Small Tools to Relieve Parenting Burnout

Author: one tough job

(in this blog post, we adapt the words of child therapists Ashley Graber and Maria Evans. The original Q&A can be found here)

One Tough Job is no stranger to stress as we navigate parenting. When stress doesn’t have anywhere to go for relief, it turns into burnout. People talk about burnout at the workplace, but burnout as a parent is challenging, and you have your children/family depending on you. Whew!

You may have read our guide on self-care questions to ask yourself or turned to the post on how to incorporate self-care when it feels like another to-do list item. In the spirit of how to be realistic about self-care during especially stressful periods, here are some tips from the Q&A that we found helpful to pass along.

Embrace the imbalance

Wait, what? That’s right, one of the tips shared was that for most parents, work-life balance is not a realistic goal. It’s especially true right now while trying to accomplish work responsibilities from home and parenting during the pandemic. Forgive yourself for not being perfect because no one is. Remember that “if you’re a parent who feels guilty when the house isn’t in order, see if you can give yourself permission to let those beds be unmade and let those dishes pile up in the sink,” says Evans.

Know you’re not alone in your emotions

Some of us enjoy having everyone at home, especially if your children are older and starting to forge out in teenage independence and spending less time with you as a parent. If your family dynamic is usually friendly, you may be feeling upset when arguments break out. Consider that the Q&A shares “We’re seeing parents […] angry and stressed, with little to no patience for their child’s tenth request for more screen time [...] we’re also seeing parents and children feeling disconnected from one another, even though they’re sitting on the same couch.” Feeling out of sorts as your family navigates stress together is normal.

Quality over Quantity

You may be busy with work, whether for an outside job or the very real work of keeping a household going, and worried that you aren’t spending enough time with your child. The good news is, “psychological research studies find that the quality of the time we spend with children is more impactful than the amount of time we spend with them.” For best results, try to schedule regular time with your child – this could be 10 minutes a few times a day, or longer if you’re available – to spend time together. Note that this is only quality time if you and your child are sharing an activity or physical space in a non-stressful way; this is not the time to tell them their room needs to be cleaned.

Small tools can make a big difference – what’s in your toolbox?

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