Feeling tired all the time? Do you feel frustration more often looking around the house? Need distance from your kids but feeling guilty about it? These are just some symptoms of parental burnout, and can severely affect your relationship with your children in the long run.
Other symptoms of burnout include, but are not limited to:
- constant feelings of anxiety or panic
- brain fog
- lack of motivation
- feeling disconnected from everything else
Burnout is a phenomenon that not only applies to work life, but also to parents. Why does it happen? Parenting is a 24/7 role, 365 days a year. Parents are also individuals with many responsibilities and this multitude of roles can be stressful. Keeping up with the demands of life can be overwhelming, especially so that there are tiny humans dependent on you to make things work. All parents, new and seasoned, are susceptible to parenting burnout when faced with inadequate support, inability to conduct self-care and regulate their stress levels.
If you recognise some of these symptoms, know that it’s okay to seek help. Parents are humans just like their children; your needs should be recognised and addressed too. Steps that you can take to help mediate burnout include:
- Asking for support helps us recognise that we are not alone in these struggles. A fresh perspective can also provide new insights, inspiring you in times of burnout. This relieves feelings of frustration and worry; sorting out these feelings makes one feel better.
- Have someone else step into the roles you are struggling to keep up with. This gives you time for other activities that you want to participate in or need to devote more energy to. Pockets of time for catching up on sleep, finding time to be physically active and having proper meals goes a long way in recovery.
- Outsource invisible loads! External pressures such as gendered norms about care work and familial obligations can add on to daily stresses. As it takes a village to raise a child, build your own village. Have a conversation with your spouse or family about caregiving duties; provide only what you can afford to.