The issue of ‘burnout’ is one that has historically always had professional connotations, bringing to mind the high powered business person stereotype, pushing themselves too hard, too fast. It is only recently, however, that we are coming to realise that parents can be just as affected by the same feelings of extreme exhaustion, depletion and low productivity. According to studies, approximately 8-36 percent of parents suffer from parental burnout, and the reasons have much to do with the changing climate in which modern mothers and fathers find themselves. It’s a climate where social media has provided a new (unrealistic) measuring stick on which to gauge success or failure as a parent, and where both parents often need to work out of necessity, putting the pressure on Mums in particular to be everything, all at once. Mother. Career Woman. Domestic Goddess. Chief Entertainer. Perfect wife. Add to this the modern need for constant vigilance in a seemingly increasingly dangerous world, and you have a recipe for total exhaustion if ever there was one! This imbalance between the risk factors for burnout, and what experts call ‘protection factors’ has become somewhat of a defiining characteristic of parenthood today. Keeping all these plates spinning is a legitimate daily struggle, stretching and testing our abilities in ways which most parents would say they probably hadn’t anticipated. It has been said that parenting is ‘an endurance marathon that you cannot train for’ so to some extent it’s not surprising that a vast proportion hit the wall at some point or another.
We asked Annie Ridout about her experience of parental burnout, and how she found ways to reconnect with the mindset, perspective, energy and effectiveness necessary to face the challenges of parenthood, while also tapping in to the joy that children can bring. Click here to read here story. For more advice on coping strategies click here.