Tips to Avoid Parent Burnout
Parenthood is exhausting, and parent burnout is a fairly common struggle. Life is usually a tailspin of activity from early morning until late at night. There are ways to stay on an even keel, but not everyone realizes that just by being a parent, they are at risk for burnout. According to Frontiers in Psychology, between 2% and 12% of all parents suffer from burnout.
If you are a parent, no one has to tell you how quickly the demands of each day can make you feel overwhelmed. It’s important for parents not to get to the point where they sincerely want to just run away and keep on running. Things absolutely do not have to get anywhere near that point. Check out the following tips to help you avoid parental burnout.
If you want everything to be “just so” in your home and yet you have children, something has got to give. Perhaps prior to becoming a parent, you prided yourself in your perfectly organized home. Perhaps you’re already realizing it, but a beautifully ordered environment is not a typical reality in households with children nor does it need to be. The job of feeding a household three meals per day while raising children and keeping the house from being dangerously cluttered is huge! Only a person with totally unrealistic expectations thinks a home should be neat as a pin, when there are children to be cared for. Ease up on the expectations you have of yourself. If others have expectations of you that aren’t fair, try to communicate just what it is that you do all day. Or better yet, trade places with them for a day. The important thing to realize is the pressure of unreasonable expectations is very stressful and contributes to burnout.
Ask for Help
If you are drowning in all of the responsibilities you have as a parent, you may literally need an extra pair of hands. Ask for help or hire help, if you can. Just having someone else clean and cook for you for a single day could give you a fresh restart and all the energy you need to keep going with a positive attitude. Don’t just keep sinking into a place of despair. Send out all appropriate SOS signals to the people and groups in your life till a rescuer responds and you feel that your head is well above water.
Become a Self-Care Expert
Few stay-at-home moms and dads have time for themselves, but all of us need to take care of ourselves. If we are always pouring out and never getting re-filled, it’s no wonder we turn up empty and become burned out parents. Be intentional about self-care. As you look at the week ahead, schedule mental health hours wherever you can. If a generous friend has volunteered to help give you an occasional break, take them up on it. Let your friendly volunteer watch the kids while you go out with your spouse, soak in the bathtub, go to the movies, or play tennis with a friend. Figure out what fills your tank and include those activities in your busy life as a parent.
Babies are adorable, but they can certainly be a handful. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about needing to take some time for yourself, lowering your expectations, or getting help from someone. Your amazing kids will be better off if you get refreshed rather than getting total parent burnout.