Fulfilling the responsibilities of work and multiple family activities simultaneously can generate symptoms of stress and fatigue in some parents.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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Psychologists define burnout as an extreme emotional, physical and mental state caused by excessive and prolonged stress. A 2018 study made by The Université Catholique de Louvain called “Parental Burnout: When Exhausted Mothers Open Up”, used testimonials from 901 parents, and identified four main factors: First, people felt drained in their parenting roles, though not necessarily caused by other activities, such as work.
They also felt that they were losing satisfaction in fulfilling their role as parents. Finally, exhausted parents became emotionally distant from their children and are prone to contrast parenting with their individual lives rather than their children's lives.
Other signs of parental burnout are: losing enthusiasm in daily activity, feeling estranged from children, and feeling physically upset.
Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics on how to prevent getting to this state.
1. Work breaks
When you're at work, try taking active breaks to relax, time to take a break, a deep breath, or go for a walk. When you go home, find ways to be positive and increase your energy level so that you can better interact with loved ones when you get home, even if it means taking a few minutes alone. The more breaks you take, the more productive you will be. The ideal time is about 15 minutes.This will allow you to reach an sweet spot and allow your brain to re-settle.
2. Family help with housework
You don't have to be a super mom or super dad. Instead of cooking every night, allow yourself to order takeout from time to time, and this makes things easier. Also, talk as a family and assign tasks that everyone can help with. Teach your children, according to their ages, to make their beds, to keep their rooms clean and to organize their space. It may seem like a small thing, but when you get home tired and need to clean up a bit, it will make a significant difference. The children will be willing to collaborate with some type of trade if they are taught from an early age and thus they will appreciate the effort you make for them.
3. Limits during the week
Don't take on too many responsibilities during the week and let some things slide until the weekend. Learn to prioritize what needs to be completed immediately and what can be done on days off. If you are clear about your urgent task during the week and relax a bit, you will gradually stop feeling overwhelmed. Being a parent is not easy, but the good news is that you can always start from scratch and take it easy.
4. Weekend update
Remember to take time for yourself and your spouse/wife on those days. Spending time with the family or enjoying a nice dinner with your partner will make you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Sometimes babysitting can make you leave your social life behind. However, it is essential to take time to take care of yourself and talk about your feelings with someone you trust.
5. Remember that this is only a Phase
These challenging times will not last forever. Your children are growing and will move on to the next phase. Sooner than you think, the children will be older and they will be spending time with friends or outdoors instead of staying at home. Babies and young children require more energy and attention, but time flies by, and one day the routine will change, the moments of games and fun with them will be different.
Dr. Fiona Martin, a child psychologist, said during an interview with The House of Wellness: "I believe that self-care is essential, and that means doing what you need to do to feel calm and be at your best."