To be a parent is the greatest gift, but the truth is that sometimes we make big sacrifices with ourselves and as a result, we experience parental burnout.
Focused on childcare many parents forget about themselves. Parents minimize going out with friends, stop training, and very often, parents spend less time on their pre-child hobbies or even completely forget about them.
In this article, we will go through the 5 phases of parental burnout and 6 ways to fight it.
The Five Phases of Parent Burnout
According to Parent Burnout by Joseph Procaccini and Mark W. Kiefaver, there are 5 phases of parent burnout, each more stressful than the previous.
The first phase, called the Gung-Ho Phase, can start even with the news of pregnancy and continue for years. Usually, parents are overwhelmed and determined to do everything by themselves. Often, a fixation on child-rearing is characterized by this phase, from which it is very easy to move to the Phase of Uncertainty.
Phase of Uncertainty
The second phase is characterized by persistent doubts. Parents can experience some physical problems like headaches and hypertension, back and neck aches, upset stomach. Usually, the parents recognize that something is not right, because they often find themselves angry and yelling at the children for unimportant things.
The third phase is the transition phase because this is the phase when the parents realize that something is wrong and are ready to change it. Parents at this phase often experience indescribable fatigue, self-condemnation, anger, and resentment.
Pulling Away Phase
At the pulling away phase, the parents withdraw from their kids and family even when the kids are craving for their attention. Parents may overreact to minor accidents and can even slip into alcoholism or drug abuse. At this phase, the parents often experience extreme guilt, self-loathing, or disappointment in life.
Chronic Disenchantment Phase
The chronic disenchantment phase is the final phase. At this phase, the parent’s life has lost meaning. Parents in this phase have no more sexual desires they may think for suicide or running away.
How to avoid Parental Burnout
Ask for help
As а parent, you don’t need to do everything by yourself. Delegate some tasks to your beloved one. Ask a friend or a family member to come over or hire a nanny for a couple of hours. There is no shame to ask for help and support. Everyone will be happy to help you.
Take a day off
Sometimes taking a mental health day is the best thing you can do for yourself. While a single day off may not solve a heavy burnout problem, it is a good start. Go outside and do something you like, just make the most of it.
Training once a week can dramatically reduce depression and anxiety. Once you start to make exercises regularly, you will start feeling happier and recharged. A person who takes good care of himself can take better care of his family.
Esteem Building Activity
Do activities that are not related to parenting. Think about what you have given up when you became a parent. If you don’t think of something, start a new hobby. For example, a friend of mine start an aquarium and another started cooking classes twice a month.
Maintain Quality Friendships
Go out with friends that make you happy. Spending time with positive people can change the way that you see your life. Just remember not to talk for the kids more than five minutes an hour.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.from Mindful.org
Mindfulness has been practiced for thousands of years in many cultures (religious and non-religious). This practice can dramatically reduce anxiety and stress, can improve interpersonal relationships, and enhancing compassion, among many other benefits. Why not give it a try by yourself?
Final Thoughts on Avoiding Parental Burnout
Parental burnout can happen to you or your beloved one at any time. To protect yourself you need to be proactive and regularly take care of yourself. When you are happy, you are a better parent.
Do you have any experience with parental burnout? Maybe you have other methods that can help, or you want to share your story. Please let us know and leave your thoughts in the comments below!