Parenting can be a very daunting task. Whether it's because you didn't get a good night's sleep, you are swamped at work or you just need to get out and have some fun with adults, there are days when you definitely don't feel like parenting.
After getting home from a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is break up a fight between your children, clean up a spilled bowl of cereal or get into an argument about what you're making for dinner.
Weekends aren't any better. Consumed with activities, sleepovers, birthday parties and outings with family, it seems like there is never any downtime when you have kids.
Gone are the days of waking up to Saturday morning cartoons and sleeping in late on Sunday morning.
If you have the crushing feeling of never being able to keep up, know that you aren't alone!
In a survey of more than 2,000 parents published by the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers confirm exactly what all of us parents already knew- Much like working professionals can burn out on their jobs, so too can moms and dads experience “parental burnout.”
For anyone who has spent 5 minutes alone with a child, these conclusions aren't exactly mind-blowing.
Parenting values have become increasingly non-violent, sensitive and supportive which can be a lot for a tired mom or dad to take on. Parents are expected to do more for their children than they ever have before. With more women in the workforce, it effectively gives parents more to do with much less time.
The "modern mindset" that you have to essentially be a "superhero in everything you do" is part of the problem, said Vanina Nikolova, a mom of two boys.
The study found that 12% of parents were suffering from a "high level" of parental burnout in all 3 categories including exhaustion, inefficacy and detachment, more than once per week. Both mothers and fathers were equally susceptible to these feelings, the study found.
"You have to excel at work. You have to excel in your relationship. You have to excel in society. You have to be a great parent who feeds the kids with organic food, stimulates their brains while still in uterus, finds the right balance between protecting them and yet exposing them to the real world, shuttles them to sports, arts," and the list goes on and on, said Nikolova. "A supercomputer would go crazy. How about a simple human being!"
It's no wonder that parents are feeling the squeeze, with longer work hours, lower pay and no mandated paid leave for parents of newborns in the United States.
Parental burnout is not just an uncomfortable feeling for suffers, but is also correlated to health concerns, depression and addiction.
"I turned to my husband, I said, 'I need to make changes. I need to take baby steps, because I want to get healthy, healthy physically and healthy mentally, so I could be the best mom,' " said Lyss Stern author of Motherhood is a B#tch! 10 Steps to Regaining Your Sanity, Sexiness and Inner Diva.
"Me Time" is so important to avoid parental burnout that it takes both partners to make sure you are able to take care of yourself and your little ones.
"It is not a badge of honor to say you sacrifice everything for your family and put yourself last. Self-care and 'me' time are so, so important to avoid parental burnout," said Nikki Little a mother of 4-year-old twin boys.
But parents of the previous generation really don't understand how things have changed.
"Today, so many moms have these high-powered jobs, and they have the kids, and we want to be the best at our jobs, and you want to be the best with your kids, and then you want to sometimes take time for yourself, and you feel guilty, but you can't feel guilty. You're allowed to go to a movie with your husband. You're allowed to go to a movie with your friend without having a breakdown."
So next time you have a sleepless night and you feel like you're at the end of your rope when you kid wants to only eat plain noodles, remember you are not alone!