10 Parental Burnout Symptoms You Can Probably Relate To
Like job burnout, parental burnout comes with a set of specific symptoms. But what makes the problem worse is that parents are often ashamed and guilty about it.
Parenting is by far one of the hardest jobs on the planet. And it can get too much sometimes, that's why there's such a thing as parental burnout. According to ScienceDaily, parental burnout is "intense exhaustion that leads parents to feel detached from their children and unsure of their parenting abilities." Parental burnout symptoms are quite common, and perhaps very similar to this mom's experience.
One mom has admitted that she was in such a daze during her school run that she actually drove off to school without her kids. The unknown mom filmed herself laughing hysterically while showing the empty backseat of her car; explaining that she was 'half-asleep this morning' and drove to her kids' school without them.
'The kids are not in the car,' she says in the viral clip. below. 'I'm driving to school without my kids! 'I am taking the kids to school and I don't even have them in the car. I have to go back and pick them up.'
The mom admits that she just got in the car and left her house. It's unclear how long it took for her to realize her kids were missing.
Every parent should be able to identify parental burnout symptoms and get help as soon as they can. That's why we have compiled a list of parental burnout symptoms for you to see. Have a look at them below:
See these 10 Parental Burnout Symptoms
One of the early signs of burnout is extreme physical and mental exhaustion. Other signs of burnout in parents include the following:
- Suicidal thoughts and escape ideation; feeling trapped
- Increase in addictive behaviours
- Health issues
- Higher risk of anxiety and depression
- Emotional detachment
- Irritability and frustration
- Sleep disorders
- Increased frequency and intensity of conflict between parents
- Feelings of inadequacy; loss of a sense of accomplishment related to parenting
- Higher risk of neglectful and violent behaviour toward the child or children.
These feelings are serious, especially if they are ruining your ability to enjoy your kids and see your worth as a mum. Plus, studies suggest that parental burnout can lead to depression, risk of addiction and deteriorating health. What’s more, it can impact your relationship with your kids.
According to recent research, the root cause of parental burnout is an imbalance between the demands of parenting and the rewards. “As soon as the balance leans on the negative side (i.e., risks outweigh resources), the parent starts experiencing most burnout symptoms every day,” wrote the authors of a 2018 study.
While “mom burnout” is more common as women continue to be the primary care providers for children, fathers are also at risk for burnout when they are involved with parenting. In one survey of 2,000 parents, 63 per cent reported they have experienced some form of parental burnout.
What You Can Do If You Have Parental Burnout
Seriously, plan a getaway. For a night or two – or just a couple of hours. There have been heaps of studies supporting the mental health benefits of going out with your friends twice a week. So ditch the guilt and let Dad take over so you can take a much-needed break. If you can’t escape at night, then grab a bottle of wine and head outside for some ‘alone time’. We insist.
Cut things out
If it’s not sparking joy, get rid of it. It’s time to go Marie Kondo on your life and de-clutter some of that added stress. This may mean cutting back on the kids’ extra-curricular activities or your involvement in the P&F Association. It’s okay to NOT sit through those meetings. In fact, it’s better than okay!
Consider a cleaner to help at home, look into a carpool with other sport-mums so you don’t have to drive to and from every single practice, look into a food prep service that can cut back on meal planning and grocery shopping.
Rather than worrying about what you DIDN’T achieve or what went wrong, concentrate on what matters. Did the kids get fed today? Were they loved? Did they make it to the end of the day without you selling them? Then you did good, mum.
If you are consistently overwhelmed and feeling like this parenting gig is simply too hard (we feel ya!), talk to your GP about it. You may need more than just a night off with the gals and, if this is the case, a GP is your first port-of-call to make it happen.
All mums lose their cool sometimes. Especially when our kids are acting like little arseholes. But if it’s all a bit too much, wave the parental burnout white flag and ask for help. Or, in the very least, demand a night off. In a hotel. Alone.
What raises your risks of burnout in parenting?
- Perfectionism: feeling you need to be the “perfect” parent at all times
- Lack of support from co-parent
- Both parents working outside the home
- Financial concerns
- Not enough support from outside the family (childcare, extended family, etc.)
- Finding it hard to ask for help
- Over-scheduled kids
- Parental history of attachment disorders.