Burnout is a topic that many people have experienced, and increasingly over the past 3 years. In this episode of the Working Mumma podcast, I speak with Lisa Dillon, a Public Health Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
In this episode, Lisa explains the definition of parental burnout, which is the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that one feels from the chronic stress of parenting. Unlike work burnout, parental burnout is a 24/7 job, and parents can’t escape from their parenting responsibilities to recharge.
The statistics show that two-thirds of parents in paid work experience burnout, with 68% of mothers and 42% of fathers experiencing it. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem due to the lack of support and the need for parents to be ‘always on’ and everything from parent to teacher to sports coach and more.
Lisa discusses the different stages of parental burnout that if left unaddressed, parental burnout can lead to feelings of inefficacy, cynicism, and ultimately, depression. She also highlights the risk factors that increase the chances of experiencing parental burnout, such as being a single parent, having children with disabilities, experiencing mental illness, being isolated, and having perfectionist tendencies.
Lisa and I both share our experiences and insights about the triggers and symptoms of parental burnout, including the pressure to do everything perfectly and the exhaustion of juggling work and childcare. We talk about how finding support, letting go of unrealistic societal expectations, and prioritizing self-care can help parents recover from burnout. Lisa shares the analogy of differentiating between glass and plastic balls to manage workload.
Parental burnout is a real and pressing issue that affects many working parents. However, as Lisa shares tips and advice, with the right strategies and support, it is possible to prevent and manage burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
If you need support from this episode, please reach out to COPE or your GP to support.