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Parental Exhaustion

Is Parental Exhaustion Real? Signs and Ways to Deal with Parental Burnout

As a working mom, I’ve experienced what can be described as “parental exhaustion or parental burnout.” And I’m sure many of you can attest to this!

Parental burnout is an epidemic in the parenting world. The truth is parenting can be tricky. It’s a 24-hour job, and it’s our job to do it. We must feed our kids, clean up after them, and keep them happy.

We also have to do piles of chores, unending laundry, deal with streams of children tantrums and sleepless nights sometimes. Plus, we want to be our best in our professional jobs.

Indeed, parenting is a job that never ends. There is no pay or vacation. Every single day, you and your kids will be together. And it can be a daunting reality.

Do you feel like your children are sucking the life out of you? You might be feeling parental exhaustion.

Therefore, it’s crucial to identify the signs of parental exhaustion so you can deal with them before they overwhelm you. Here are some signs and ways to deal with it.

What is Parental Exhaustion?

What is Parental Exhaustion

Are you feeling agitated, impatient, and exhausted? You’re not alone. Parental exhaustion is real, and it’s happening to millions of parents all over the world.

Parental exhaustion is a condition in which you become so brow-beaten by parenting that you literally can’t give any more of you to your children. It is characterized by feelings of helplessness, frustration, disillusionment and isolation.

Unfortunately, parents tend to believe that burnout is a normal part of parenting, which isn’t the case.

You may experience guilt because you feel like you are letting your children down if you make time for yourself.

It’s understandable why so many parents feel exhausted; there are tons of pressures that come with being a parent, such as lack of sleep, constantly taking care of kids, school and work deadlines etc.

Think about how much pressure comes with being an adult… then think about trying to juggle all of those adult responsibilities while also taking care of another human life 24/7.

Fortunately, you can adopt several ways to deal with one’s exhaustion. And these days, professional help is available too!

Signs of Parental Exhaustion

There are many signs of parental burnout, which are different for each person. Some parents complain of fatigue, and others feel overwhelmed or stressed out. For instance, it may not be easy for you to get up in the morning.

If you’re feeling irritable or sad, it could be your body’s way of telling you that your energy is low. It may also be difficult for you to concentrate, focus or sleep well at night.

Also, you might find that you’ve lost your sense of humour, or your patience is shorter than usual.

If you feel irritable, frustrated, and cannot give anything more, it could be a sign of burnout.

Other signs of parental exhaustion include:

  • You often feel guilty
  • You are no longer interested in the things you once loved
  • Being emotional (emotions include anxiety, irritability, crying, or sadness)
  • You can’t control your worries
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Having low energy or feeling exhausted
  • An increase or decrease in appetite
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Waking up with no desire to face today
  • You feel like you NEED not WANT a break
  • Distancing yourself from others
  • The need to be alone or not be touched
  • Your temper seems shorter than usual
  • Whenever you are given a new task, you feel overwhelmed
  • You often feel resentful toward your partner, baby, or the universe

Parental exhaustion or burnout can sometimes signify more severe conditions, such as depression or anxiety. Furthermore, a burnout that’s not relieved can lead to clinical depression or anxiety disorders. This is why it’s essential to note the symptoms and make the necessary changes when necessary.

What Causes Parental Burnout?

Elevated Stress Levels

What Causes Parental Burnout

Parental burnout is commonly associated with experiencing high levels of stress without adequate support to cope with it.

Your child may have been sick for some time, or you may have been coping with a child who has behavioural problems, and you have become tired from these emotionally and physically demanding situations.

Furthermore, the stress of parenting alone (single parent) or having a new baby can also be a contributing factor.

If stress is not managed effectively, even the everyday stress of parenting can cause parental exhaustion.

Sadly, many parents avoid admitting they are experiencing stress as they are afraid of being judged for their inability to handle the situation.

It’s important to recognize that asking for help does not indicate weakness or the inability to cope.

Inability to Provide For Your Child Financially

Anyone who has raised a kid will understand the stress of balancing work, school, and living expenses.

There is an innate human tendency to seek out a situation that provides security and predictability to feel less stressed. This can be unhealthy for parents and their children if not approached correctly.

Parents can become burned out when they struggle to provide their children with gifts and opportunities regularly. We try everything we can to offer a good life for our children but can’t control everything. These situations can affect your relationship with your child, partner and the relationships of those around you.

You Are Always In the Habit of Pleasing People

As parents, we are constantly being pulled in two different directions. For example, either you give your kids everything they need, or you allow them to experience consequences for their misdeeds. It’s no surprise that this is exhausting.

Having the best parenting skills is an uphill battle. When you are constantly sacrificing your time, energy, sleep, and yourself to meet other people’s needs, it requires a lot of strength.

We’re not superhuman; we need to recharge our batteries just like everyone else.

Caring For a Child with Special Education Needs

Parents are often exhausted by the care and control required by children with special needs.

Many parents feel that the world has become a more bewildering place with each new generation of children requiring more and more attention.

As a result, many feel their ability to raise children effectively is at an all-time low.

They may seek comfort in a quiet corner where they can vent their frustrations without fear of being judged or ridiculed.

Unrealistic Expectations

Parents who expect too much from themselves or set unrealistic expectations for their children may find themselves working very hard to meet these expectations. They may find themselves withdrawing or frustrated with their offspring – even inadvertently – when unrealistic expectations aren’t met.

Other causes of parental exhaustion include:

  • Setting little or no boundaries
  • Communication problems
  • Distrust in others
  • Lack of support
  • Acquiring roles
  • Conflicts in scheduling

Overall, when you overburden yourself with too much or do more than you’re capable of handling, you run the risk of building a perfect storm of parental burnout.

How to Deal with Parental Exhaustion

Recovering from burnout first requires noticing the symptoms of caregiver burnout, to begin with. According to experts, once you do that, there is a slew of different solutions to help you heal, including the below options.

Be a “Good” Parent Not “Perfect”

Despite not being a brand new issue, today’s mothers are under so much pressure to involve themselves in everything. As a culture, we value parents who consistently strive to provide pristine lives for their children.

A certain study shows that many mothers suffer from exhaustion because they overinvest their maternal duties daily without help. These women say they do these things for fear of being tagged as “inefficient or incapable mothers.”

Having a wonderful relationship with your children doesn’t require you to be a “flawless” mother or father.

You can burn out if you try to provide your children with an extraordinary experience at any cost.

Therefore, if you want to stay the course, you need to cut yourself some slack! By managing your responsibilities for family and self-care, you can establish a relative balance and expand your reserves.

Do Not Compare Yourself to Others

Stop comparing yourself, and you will be much happier. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, ”Comparison is the thief of joy”.

Comparisons are very hard because everyone is different. So, every time we do so, it adds to the pressure, stress and feelings of inadequacy. It also means we diminish the crucial work that we as parents do.

Ask For Assistance

You build stress if you carry all of the responsibilities all of the time. Some people are incapable of relieving themselves because they do not have regular support or anyone near them to help.

But if you have somebody to help you (whether that’s a paid support person, spouse, sibling, or friend), negotiate regular breaks with them.

Discover ways to alleviate stress, whether via exercising, relaxing, meeting with a friend for coffee, or having lunch with your spouse. Find connections with those parts of yourself you haven’t exhausted due to parenting a difficult child.

By receiving support, you can also overcome negative thoughts that you are irrelevant to everyone else’s needs.

Get In Touch With a Friend

Getting in touch with people you used to be close to can prove beneficial if you don’t have a close friend you can trust.

Mental health becomes increasingly important as we age and can look beyond old drama. In recent years, society has become somewhat more open to discussing mental health, but there is still much room for improvement.

Find a Support Group

You may attend any support groups in person, online, or a hybrid model, depending on the moderators. Groups like these offer more flexibility in engagement and are usually peer-led, which means no one takes the position of a leader.

In addition, mental health professionals don’t always facilitate support groups. Instead, those who have gone through similar experiences often facilitate these groups. Identify the right fit for you by exploring several support groups.

Talk To A Therapist

Talk to A Therapist to ease parental burnout

If you consider what type of support would be most beneficial for you, you should consult a licensed mental health professional. You have many options, including individual therapy, couple therapy, and group therapy programs.

It is best to schedule an initial consultation with each therapist and practice since they have different styles. You’ll obtain better results if you know more about a program or experience.

Make Self-Care a Priority

Every individual’s self-care is different. Depending on your perspective, what you deem energizing and beneficial might feel dreadful to another.

Do you have a routine that allows you to feel rested, balanced, and happy? Make those things a daily habit. Whenever you don’t take care of yourself for a long time, you will begin to suffer from burnout more quickly.

You can easily incorporate self-care even if you are busy. Spend two minutes every morning breathing deeply and get in touch with yourself before checking your phone.  Afterward, admire your accomplishments and appreciate yourself for how far you have come.

When to Seek Professional Help for Parental Exhaustion

You shouldn’t allow your situation to get worse before seeking the help of medical or psychological personnel. Waiting could cause you to become overwhelmed with physical exhaustion that you won’t know where to begin seeking help from.

Also, it may take some time to book your first therapy appointment. You can learn to deal with your stressor efficiently when you find a less judgmental space to express yourself early enough.

Moreover, if you reach the point of considering suicide or homicide, you should get immediate help from a professional. Your doctor can offer you various options for dealing with these dark times based on your specific symptoms.

In a Nutshell

Parenting can seem overwhelming to parents, especially new moms and dads, which is a common phenomenon. Even when parents manage their children’s schedules and activities to the best of their abilities, they can feel exhausted.

When faced with parental exhaustion, what could come to your mind may be to quit your job (especially moms), take a vacation, etc. While these steps can help alleviate stress, they are not long-term ways to deal with parental exhaustion. The best way is to deal with real issues and not avoid them.

To recover from your exhausting situation, first deal with the symptoms or signs of parental burnout. Consider the things that are actually draining your blood (stressors), and then find ways to tackle them.

Finally, if it seems your life is becoming more and more difficult, and you cannot even contemplate doing anything- visit a doctor, psychiatrist or therapist.

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