Parenting in itself is a full-time job, so to experience burnout because of it can be expected. Doubting what you may be doing or how well you may be doing as a parent can be normal. Whether this is your third little one or your first born, you may read and research and prepare, but when it comes down to it, you’re going to learn and grow alongside them. Raising children is a job no one will ever be fully prepared for.
So, what can we do to help manage parental burnout? First, it’s important to know a number of these challenges you will face are going to be out of your control. Once we acknowledge that then we can also understand this; it will always be okay to ask for help. If it’s your job to take the kids to school, consider asking a friend or another parent if your children can car pool. Ask a family member if they can help pitch in with play time or even watch the kids for a night. Overwhelming yourself with piled on responsibilities and tasks is a lot like trying to balance a bunch of spinning plates. You may have four or five going at a time, but keeping track of them all at once will eventually lead to one of them falling.
Also consider finding a place to let off some steam. Parenting groups online or even locally can be a good place to just vent. Sometimes you need to get it off your chest! Reach out to a mom group, friends, colleagues, or consider therapy. Taking care of your emotional-self is just as important as your physical well-being.
In all of this, you also need to show yourself some compassion as a parent. Tell yourself positive affirmations; “Whatever I accomplished today is enough.”
You do not need to go above and beyond, stretching yourself thin to get every single little task done. You just need to be enough. That can take shape in so many ways, with small gestures or words to your children.
There is no universal definition of a ‘good parent’. Consider your values and think- what does being a good parent mean to you?
On days where you feel like you may be at your limit, like you’ve been worked to the bone, take a second to remind yourself that you are working to provide for someone you love. You provide for both big and small matters, and you deserve every bit of compassion and care that you’re putting into the world. Whether you are dealing with postpartum depression, parental burnout, or burnout from your daily work or routine, remember you are only human and with that comes so many responsibilities. That also means you are allowed to make mistakes. Nothing will ever come easy, but show yourself a little compassion.