Parental Burnout – You are never not a parent.

 The official definition of burnout according to the WHO is that it’s an occupational phenomenon and not to be used to describe issues in other areas of life. Bullshit! The other part of the official definition is that: “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Why does this have to be in the workplace? Can stress be chronic and long lasting at home? If you are a parent, you are always a parent. You are never not a parent.  

One of the industries or workers most affected by burnout are social workers. People who work a lot with clients and have a lot of client exposer. Client who went through hardship with whom we are engaging and trying to help.  Now I’m not saying your kids are clients, but one of the charateristics of burnout is the feeling of energy depletion and exhaustion. Exhaustions has serval levels. One of the levels is emotional exhaustion. And that is the same as if you are working a lot with clients and dealing with their issues and when you are a parent dealing with your kids issues. You are never not a parent.

Parenting is often described as one of life’s most rewarding experiences, but it can also be incredibly challenging and overwhelming. I have twins, I know what I’m talking about.

In recent years, there’s been increasing recognition of a phenomenon known as parental burnout, a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion resulting from the demands of parenting.

What is Parental Burnout?

Parental burnout is characterized by feelings of chronic stress, fatigue, and emotional exhaustion related to the responsibilities of raising children. It’s important to note that experiencing occasional stress and exhaustion is normal for parents, but parental burnout goes beyond the usual ups and downs of parenting. It can significantly impact a parent’s well-being and their ability to effectively care for their children.

Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of parental burnout is crucial for seeking help and implementing strategies to cope. Some common signs include:

  1. Chronic Exhaustion: Feeling physically and emotionally drained despite getting an adequate amount of sleep.
  2. Emotional Distancing: Withdrawing from interactions with your children or feeling emotionally detached from them.
  3. Irritability and Impatience: Becoming easily frustrated or angry with your children over minor issues.
  4. Decreased Satisfaction: Losing enjoyment in parenting activities that once brought joy and fulfillment.
  5. Neglecting Self-Care: Putting your own needs on the back burner and neglecting self-care practices.
  6. Feelings of Inadequacy: Constantly doubting your parenting abilities and feeling like you’re not doing enough for your children.
  7. Increased Absenteeism: Avoiding responsibilities or finding excuses to be away from home for extended periods.

What can you do about it?

If you’re experiencing parental burnout, know that you’re not alone, and there are steps you can take to take back being in charge of your life:

  1. Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family members, or a therapist who can provide emotional support and practical help.
  2. Prioritize Self-Care: Make time for activities that recharge your batteries, whether it’s exercising, reading, or pursuing hobbies.
  3. Set Boundaries: Learn to say no to additional commitments and delegate tasks when possible to lighten your load.
  4. Embrace imperfection: It’s fine not to be a perfect parent.
  5. Connect with Other Parents: Join parenting groups or online communities where you can share experiences and advice with other parents.
  6. Focus on the Positive: Make a conscious effort to identify and appreciate the joys of parenthood, no matter how small they may seem.
  7. Seek Professional Help: If parental burnout is significantly impacting your daily functioning, consider seeking help from a therapist or someone like myself who can provide guidance and support.

Conclusion:

Parental burnout is a real experience that many parents face, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a sign of weakness or failure as a parent. By recognizing the signs and symptoms early on and implementing coping strategies, you can work towards restoring balance and well-being in your life.