7 Tips To Overcome Parental Burnout


You've just embarked on the exhilarating journey of parenthood. It's a rollercoaster ride filled with joy, love, and, let's face it, a fair share of challenges. But what if the overwhelming feelings start to creep in, threatening to overshadow the excitement?


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In this follow-up blog post, we're here to explore practical strategies and expert insights to help you navigate the transition into parenthood without feeling overwhelmed.

It is possible (probable at times!) for all parents to feel overwhelmed after the arrival of a new baby, without it overflowing into the realms of PPD. Parenting is a rewarding and fulfilling journey, but for most people there are times when it feels overwhelming especially as many parents nowadays are wearing more than one ‘hat’. Many of my friends, and clients (and myself actually) are juggling both being a working parent and a stay-at-home parent, increasing the demands on their time and mental capacity.

Feelings of overwhelm are often multifactorial, stemming from various aspects of life. Trying to observe what may be contributing to your feelings of overwhelm and acknowledging this can be a helpful first step. Some factors may be beyond your control, while others perhaps can be addressed.

The constant demands, the lack of personal time, the never-ending responsibilities and the perceived judgements of others, can sometimes make parenting feel like a daunting task. If you find yourself in this situation, feeling like parenting is just too much, take a deep breath and remember that you are not alone.

So, what may help in those moments where you are feeling overwhelmed?

  1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: It's essential to recognise and accept that feeling overwhelmed as a parent is normal. Parenting is a challenging job, and it's okay to feel stressed, frustrated, or exhausted at times. Acknowledge your emotions without judgment, and remember that it is usually a temporary phase that will pass. However, if you notice that these feelings are taking more and more space in your day-to-day life, then chances are it is your brain’s way of telling you that something needs to change, and that you need some additional support.
  2. Reach Out for Support: Don't be afraid to ask for help or seek support from your partner, family, or friends. Talk openly about how you're feeling and share your concerns. Sometimes just venting or receiving validation from others can provide a fresh perspective and alleviate some of the stress. If you do not feel that you have friends of family members to turn to then there are many organisations that you can turn to (I will put a list of some of these at the bottom of this post). Some people find it hard to talk about their struggles with their partner, or have a partner that is not receptive to listening. If this is the case then think about different ways of broaching the subject – perhaps you could start the conversation asking how they are coping at the moment, whether they are feeling overwhelmed, or you could find an article that talks about some of the things that you are experiencing and leave it in a strategic place to be read (by the loo maybe!!)
  3. Take Care of Yourself: Self-care is crucial when parenting feels overwhelming, but often really hard to put into place. Remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup. Try to find some time to focus on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Take breaks when needed (if possible and I totally hear that for many parents they find this particularly difficult). Find a moment to do an activity you enjoy – this may be reading a book, practicing some mindfulness or meditation, seeing a friend for coffee, or watching a show on TV that brings you joy. Doing some regular exercise and focussing on the quality of your sleep can also really help. However, a lot of these things are easier said than done especially when you are in a period of overwhelm. Building some of these things into your week in periods when you feel less overwhelmed can be helpful and it will mean they will be easier to sustain in trickier times. It is also really important to not feel that adding these things into the mix are not increasing your feeling of overwhelm. Often, we need to make choices and having time to sit and read your book for 10 mins, or pop to a friend for half an hour may mean that certain items are no longer ironed to free up that ‘me time’.
  4. Set Realistic Expectations: Often, we put immense pressure on ourselves to be the perfect parent. Remember that there is no such thing as perfection. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your children. Understand that mistakes and setbacks are part of the parenting journey, and it's okay to learn as you go. If you find that you are feeling a lot of pressure to parent a certain way because of things you are seeing on social media then having a social media break can be really helpful, as can ‘unfollowing’ accounts that trigger these feelings in you. Remember a lot of what you see on social media is scripted, staged and made to look like a ‘perfect’ moment – I am sure that if you panned out on many of the videos or photos the reality would often be very different!
  5. Consider whether you can delegate and/or share responsibilities: Parenting can be especially hard if you are (or feel like you are) doing it alone and it can be easier said than done to delegate and share responsibility. Have a think about what things really need doing and what things you can ‘pass’ on – ironing is often one that I suggest passing on if you have a lot on your plate! Finance permitting, is there anything you can outsource – could you have a cleaner a couple of hours a week?

 Delegate age-appropriate tasks to your children and involve them in household chores. Share responsibilities with your partner or other family members if possible. This can be tricky especially if partners or family members do not consider or recognise what hard work parenting and running a household can be. Distributing the workload will not only lighten your burden but also teach your children valuable life skills but can be one of the hardest things to do. When you are in a cycle of overwhelm it can often be really hard to delegate and it is not always easy to broach these conversations with partners or family members (or you may not have this option in the first place).

  1. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If feelings of overwhelm persist or become too much to handle, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Reach out to a therapist, counsellor, or support groups specialising in parenting or mental health. They can provide you with guidance, coping strategies, and a safe space to express your feelings.
  2. Focus on Quality Time: Amidst the chaos, make it a point to prioritise some quality time with your children. Focus on small moments that create connection and memories. Put away distractions (screens!), be fully present, and cherish these moments with your little ones. Remember, these small moments of joy help make parenting worthwhile.

Remember, you are doing your best, and it's okay to ask for help when you need it. Embracing the journey of parenting can mean accepting that there are highs and lows, try to cherish the joys, learn from the lows and be kind to yourself along the way!

Caroline Evans is a parenting consultant with over 20 years of experience. Her offering includes parenting advice and support for issues such as sleep, feeding, weaning, behaviour. She has a special interest in infant feeding (breastfeeding, bottle feeding and weaning/nutrition), tongue tie, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), allergy and sleep.

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