How to Manage Parenting Burnout

Burnout is common in any job. Sometimes, you feel stressed out, anxious and overworked, and you begin to wonder whether the job is a good fit for you and your life. The job of parenting is not one you can resign from, however. You are responsible for your children until they become adults, no matter how needy they get or how underappreciated you may feel. Parenting burnout can cause major problems in your life, so make sure you identify and address it immediately. Manage parenting burnout by adjusting your expectations, balancing your kids' needs with your own and leaning on your support network for help.


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    Recognize the signs of parenting burnout.
    • Notice when you are feeling irritable or extra sensitive. This may manifest itself even outside of your children. You may have no patience at work or at school, and you might find yourself snapping at or testy with people.
    • Pay attention to any feelings of resentment. You might also feel guilt, anger, frustration and feelings of inadequacy. You could feel like you have no control over your life.
    • Observe detachment from your children, or a lack of interest in the things you normally enjoy. Parents who are extremely stressed or burned out might pull away from their kids and not be as present with them.
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    Evaluate what you expect from yourself. You might put too much pressure on yourself as a parent.
    • Remember that most experts agree that consistent parenting is better than super parenting. You do not have to be perfect.
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    Take care of yourself first. You cannot care for your kids if you are not taking care of yourself. Make sure you get enough rest, exercise and nutrition.
    • Think about the "oxygen rule" on airplanes. Parents are instructed to put on their own oxygen masks before giving oxygen to their kids. This is because you cannot help your kids if you are not okay.
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    Slow down. Manage parenting burnout by working on your pace throughout the day. Not everything needs to be urgent.
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    Stop comparing yourself to others. Do not aspire to be like your neighbors or friends. You can't know for sure what is really going on in their lives.
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    Let people help you. A good support network is a great tool to help you manage parenting burnout.
    • Hire babysitters. Leave the kids with a reliable babysitter so you can have a few hours to yourself. Or, to save funds, do a babysitting swap with another mom so you both get some kid-free time.
    • Talk to your spouse, friends and other parents. Talking about your stress and feelings of burnout will help you make sense of it. Sharing with other parents will help you feel less alone.
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    Consider therapy. If your stress and burnout seems out of control, talk to a therapist or a counselor. They can help you get to the root of your problems, and give you additional tools to manage burnout.
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    Focus on the positive. It can be difficult to think positively when you are emotionally drained, but it will help you keep things in perspective.
    • Keep a journal. Take a few minutes every day to write about your feelings. It can help you release your negative energy, and give you a space to focus on and write about your positive thoughts.


  • Look for a support network that has regular meetings and play groups. This is especially important for parents with special challenges, including single parents or parents of children with disabilities such as autism or ADHD.


  • Remember that parenting burnout can sometimes lead to depression or more serious mental illnesses. If you find you cannot manage to overcome your burnout and the stress and anxiety of parenting seem overwhelming, get help immediately. Call your doctor, 911 or a mental health professional, especially if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others.

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Categories: Creating Life Balance