5 Parenting Skills You Need to Avoid Burnout
Are you eternally exhausted from your day-to-day activities? Do your parenting skills consist of exasperated grunts or impatient sighs? You’re not alone!
You are experiencing the beginning stages of parenting burnout which can get pretty ugly if not dealt with straight away.
You are at your wit's end, and everything little thing can get the best of you. You may feel like the loneliest mom or dad in the world because you were the only ones who had little monsters instead little babies.
Don’t worry, rest assured that the tantrum at the market and the full-on WWE wrestling between the siblings is something that every family experiences in some shape or form. In fact, their crazy antics have probably grown your capacity, allowing you to reach your potential as a super parent.
Look, it can be normal to feel that you have reached maximum capacity with your children, regardless of whether they’re toddlers or teenagers. Let’s face it, there are days where it’s great, but there are probably more days where you just want to throw in the towel and escape. It doesn’t matter what type of parenting skills you have when chaos happens, you will be tested.
So, how do you avoid a complete parenting burnout? Here are five of my best strategies.
Plan, plan, plan
It may be more work up front, but it’s worth the effort to plan ahead. Being proactive is always better than being reactive to your child's behavior.
When you plan ahead, you can be in control of yourself. Having self-control allows you to use logical parenting skills rather than act out of your frustrations and emotions. When you plan ahead, you will have reasonable expectations of what you can accomplish or delegate to the rest of your family.
Instead of stressing overdoing everything on your own, you can plan ahead and get things done according to your schedule.
PROTIP: Okay all you Type-A Moms: be careful about overplanning. Sure, have one extra something just in case all the stars align, and you can squeeze it in. But be careful. You aren’t a superhero and can’t do it ALL in one day! Be realistic.
There’s a saying when it comes to parenting, begin with the end in mind. To do that, consider how you envision your children to be when they are 30.
You probably want independent children and you may even intend to raise them with their impending adulthood in mind. By practicing your parenting skills to encourage independence at mealtimes such as having your kids set the table and clear the dishes (with your hands gently guiding the little ones) or encouraging your children to come up with their own solutions when they face difficulties with a toy or a game.
It is all a part of teaching them how to think, and problem-solve on their own. It is the development of life skills that will allow them to reach their full potential.
Sure, they will fail a lot, make a big mess, get hurt from time to time, but with your guidance and support, they will learn that they are capable of accomplishing almost anything they set their mind to.
Don’t fall into the traps of comparison
Social media can be a dangerous place to research how to parent or learn new parenting skills. Not only is there unsound parenting advice, but the parent shaming can feel insurmountable.
When we look at those posts of moms with perfect six-packs and cutesy pictures of their perfectly dressed, smiling children, we are comparing our perceived worst to staged perfection.
Even if you say, “I am just looking at them for inspiration for what I can do with my daily schedule,” there’s nothing healthy about getting that kind of input. It eats at our self-image and our confidence in our parenting abilities.
I often tell the true story of the mom who was trying desperately to get the “perfect” photo of her daughters and her nieces. It was outside on a warm, spring day and all the girls were dressed in matching, red sweatshirts, and blue jeans. Three moms were desperately trying to get the perfect shot. After about ten minutes, one of the girls, she was six, complained: “I’m hot and itchy.” Her mother replied “You have no idea what suffering is. Now smile for the camera.”
And the girl did. I just stood there and thought “How important is that photo?” And y'all, that was before Facebook.
So, you honestly don’t know the full story behind that flawlessly manicured picture. I think it’s safe to say that when you compare your life, your children, and your family to that of others, even if it’s unintentional, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.
Know when to call your tribe
No one gets through this life alone.
There is no shame in asking for help, it’s okay to admit that your parenting skills are not up to par and lean on your support network for some help. Whether that’s an extended family member or a neighbor, or a parenting coach, it’s essential to seek help once in a while.
Before you feel like you are on the brink of insanity, reach out to those that understand and can help you. Even if it’s just a pair of ears to listen to you talk out your frustrations.
In turn, do the same for your tribe, help them in their times of need. And if you feel like you do not have a social support network, seek a coach, make some new connections in your neighborhood, or some type of parental network at your local community center. It doesn’t take a lot of resources and effort to connect with some good people.
Be good to yourself
You might find it difficult to take care of yourself while you are sharpening your parenting skills to be the best mom or dad you can be.
You feel the weight of responsibility to make sure your kids are well-cared for.
This is usually what causes parenting burnout. You tend to neglect your personal needs and put your children’s needs first. So much so, that your kids have come to expect it and then you feel resentful. You are easily frustrated, irritated, short-tempered. When you see how your mood is affecting your child, you feel guilty and you give in to your child's demands. And then you find yourself back where you started.
The solution to this can be simple but simple doesn't always mean easy. Schedule a free consultation with me so we can talk about how we can work together to prevent burnout and create a structure in your home so your children are excited to become independent and you can relax more.