feeling that we need to give them the basics, even though we perceive the basics as what a 50-hour working week pays for? When we start to pile the pressure on ourselves, this is what makes us ineffective parents. So if you want to stop feeling overwhelmed, and not feel those pressures, the answer lies in looking at yourself.