When it comes to burnout, individuals often associate it with the workplace, but it also exists in the parenting role and even in relationships.
But what is burnout? When individuals experience long-term stress that leads to mental, emotional or physical exhaustion. What characterizes burnout among parents in this context is when life can become overwhelming due to long-term fatigue because of constantly meeting the demands of the child/children (spouse).
Research from 2019 found that parents who experience burnout are at risk of disconnecting from the child. The parent can easily start to associates the distress & the negative feelings to the child. This can have serious consequences for the parent-child relationship. Furthermore, a parent begins to doubt himself as a good parent, which further increases the parents’ distress. More homes today consist of both parents working compared to before, this can increase the strain on parents. In addition, there has been a significant increase in single parents compared to before. The work and other duties start to compete with the child´s attention.
It should be noted that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and trying to do so can also cause stress, anxiety or exhaustion.
Studies have found it difficult to find gender differences, but because men generally score slightly higher than women on a self-compassion scale, women might be more vulnerable. One study showed that working mothers are in a special risk group of experiencing burnout.
Research has shown that what might be the biggest risk factor of parental burnout is neglection. Neglections towards yourself. Many new-born parents find it difficult to leave their child/ren, and this can become a habit. However, it is, in fact, better for the parent and the child if the parent can have some rest and do something also without the child. Something that can recharge the batteries can also act as a preventative.
Parents must be careful not to neglect themselves and their interests. The social part is very important. One of the first things people want to put on hold when they experience stress is social life. That is very unfortunate because social life is often accompanied by your time & joy plus the laughter can release some happy hormones that is good for everyone.
It is important that parents are aware of taking good care of themselves. If you are a parent who is experiencing fatigue or exhaustion, then it may be a good time to seek help, whether it is from friends, relatives or professionals.
In this article, I mainly addressed parental burnout, but would also like to draw attention to the possibility of linking the burnout definition to your relationship with your spouse. Whatever it is, it is important to be aware and nurture yourself
Picture by: Snæþór Sigurbjörn Halldórsson