Being a parent in today’s world is difficult – for one, the demands of taking care of a child seem to have increased from more competitive education system, increased influences from the internet and social media and rising cost of living. Moreover, dual-income families are more common now and balancing work and family can be difficult. For families with children with special needs, even more effort is needed to parent the child.
Before we get into tips to prevent parenting burnout, let’s first try to recognize its signs:
Irritated at Anything
It could be your child accidentally dropped an ice-cream, and you screamed your head off at the mall as though a bomb had landed. It could be your husband asking you where the diaper is, and you started shouting about how he doesn’t do or know anything!
Resentful towards Everything
Resentment festers. You started to calculate from ‘once upon a time’ to this very moment all the things you have done right and others done wrong. You scowl, you shout and you are mentally cursing all the time.
Too Tired for Joy
More importantly, parenting is a joy and a privilege to be part of our child’s life and making an impact in his/her formative years. When you become too tired or distant to even feel happiness, it is possibly a sign of burnout.
Feeling ‘I’m not Good Enough’
Parents may also feel inadequate, constantly in a state of self-doubt or blame. No doubt parenting is a huge responsibility, parents should also give themselves time to pick up ‘on-the-job’ parenting skills and be less harsh on judging themselves.
To prevent burnout, it is good to recognize you need help and try the tips below:
Take Care of Yourself
It is useless to try to be a good parent if our health fails. Schedule exercise and if it’s been some time since your health or dental checkup, schedule those appointments too. Eat healthily and do not grab junk or processed food to eat on a regular basis to save time. Getting sufficient sleep (or if not possible, nap when your child naps!).
Ask Help from your Spouse
Sharing the responsibility of parenting a child can allow a couple to grow closer. For instance, caring for a child with eczema had strengthened our relationship as the first year was a difficult year of trial. Dads can be very good nurturers like moms – true that they cannot breastfeed, but they can hug the baby close to their skin and bottle-feed or simply hold and comfort the child as the mom rests.
Prioritize and Do Just That
There is so much advice out there on parenting, and it may seem like everyone has an opinion on what we parents need to give to our child. Decide between the parents on what is important and focus on those. Forget the many enrichment classes that the other parents tell you are absolutely essential.
Parents can find support in alternative caregivers (grandparents or paid help or preschools). We do not know what blessings can arise from these arrangements, for instance, your child may develop a close relationship with your own parent and bring the whole extended family closer.
Parenting is a joy and when it starts to sap the life out of you, pause and consider what can be changed.