Parental burnout 101: What is it and how to deal with it

Parental burnout is the constant feeling of exhaustion that might hamper your ability to take care of your children. Here’s how to deal with it.
parental mental health in the NICU
Parents, take care of yourself in order to give your best to your kids! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Sheetal Shaparia Published: 11 Jun 2021, 17:59 pm IST
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If you’re a parent or a parent-to-be, you’ve probably already heard that a single smile from your child is extremely fulfilling. It is said that the task is so joyful that the difficulties are barely noticeable. Well, that’s only half the truth! Parenting is a job with tasks that have no end date, where the finish line is always shifting, and work you can’t escape. Now, this leads to perfect conditions for burnout.

As parents, we prioritise the needs of our children above everything in life. Some parents get so involved with their kids that they neglect their own needs. The result is parental burnout, a condition in which you’re exhausted to the point where you feel you have nothing left to offer to your child. 

What is parental burnout?

It is more than simply feeling stressed or worn out occasionally. It is the constant feeling of tiredness. Parental burnout is the result of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by continuous exposure to demanding situations involving one’s children. It is common among parents who have children with a long-term illness or behavioural issues but it can also be triggered by the stress of parenting alone.

The problem with parental burnout is that most people think that it’s a normal part of parenting. What makes it worse is that burnt-out parents are mostly in denial and refuse to accept that they are tired. Now, the thing is that we can’t give what we don’t have.

If we’re disconnected from ourselves, we can’t give attachment, love, and nurturing to our children. If we’re under stress, we can’t respond with patience and compassionate caring in the face of challenges. Since we are the parents, it’s up to us to know when burnout is reaching critical levels, and what to do about it.

The biggest challenge of parental burnout is that we can’t simply take a break from parenting to recover. The best way to deal with parental burnout is to practice self-care. Finding a way to take care of yourself as a parent can be a challenge, but it is possible.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Pay attention to yourself

Every day, take out some time (as much as you can) and focus only on yourself. Practice your favourite hobby, even if it’s for 10 minutes.  Focusing on things that make you happy personally can help boost your self-esteem.

parental burnout
Spend time on self-care and you’ll notice a marked difference. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Divide your responsibilities

When it comes to parenting, mothers often end up with most of the responsibilities. Dividing workload can help reduce stress and make the job easier.

3. Stop setting unrealistic goals

As parents, we try to do what’s best for our children. It’s high time you stop doing that and focus on things that actually matter.

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4. Go easy on yourself

Don’t try to be perfect. It’s alright if you mess up sometimes because everyone does! Give your best, but don’t exceed your capability because it’ll only burn you out.

5. Catch up with a friend

Every once in a while, meet your best friend and spend time with them like old times. Share your daily experiences with them, even the smallest ones. Communicating and being with someone who might not be part of the family but a huge part of your life can turn out to be very helpful in stressful situations.

6. Seek help

Parental burnout is a serious condition that shouldn’t be overlooked. Seek help and guidance without any hesitation.

Parents, take care of yourself in order to take care of your kids.

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About the Author

Sheetal Shaparia is a life coach who helps people in terms of love, money, career, happiness and experience the peace of knowing the right path to travel in life. ...Read More

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