Do you love your kids but all you can think of lately is to have some time away from them? Have you always dreamed of being a parent but are suddenly crippled with worries associated with this immense responsibility? Does it feel like everything you do is wrong because you are constantly exhausted and even angry? If you can relate, then you are most probably experiencing parental burnout.
What is parental burnout?
Parental burnout refers to the seemingly constant feeling of exhaustion related to the duties assigned to parents. This condition needs to be addressed immediately because it can lead to self-destructive behaviors for the parents and can have harmful effects on the children. Parents who are consumed with fatigue can experience depression, and be susceptible to substance abuse. Likewise, kids whose parents are constantly stressed out are at risk for physical and emotional abuse.
It was said that the concept of parental burnout first emerged during the 1980s but only started being seen as a serious issue that needs to be researched and studied after 2010. For this reason, it is probable that not so many individuals are aware of this predicament faced by parents. Moreover, many distressed Moms and Dads would probably feel helpless about dealing with parenting burnout. The following tips can help:
Do not be ashamed to talk about it
The despair you feel is a contradiction from the romanticized concept where loving parents are constantly happy and fulfilled. Afraid to be misunderstood and judged, it is understandable if you find it hard to admit your situation. However, bottling everything inside can only make the problems appear bigger than it is. So share your woes with a trusted counselor and you may be surprised at how light you feel after. You may even receive great advice that can help you deal better with your problems. It may also help to join online groups where you can console other parents facing the same situation.
Although all Moms and Dads can experience it, research says that parents who do not receive any support (financial or emotional) are most vulnerable to it. They can be those who are single parents or those with a physically challenged child. Working parents who receive little or no help from their partners are also at risk. Managing difficult situations all by yourself can indeed exhaust your energy, therefore, it is a must to seek assistance. You can ask for help from family or close friends. It is also an option to hire a reliable caregiver whom you can trust.
Be kind to yourself
Even as the main caregiver in the family, your own needs should still remain a priority. After all, you are not fit to take care of others if you are not physically or emotionally well. So find time to take regular breaks and indulge in something that makes you happy. It may be challenging to take a break when your plate is full but a short time off can make a huge difference.