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Being a working parent can be difficult as you try to balance long hours at work with the demands of raising children. It can be stressful and challenging but also highly rewarding. It is possible to be productive at work while also being a great parent, and it is important to maintain a balance to prevent excessive stress.
Figure Out What Is Causing Burnout
Burnout is when you feel overwhelmed and constantly stressed out, and it can make everything in your life feel like a chore. Burnout can make work highly challenging as it can cause a lack of motivation and purpose, so when you start to feel burned out, it is important to figure out why.
Self-reflection is an effective method to help identify the cause(s) of burnout, which can help prevent it in the future. You can have burnout related to work or your home life, so identifying which of these you are struggling with is the first step to getting back on track.
If you are experiencing burnout at work, taking some time off can improve your mental health. If you are dealing with this at home, you can hire some help like a babysitter or ask your friends and family for help to reduce your workload. If these options are not available to you, it may be helpful to talk with your supervisor or family about what steps you might be able to take that can help. There is no shame in asking for time off or for requesting help if you need it, and it can help you recover so you can get back to work refreshed and with a sense of hopeful excitement.
Ask For Change at Work
If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, you should feel comfortable asking for changes. You can ask for extra time off or the ability to catch up on certain projects or meetings later on. It can often be stressful for a working parent to ask for accommodations, but most of the time, your employer will be happy to figure things out with you.
Women especially tend to be uncomfortable asking for extra accommodations, while men are more likely to ask for and receive these benefits. As a working mom, you should be encouraged to ask for help when you need it and not be held back by what you think you should be doing or what you believe society expects of you.
A burnt-out employee is not productive for anyone, so a good boss will want to work with you and help you manage your time so that you can thrive at work.
Let Some Things Go
As a working parent, you will likely always be busy with something, whether it be related to work, your kids, or yourself. Everything that you do in a day is not always necessary, and it is okay to prioritize some things while putting others to the side for a while or just dropping them altogether.
You can figure out what is most important to you at work, what is most important at home, and what can wait. If you have too much on your plate, you can simply remove some less important things that you will find will make a big difference in your stress level.
Change the Way You Work
If you have a flexible job, take advantage of that flexibility, and shift the way that you are doing your work. Figure out how you can be most efficient at each task and what makes you feel good, then do things that way.
Burnout is often caused by being stressed about specific tasks or responsibilities, so if you can target these tasks and change how you do them, you can eliminate the stress that surrounds them.
You can also reward yourself with small rewards when you finish tasks that you find especially stressful or unpleasant as a means of motivating yourself. This can help you find joy in even the tasks that you dislike the most.
Treat Yourself Kindly
Parents can often be much harder on themselves than they would be on other people, especially when you compare the way that they might talk to themselves to the way they would talk to their children. Treat yourself like you treat your child and be patient with yourself.
Try not to compare yourself with other parents, as you only see how they present themselves to others and you don't see their struggles or shortcomings. Other parents, even if they seem to always have everything under control, are dealing with their own struggles just like you. Comparison will make you less happy, and being kind to yourself is very important.
Have compassion for yourself when you mess up and remember that no one is perfect. You are doing the best for yourself and your family, and they will appreciate this so much. You should learn to appreciate yourself as well, so just remember to be kind to yourself.
Another benefit of self-compassion is that your kids will adopt this practice, too. Children are very impressionable and if they see you being kind and forgiving to yourself, they will become kind and forgiving too which is a great virtue that you will be proud to see.
Understanding Love Languages Can Help
Your love language is the way that you show and receive love from others. The different types of love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and gifts. Figuring out what love language is most important to you can help you understand how to best reward yourself for a job well done.
Having the important people in your life be familiar with your love language is also important so that they can show you support. Your friends and family need to be able to help you when you are feeling stressed out, and they can do this by participating in your ideal love language.
You can reward yourself with journaling for words of affirmation, a massage for physical touch, a date night with your partner for quality time, have your kids do the chores for a weekend for acts of service, or buy yourself a new pair of shoes for gifts! The possibilities are endless, and once you find the love language that leaves you feeling the happiest, you will know how to best reward yourself when you have done a job well. Making it through a particularly hard day at work or home is enough to pat yourself on the back and reward yourself in a time of excessive stress.
Deep Breathing & Other Stress-Management Exercises
You should take breaks just to breathe throughout the day. Deep breathing has been shown to have amazing effects in reducing stress, and it can make you feel much better when you start to get overwhelmed.
Go to a relaxing, quiet area to take breathing breaks. Your goal here is to center yourself and take a few moments to just relax and forget about all your worries. As a working parent, it can be hard to find time for yourself, but these breaks only need to be a few minutes long to have a lasting impact on your overall stress level.
You can also work on other stress-management techniques like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness when you have spare time.
Get Out of the House
Sometimes, being cooped up inside can add to the stress if you feel like you can't get away from everything that you must do. A great way to de-stress and separate yourself from your worries is to go outside.
Go on a walk, take a trip to the store, or go out to lunch if you feel cooped up and want a breather. This is an opportunity to take some time to yourself or go somewhere with your kids so you can all wind down together. A change of scenery is beneficial to help relax.
Create a Family Schedule
If you feel like you can't juggle all the tasks that you have to do at home, you can make a schedule for your entire family. This lays out every obligation and commitment that you have for a given period and makes it easy to see how you can prioritize your time.
You can add chores to the schedule as well and have your children help you out with certain tasks. This can reduce your overall workload while also teaching responsibility to the kids.
A family schedule is beneficial because it will keep the entire family on the same page, and no one will fall behind. You can update the schedule once a month, and it will help you remember everything you have to do so you won't have to stress about missing anything important. Organization can help with parenting and make all the little things a lot easier.
Burnout is completely normal for anyone, but especially for a working parent. Having a demanding job on top of parenting will likely leave you with little free time, and it can quickly become very stressful. If you realize that you feel burnout and are not sure what to do, you should follow these tips so you can thrive at work and at home.
It is important to remember that the stress you are feeling is only temporary and it will get better soon. Never be afraid of asking for help, as the people in your life care about you and will want to support you in your time of need.
You might be tired now, but your children will remember you as a super parent, and the payoff will be worth it. Take mental health days when you need them and make sure not to overdo it when you are feeling stressed. You are a great parent, and being able to work and parent your children is an incredible feat that does not go unappreciated!