The 3 Ways You feel Overwhelmed as a Busy Parent & How You Can Stop It!
Updated: Aug 20
It is easy to feel trapped and overwhelmed by parenthood.
During the last 3 weeks, I have interviewed about 40 parents.
Here are the 3 main problems that parents have shared with me when they still have their children living under their roof.
100% of working parents, full-time or part-time struggle with time management. Their days are filled with tasks, between the organization at home, the requirements of the children and work, they no longer have enough time to share quality moments with their children and their partner.
According to an article on Quartz (people-without-kids-live-better-than parents-on-all-fronts-except-one) “Non-parents are actually 23% more likely than parents to say their lives are “not at all stressful.” Parenthood is stressful but not only because of a lack of time.
COMPROMISES AND DECISION MAKING
Parenthood is stressful because of the compromises, and all the decisions that we have to take as parents. Something that is often forgotten is that parents are not formally trained as educators; however, they are the first teachers of children, they are Life Teachers. This is a shared experience we all have as adults. Yes, some were better than others, but it was those things our parents taught us which have had lasting impacts on our life.
Parents lead by example. Every move, and every decision they make, for themselves, for their family and for their children has a huge impact. It touches all areas: nutrition, lifestyle, values, physical activity, education, communities.
These big responsibilities in all areas of life, coupled with a relatively small amount of time, give the sensation of being trapped and vulnerable, putting parents in a prolonged situation of emotional imbalance. The uncertainty in making choices, and sometimes knowing it might be the right choice for some members of the family but not for others can make it hard to cope with. This can lead to a loss of self-confidence, a general feeling of guilt, shame, inadequacy and loneliness.
The activities, the decisions, the battle of wills, all of this can be very exhausting, and anxiety inducing. Being a leader is exhausting and you cannot lead without energy.
Energy is your number one resource. If you have no energy, your kids, your boss, your friends, your partner, the circumstances will win the battle. It might be a gentle battle or a harder one, but in the end, the one with the most energy will win. Unless you run into an even more tired parent, you will lose.
Some statistics from NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6028779/ :
“The first results of this ongoing research suggest that parental burnout may potentially affect up to 14% of parents (Raes, 2018). Parental burnout is characterized by three aspects that echo the characteristics of profession burnout while differentiating from it by being in relation with parenting: (i) Physical and emotional exhaustion; (ii) emotional distancing from one’s children, and (iii) a sense of incompetency in one’s parenting role”
SOURCES OF ADDITIONAL STRESS
Accordingly to Quartz, Parents generally are less healthy than non-parents, get less sleep, have less career/ finance freedom, have a less exciting social life, fewer hobbies, worry more…
Do not misunderstand me, parents generally are still happy to be parents (I suppose), but they would like to feel a sense of freedom. It is impossible to go back to the worry-free days where we only have to think about what our own needs and expectations are for the day. Having kids completely changes a person's expectations and therefore we have to change our perception to be able to find our new sense of freedom
How to do that?
I propose a 3 steps system:
Simplify your life
· Look at what is important to you.
Make a list of what is meaningful to you in your life. Think about your life vision, your work vision, your parenting vision, and the values you put into it. Redefine the word Freedom.
· Be Prepared to simplify your life
Make a list of the tasks that you do that are not part of your values, your life, or your work vision.
· Now Simplify it
Look at what you can stop to do, delegate, or organize differently. This step will free up time, give you some energy back and help you to find a compass in your life. It is not always easy to know what is really important to us, sometimes our conditioning or believes are very strong, so be gentle.
Look for purpose and fulfillment
If you are bored at work or at home, look at what energizes you, what you are good at and what you enjoy doing.
· Make a list of what energizes you
Look at your uniqueness, how you are individual and distinctive.
· Make a list of your successes and the related emotions
· Make a list of your qualities and look at how to use them more.
Look at how you can use your success story and how you can build more good moments in your daily routine.
“What sets you apart, can sometimes feel like a burden and it's not, and a lot of the time, it’s what makes you great.”
— Emma Stone —
We all have unique gifts, talents, and personality! We can use them to our advantage. Focus more on what you are good at and develop yourself further, discover and explore more of your true self. This will give you a boost of energy and elevate your self-esteem, that is the best way to refill your resources. We are too often critical with ourselves and look at our weaknesses, it is time to look at our strengths.
Communication is an art and it is so powerful.
I would suggest 4 steps:
· Try to understand the situation before judging and assuming.
· Speak from an “I” position about how you feel. “I feel surprised, I feel stressed because of this situation”.
· Explain what you need “I need more time, I need more understanding, I need more space”
· Make a clear request but not a demand. “would it be ok if I take some space, If I take 5 minutes”
You can have a look at this YouTube video to understand better the 4 steps:
Here again, it is a process, be gentle with yourself.
The 4 steps are very powerful if you apply them consistently.
If this feels like something that makes sense for you but you are unsure
how to implement it, I can offer you a free strategy session.
We can talk through your obstacles and set up the right strategy for you to improve your life quality by gaining energy, time, and confidence in your choices. You will be able to use these new tools right away.
We perform better and make more sensible decisions by putting our heads together than by working alone, give it a try, and book your session!
Go to this link a book your free strategy session