What does parenting burnout look like? I used to think it was a break down in the middle of the kitchen floor over spilled milk. A tipped over bowl of cheerios on a newly vacuumed floor. I used to think that it was losing my temper at my children for nothing more than being children.
*This post contains some controversial opinions if that’s not your bag then last week I wrote a cake recipe*
I’ve been dropping stuff a lot recently. At the weekend I tried to build a greenhouse and it took me ages, I kept dropping the screws. I’ve been pretty clumsy too. In fact, as I write this now I go back through and see the hundreds of red lines under my words. My fingers are working faster than my head. (I mean, hail to Grammarly! right!) I’ve been fidgety too. Unable to sit still for very long without doing something to occupy me. My husband will tell you that the telltale signs that I’m tired is that I’m clumsy and fidgety.
If it was the end of the day I could understand this little tired quirks. But this has been happening a lot lately. First thing in the morning when I’m trying to homeschool the kids. Lunchtime when were all in the garden. The evening when the kids go to bed. Finishing with me usually asleep on the sofa in the 20 minutes husband and I get together.
Dads burnt out too!
Last night, husband told me his body hurts. He doesn’t feel unhealthy and is in good spirits. But we sat that at 10 pm on our landing picking out lego orders (our second job!) and it hit me! We are burnt out!
We grew up in a world where we fit in with our parents, not the other way around. My husband will tell stories of the days he and his sister were parked by the side of a hockey pitch. His parents were plying and so they went along with the ride. I remember times where I was left to entertain myself, my siblings, and my cousins because our parents were doing grown-up stuff!
This isn’t going where you think it is. I’m not about to sit here and say that they never burnt out because they didn’t care absolutely not. But they didn’t show us. I guarantee that my mother and father in law. Full time teachers with 2 kids who love sports and went to every club they could. Got up at 4 am to take my husband and his friends fishing. I’m not saying for one second that they never got burnt out. But they sure as shit didn’t show my husband that! And herein lies the issue.
What does parenting burnout look like?
We as a generation of parents have been made to feel that we must be a part of our children’s lives 100% of the time. Then they call us “helicopter parents”. We’ve been made to feel like our kids need to be enrolled in a different club every night. Then we are accused of “over busying them”. We are told to play educational games and give chores and are then accused of “not letting them be kids”. We are told to work as much as we can to give our kids the things we didn’t have and are then accused of being “workaholics.”
It’s no wonder we feel burnt out! We are trying to be everything to everyone all the time. It’s a story I hear often it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. “Take time for yourself,” they say. “It’s not selfish to self-care,” they say. “Teach your kids you have limits and that you aren’t a superhero,” they say.
Hang with me for a second here…
What if it’s not the kids?! What if it’s us? Our parents had no internet, no smartphones. Nowhere near the constant ridicule that we parents have today.
We were brought up in a world that fully contradicts our own. In a world where adults had the final say and there was no discussion. Mental health issues where shoved under the rug. Parents didn’t show the weakness of any kind. But at some point, as we grew up all that got flipped on its head. Now we’re parents ourselves and have been left dangling in this limbo between caring too much and not caring enough. While hailing this motto of “you do you”. But its BULLSHIT!
I truly believe, especially recently, that the feeling of inadequacy and doing it wrong comes from other adults. Even if you don’t have social media. Even if you don’t care. It’s still there quietly turning the cogs of the society. Quietly influencing the way we bring up our kids. Quietly telling us that we are not enough. Quietly causing us to burn out. Oh so loudly shouting “you do you”.
I’m here to ask “what does parenting burnout look like?” It looks like your phone. It looks like every “expert” with years of “Nannying experience” (like that’s the same!) T.V. Shows like “Britians Best Parent”. A show that has no other purpose than to shame the people doing it differently telling others they are wrong. Every new “trending challenge” where we withhold snacks from our kids for the entertainment of strangers on the internet.
I’m here to ask you “what if, “parenting burnout” has very little to do with the kids?”