If there’s one burnout that we never talk about, it’s the parental burnout. It can be defined as intense exhaustion that causes parents to experience detachment feelings towards their kids and be unsure of their parenting abilities. Parental burnout can have serious implications on both the parent and child such as parental neglect, thoughts about escape, and physical, psychological, and verbal aggression directed at kids. Parental burnout is typically caused when the stress of parenting becomes too intense to handle (1).
And while most of us feel comfortable talking about burnout in one’s professional life, when a mother experiences the same due to parental stress, we suddenly want to sweep it under the rug. So, in an attempt to normalize “mommy burnout”, we have asked mothers from our MomJunction community to talk about how they cope with it.
1. I Feel Overwhelmed
I am a single mum to 2 adorable kids who can be very demanding. And there are times I have felt “burnout”. Because no matter how much you hustle, you feel like you don’t have enough time or enough money to make ends meet. Coming home to 2 hungry kids after a long day at work can be overwhelming. And when you do it on a daily basis, it can be paralyzing. You’ve got bills that need to be paid, laundry to do, lunch to pack, and a million other things that it never stops.”
I can now quickly figure out when my stress levels are rising, I struggle to focus at work, feel angry, and hesitate to get back home. That’s when I know I need to recharge my batteries and take care of myself. I buy flowers for my desk, put on a face mask and read a book, or have a long relaxing bath.” – Emily
2. I Feel Smothered
I guess burnout is something every mom goes through at some point in their life even though we don’t talk about it openly. We act like we have got it all together. But despite our best efforts, we feel smothered. When I have trouble sleeping or experience breathlessness, unusual cravings, and racing thoughts, I know I need to take a break. Reading, exercising, and journaling helps.“ – Ziva
3. I Feel Lost
When my little one entered the toddler phase, it was a lot more challenging for me. While most moms complained about the newborn phase, I managed to survive and make it to the other end with my mind intact. But as he grew older and started to become more mobile and threw tantrums, I started to lose patience. Sometimes I would go to my room and scream. I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. I hesitated to talk about it to anyone in fear of judgment. I started seeing a therapist. Mommy duties are tough, it can take a toll on your mental health and wellbeing. So, if you feel you need a little quiet time or somebody to talk to, take the initiative and do it. Ask your partner to give you a day off or call your mom and ask her to babysit. Give yourself time to do things you truly enjoy. You would be surprised how much some alone time can help.” – Cecilia
4. I Feel Annoyed And Angry
For me, mommy burnout occurs when I least expect it. It is a slow and stealthy feeling that creeps up inside and catches me off guard. It manifests in different ways and makes me more irritated and angry while also making me feel inadequate as a parent. I start doubting myself and become easily frustrated with my kids. I become irritated by things I normally wouldn’t. I practice deep breathing and find some time for meditation. I also seek support from my friends and partner. Sometimes a phone call with my sister while I’m doing the dishes can be cathartic.” – Diya
5. I Feel Irritated
I know I’m burnt out when I don’t even have the energy to respond to simple questions. It could be anything from “How was your day?” or “What do you want for lunch?” Every little thing starts to bother me and I lose my patience (and my mood) over nothing. I feel anxious and start to wonder if I’m really cut out for being a parent. I try to go easy on myself and mentally reassure myself that I’m doing the best I can. When you’re feeling like a bad mom already, it might seem selfish to invest time in yourself. But a spa appointment or 10 hours of sleep is what it takes to make me feel good. When sleep doesn’t work, I indulge in more self-care until I feel better.” – Charlotte
Have you ever felt burnout out by all the parenting responsibilities? How do you deal with it? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.