When your entire world revolves around your children, it can be hard to admit that you’re burned out. When you spread yourself too thin, you’re not the only one who is affected. Your children will most certainly feel the effects as well.
Burnout in other occupations is common and may be associated with feeling a lack of control, appreciation or compensation, or a heavy workload or stress. Parental burnout is no different. Although other jobs may offer rewards and incentives such as bonuses or promotions for employees who do a good job, parenting is expected to be its own reward.
Here are five ways to help guard against parental burnout:
Make sure that your own needs are met.
Although your job is to make sure that your child’s needs are met, it can be easy for your own needs to get lost in the mix, and so it’s therefore important that your needs are not forgotten. A parent who is well-rested and has a life and interests of his or her own can be a wonderful role model for children.
Don’t compare yourself to other parents.
There is no such thing as a “perfect parent.” If you consistently care for your children to the best of your ability, then cut yourself some slack and recognize that you are a good parent.
Build a network of support.
It’s important to remember that asking for help does not mean that you are a bad parent; it simply means that you know your limits. Talk with other parents who may have similar struggles. Better yet, find a parent who has a child older than yours and has already dealt with what you’re experiencing, so that you can benefit from the person’s insights.
Focus on the positive.
When feeling the effects of parental burnout, it may be difficult to see the positives. Taking time to remind yourself of areas in which your child excels can do wonders for your attitude.
Learn to say “no.”
One of the hardest things to learn as a parent is how to say “no.” You may want to give your child the world, but you’re already juggling a great many other things. Something has to give. To wit: Your homemade chocolate chip cookies may have made a killing at last year’s bake sale, but if you don’t have time in your schedule to bake cookies this year, you need to say “no.” Never allow an “extra” activity to add to your current responsibilities in a way that can negatively affect your family.