Parenting burnout is a huge problem among so many parents of young children and parents of kids with special needs regardless of their age. And when it comes to times such as what we are dealing with now in regards to Covid, parents will become even more burned out of kids that are at an age or at a developmental stage of being quite dependant.
Burnout is quite serious because this is when the parents are not getting any time to themselves, and they are not getting enough rest. They are having to juggle childcare, work whether it is from home or not, home duties, and other responsibilities.
There is just no time to rest and no time to recharge. By the time the work is completed, and by the time virtual school is finished for the kids, there is no time to rest. That is because that is when dinner must be served. And then after dinner, it is clean up time. And the kids may not be able to help if they are at an age or developmental stage where they cannot.
By the time cleaning up is done after dinner, then there is no time to rest yet again. It is time for a bath, and then there are bedtime battles to follow. Once the kids are in bed, then maybe the parents can relax a little.
But of course one of the kids has to leave their room for whatever reason. Or one of the kids got sick in bed. As you can see, parenting burnout is real and it is more likely to happen during the pandemic.
The stress from the pandemic is worsening the burnout as well. There is just that added worry that if the kids go anywhere away from home then they can pick up the virus and be an asymptomatic carrier and pass it onto one of their grandparents who will not have an easy time fighting it.
How Do You Know If You Are Suffering From Parenting Burnout?
Well, burnout signs are easy to spot from the outside but you may be at a point that you don’t notice it. Let’s go over the signs that you may be in trouble.
- You are having difficulty sleeping or have a need to sleep too much
- You are very fatigued
- You find no enjoyment in anything you once did
- You are feeling numb
- You run on autopilot and have no emotions otherwise
- You are depressed in addition to the above mentioned
- You are getting physically sick often
- You eat too little or eat too much
- You are not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel
- You are easily agitated
- The things that used to not bother you suddenly do
- You get angry easily
- You are anxious
- You are at a point where you are apathetic about yourself and your family
- You are forgetful
- You cannot concentrate
- You are not paying your bills and are getting calls from collectors
Those are just some signs that you are burned out. This is the time to delegate responsibilities and leave those responsibilities on the backburner that can wait. This means you will have to spend some money when it comes to grocery delivery, for instance. You absolutely need to have some time for ‘me time‘ so you can unwind and meet your needs.
It is also very important to eat well and nutritiously which is why you will want to look into subscribing to a meal kit instead of getting takeout. That is unless you cannot cook at all based on the level of responsibilities you have and then go and choose the healthier takeout options as they do exist.
Aim to get 15 to 20 minutes of exercise in even if it is intermittent. And if you cannot get a full night’s sleep, you will need to take a nap during the day, but don’t nap for more than one hour. Unless your kids are babies or severely developmentally delayed (not mild or moderately), encourage your kids to help by cleaning up and pitching in. This will relieve a lot of your stress.
Go talk to a counselor online as well because your mental health is suffering if you are so burned out. You need to invest in some self-care and it does not have to be expensive. You deserve to be healthy and when you see that you are falling victim to parenting burnout, then you will see it is time to make some important changes.
Sue Groner is the author or Parenting with Sanity and Joy: 101 Simple Strategies offers tips to parents on how to avoid parenting burnout, especially during these difficult and uncertain times. Groner emphasizes that it’s important to be together as a family than it is to stress about what […]