Perfect parents don’t lose the run of themselves, don’t shout, don´t get exhausted and … don’t exist.
I read once that when you start to burnout at work you know it’s time to find a different job, but when you feeling burnt out at parenting, quitting just isn´t an option.
I´m not a mum yet but I see my friends with their kids and I´m pretty certain that being a parent is at times stressful. Here are some of the signs of parent burnout:
- You can’t think constructively when the children aren’t with you.
- The time you spend doing things with your children feels like a chore.
- You feel constantly tired and prefer to spend your free time away from your children.
- You spend a lot of your time managing your child’s behaviour, instead of having a good time with them.
What can you do about it?
- Maybe you are putting too much pressure on yourself as a parent – so take some time to evaluate what you expect from yourself as a parent. You don’t have to be perfect and you cannot care for your kids if you are not taking care of yourself first.
- Slow down. Not everything needs to be urgent. Stop saying yes to every activity and try to make time to rest, get some exercise and time to yourself.
- Let people help you. Book an occasional babysitter so you can have a few hours to yourself. If money is an issue, do a “babysitting swap” with another parent. Try talking to your partner or to your friends. You may be surprised at how many parents out there, some you know, are in the same situation.
- Consider therapy. If your perception about your relationship with yout children seems out of control and you feel completely overwhelmed and are struggling to get through your day, try making an appointment with a therapist. They can help give you some necessary tools and tips to deal with the struggles of parenting.
- Focus on the positive. It can be difficult to think positively when you are emotionally drained, but it will help you keep things in perspective. Take a few minutes every day to take a break, have a coffee and try writing about your feelings focusing on what you are grateful for.
Don’t forget to have realistic expectations of yourself as a parent. As I said earlier, perfect parents don’t exist so relax and don’t be afraid to ask for help from relatives, friends or even a professional if you need it.