Parenting is a beautiful journey that we can pretty much compare to a roller coaster ride – filled with ups and downs that does not seem to end. Unfortunately, there are times when parents can feel excessively tired, cranky, unproductive, useless, and not enough. Have you felt the same way too? Then this means that you are suffering from parental burnout.
What is Parental Burnout?
Parental burnout exists and is becoming more prevalent lately. It is a term that describes resentment, physical and emotional fatigue, de-motivation, and even depression in some parents who are overly stressed with parenting and a pile of other obligations.
According to studies and research, the changes in our society and culture are huge contributing factors that brought about the rise of this syndrome. So how do you know if you have parental burnout? These are the signs that you need to watch out for:
- Emotionally distancing from child
- Lack of motivation to go on
- Feeling useless as a parent
- Easily angered by the child even for simplest and smallest reasons
The bad thing is that not only parents are affected by parental burnout. This can take a toll on your child, too and the effects can last for a long time. For this reason, moms and dads should partake in activities that allow them to “recharge” and prevent fatigue.
Having said that, I decided to ask other parents for practical solutions on how to cope with parental burnout.
How to Cope
If you feel like you can no longer take it all, here are some of the many suggestions from parents like you and I to avoid falling prey to parental burnout:
I shop for my son to de-stress. I usually do this with a mom friend so I have a chance to talk to another adult (and keep my sanity lol). This technique is like hitting two birds with one stone – shopping for things that my kid needs while socializing with other moms without feeling guilty of leaving my husband and kid behind. I feel invigorated after doing this kind of errand. You should try it, too.
Have a Vent Buddy
It is really frustrating for me every time my 3-year old son and I argue. I always remind myself that I need to understand his context because he does not always get my point of view… and shouting at him does not help at all.
Whenever I feel like I am about to explode, I take a break from arguing with my son and call or text a friend. I whine, and nag, and even swear if need be just to let everything out of my system. After this, I feel a bit better and all my anger has simmered. By the time I go back to my son, my head is already clear and I can better “hear” what he is saying. This way, we can better communicate with each other.
If I can’t reach anyone, I simply send an email to myself – the same thing I want to tell my vent buddy during a phone call or text message.
Relax and Watch a Movie
I feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities – imagine another human being is fully dependent on me for everything. As a result, I worry almost every time even when I am near my kiddo. This is where parental burnout comes creeping in.
When this happens, I watch a movie – more than once a month. I choose movies that do not last for more than two hours. As I am engrossed with the characters in the movie, I temporarily forget about my woes and worries. This, honestly, feels like a mini-vacation for me. As soon as I go out, I feel like a different person.
Go for a Run
This is the same thing as having a vent buddy as this helps keep my head clear. Before I go to work, I run for 15 minutes to decompress and work on things that are stressing me out.
This 15-minute run might not be much but it helps me work something out on my head while keeping my body healthy and active. By the time I get home, I feel happier and, surprisingly, more patient.
Let Your Partner Take Over
Parenting on your own is hard. Plus, it makes you crazy as you incessantly want to control everything. Sometimes, I decide to take a step back. I tell myself to bail on some activities and let my husband handle it.
For instance, I let my husband take my son to the park so I can stay at home. I can clean, read a book, catch on my favorite series, or just sit down and relax. This rewards us both – my husband gets to bond with my son and I get some time to reboot.
Remember that parenting is not like a job wherein you can just resign anytime you want. You cannot give up or quit on your kids. But if you take note of the practical tips in this post that are proven effective by other parents, I am sure that you will feel happy. You will never fall prey to parental burnout ever again.
Elkyra Park is a first-time mom who can no longer count how many baby products she has reviewed for her sanity and her son’s sake. She discusses about the realities of parenthood and how to gracefully cope with the struggles over at www.easyparentinghacks.com