As a parent, the risk of burnout is real. We all know how easy it is to feel stressed, worn out, and emotionally and mentally exhausted as a parent. As working parents, burnout can almost feel inevitable. A recent study from Ohio State University shows 66% of working parents are experiencing burnout, leading to increased depression, anxiety, and “punitive parenting practices”.
This 66% is a sobering statistic. Two-thirds of working parents feel overwhelmed, worn out, and fed up. Not only is this detrimental to your health as a working parent, but it also has a negative impact on your children.
As a working parent, how do you feel you fit into this statistic? Are you one of the 66% of working parents experiencing burnout?
Do you feel as though you have no energy for work or your family anymore?
Do you feel anger bubbling under the surface at every little thing?
Do you wish you were excited to play with your kids, but instead, you just want to sit on the couch and disassociate?
We hear you. The good news is burnout doesn’t have to be chronic. There are solutions for eliminating working parent burnout.
5 self-care Tips for working parents
If you desire to balance family, home life, and work, keep reading. We offer some practical self-care tips for working parents that are easy to incorporate into their everyday life.
1. Take time for yourself
First, are you taking care of yourself? No, we aren’t discussing manicures, spa days, or weekend fishing trips. Those things are nice occasionally, but they aren’t sustainable.
How do you practice self-care and make time for yourself daily? How do you prioritize your mental and emotional health every single day?
As working parents, it’s easy to put yourself on the back burner and tend to everyone and everything else. However, ignoring your needs is what leads to burnout in the first place. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”? As a working parent, you must fill your cup to pour out to your children, partner, and work. Research shows that self-care helps maintain your mental and overall health.
Self-care looks different for everyone, but here are a few tips to get you started:
- Make time each day to exercise 15-30 minutes — jogging, walking, the gym, yoga, etc.
- Ensure you’re getting enough sleep each day. Have a set time to go to bed each night, and schedule 30 minutes a day for rest or a nap, if possible.
- Set aside 10-30 minutes a day where you can be alone. What you do in that time is up to you — practice mindfulness, read a book, take a shower, or simply relish the quiet.
- Stay in frequent contact with those who are important to you. Make the effort to text or call someone you care about on a regular basis.
- Make time to prepare nutritious meals for yourself.
- Start a gratitude journal and get in the habit of practicing positivity.
Self-care isn’t an elaborate shopping trip or binge-watching tv all day, although there’s nothing wrong with those things. Self-care as a working parent looks like small, sustainable habits you can incorporate into everyday life.
2. Distribute responsibilities
A practical self-care tip for working parents is to distribute responsibilities. As parents, you don’t need to be responsible for everything. Even toddlers are capable of picking out their own clothes. Older children can help prepare lunches, fold or put away laundry, and help clean up after meals.
You can create chore charts with stickers or rewards as an incentive for children to complete tasks given to them. Younger children are often excited to help out when given jobs to do. Giving your kids responsibilities around the home will make them feel a part of things and make life easier for you.
3. Lower your expectations
As humans, we naturally create expectations in our minds. We expect a project to turn out a certain way, plan to be done by a certain time, or think we can get X amount of chores done in an hour.
As working parents, it’s easy to be hard on yourself and expect to be able to do all the things when that’s not feasible. You won’t always have enough hours in the day or enough energy. And that’s ok.
Self-care for parents may look like reevaluating what you expect of yourself and lowering those expectations. It may look like giving yourself grace and adjusting the bar. Not only will this lead to less stress, but it may also help you balance work and family better.
4. Prepare beforehand
As a working parent, there’s no doubt you know the frenzied stress of a work morning. You’re rushing to get ready, rushing to get your kids ready for school or daycare, packing lunches and diaper bags, and getting everyone in the car at a reasonable time.
It starts your morning off in a frustrating whirlwind that has you bustling into work huffing and puffing. Prepping things the night before is a lifesaver. You can prepare the night before by:
- Packing school bags or diaper bags
- Setting out outfits
- Cooking breakfast in advance
- Preparing lunches
Think through everything you do in the morning and consider if there’s anything else you can prepare the night before.
5. Utilize a nanny or family assistant
Have you ever considered a nanny or family assistant to help you navigate the challenges of being a working parent? As Motherhood Center’s founder, Gabriela, says,
“In today’s world, parents are pulled in many directions. Not only by very demanding jobs requiring them to be available beyond the 40-hour work week but also by so many social obligations and, of course, with children being busy as well, so many after-school activities and events. It’s tough for parents to truly find quality time with their children when they can be in the present moment. By having reliable, quality childcare for their children, they are allowed to focus on their work when at work, but once they are at home with their children, they can be with them in the present moment. They don’t need to think about: ‘Is the homework ready? What about snacks for the next day? How about signing up for summer camp or after-school activities? Is the pantry restocked, do we have all needed school supplies or household supplies?’ A family assistant or nanny can handle all of that!”
A family assistant or nanny helps relieve stress and gives you more time to be with your children. A family assistant handles household duties, such as cooking and light housekeeping. They will help keep family appointments on track, take children to and from activities, and run errands.
A nanny takes care of your children instead of sending them to daycare. Or, you may have a nanny who picks your children up after school and stays with them for a few hours in the afternoon. A nanny will also handle child-related tasks, including light housekeeping and meal preparation. Nannies are experienced at keeping children engaged in fun, educational, and developmental activities.
As a working parent, the pressure to balance everything is high. But you don’t have to do it alone.
Letting a nanny, household assistant, or other childcare provider step in can take a massive weight off your shoulders. You’ll be able to focus on your work when you’re there. And when you’re home, your family will be where you spend your time instead of worrying about all the extra responsibilities.
Let Motherhood Center’s childcare opportunities relieve your stress and help you find balance with your work and family as a working parent. See what options we offer to the Houston area here.