Parenting is at times a difficult job, with some days being more challenging than others. Being mindful of the relentless demands which are being placed on either yourself or those close to you, it is an important to consider parents care and self-care behaviours to prevent burnout.
Research has shown that consistent self-care, leaning on your support network, and the most powerful of forces, to remember the love that your have for your child helps parents ease parental burnout. By focussing on you and your families greatest strengths can help you push through the tougher times.
When being pushed to your exhaustion limits, it can often be quite hard to remember that there were easier and more enjoyable times. But more often not, there were, and for most there will be again. By taking a quiet moment and encouraging yourself to actively remember enjoyable family moments can help to bring a moment of joy. Through recounting more light-hearted moments the family can start to feel more connected. Even a silly childhood memory can be a great way lighten the mood and get everyone laughing together again, “Do you remember when we went on holiday to the beach and …” When a family has been working through hardships for such a long time, it often feels like there never were and never will be good times every again. But by being able to remember that there have been helps us feel as-though there may be better times again.
Through remembering the enjoyable connection moments of family time, it can also become easier to see each family members greatest strengths and attributes. What it is that we really love and appreciate about each other. It is easy to loose these parts of yourself when just getting through the daily tasks is a challenging, but if you take a look through your family photos and notice each family members good qualities; what does your child enjoy doing?. Take time to talk within the family about these qualities, “I found one of your drawings the other day? It made me smile.” Each and every small moment to make a positive connection of love, even a daily act of kindness. While it may not always appear to be accepted by a young person, in time all of those moments add up.
Whether it be the joy that comes from remembering the nice family moments, or that moment of pride when your child completed a drawing, painting, scored a goal in football, sit with and feel all of those feelings. Whether it is joy, sadness, grief …. , each feeling is natural. It is only natural to feel lost, and frustrated, and grief, and longing, and exhaustion – even all at the same time at times during the parenting journey / or the journey to parenthood. Give yourself permission to feel everything, being honest with yourself and those close to you about how difficult you are finding your parenting journey, or how your families difficulties are impacting on you; this doesn’t make you a bad person, merely a human. It is completely natural to both love your child and your family deeply, but to also hate how challenging aspects of this journey can be. Giving yourself the time and space to reflect, share, and engage in healthy coping strategies is an important aspect of preventing parental burnout.