How To Cope With Parental Burnout

how to cope with parental burnout

What Is Parental Burnout?

You have heard of workplace burnout but did you know that parents can also experience burnout – it is called parental burnout. Having this kind of burnout can take a toll on a parent. This is where a parent is feeling mentally tired, emotionally drained and having a hard time to feel joy in being a parent. 

This doesn’t mean that you do not love your kids, you just feel overwhelmed due to feelings of guilt, shame and maybe resentment. Before you are sucked deeper into this bad spiral, take a step back and understand parental burnout from a different perspective. Parental burnout can be caused by a number of reasons. For example, what society’s expectations of parenting, your own perception of what a parent should be like, or the effect of other stresses from work/relationship spill into parenting. 

Signs of Parental Burnout

Parental burnout falls somewhere between stress and depression, can have these following signs:

  • physical and mentally exhaustion
  • feeling incompetent as parent
  • feeling emotionally distance from your kids
  • headaches or tiredness
  • feeling lonely despite being with spouse and kids
  • urge to self hurt or hurt to others
  • sleep issues
  • tendency to isolate oneself
  • feeling guilt and shame

The causes of parental burnout include lack of economic resources, poor boundaries, lack of communication between partners, people-pleasing tendency, trust issues and most importantly, unrealistic expectation to oneself and spouse. Understand that being a parent is a journey. You do not have to be perfect all the time. 

When you have more “should” than “is” in parenting while leaving little room for error, you’re creating the perfect cocktail of potential for parental burnout.

How To Cope With Parental Burnout

  1. Priortise Self Care
    Self care is not overindulgence until you forget about your responsibilities. We’re talking about making time for your interests and hobbies outside of your regular parenting role. This can help you to recharge your energy and spirit.
  2. Practice Self Love
    Do you know that ignoring all the negative self-talk that you have in your mind is a form of self love. It is not hard enough to have people outside judging you? Why add in more yourself? When things go wrong, we may be at fault but usually it is not within our control. When you catch yourself speaking negatively, take a deep breath and focus on forgiving yourself and start again!
  3. Get a Support Group
    Your spouse, family or a close friend are what you need. Even seeking professional help can elevate your feelings tremendously. Reach out to people you can trust and close to. Even small talk can help you to get some ‘me time’ back.
  4. Rest
    Take opportunities to sleep when you can. You can also ask your partner or family to help you watch your kids so you can rest. Sit down every now and again and rest. Taking care of young kids can be very physically and mentally taxing.

Don’t wait until you’ve hit your breaking point to get professional help. Find a health professional who can undertake an assessment and help you identify whether you are experiencing depression or symptoms of parental burnout

Kath + Belle - Inspired By Love