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Parenthood is not easy. That is a fact.

Many parents invest a lot of time and energy in their children, neglecting their own needs. The result is parental burnout, a condition in which they are so exhausted that they feel they have nothing more to give. The problem with parental burnout is that most people think it’s a normal part of parenthood. Parental burnout is the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that a person experiences from the chronic stress of parenthood. This can be manifested in emotional distance from your child or in irritability. Some may experience forgetfulness and/or increased anxiety or depression, and many question their ability to be a parent.

Here’s what you need to know about parental burnout.

Although burnout affects everyone in different ways, the most common symptoms of burnout include:

  • exhaustion, or a feeling of fatigue or exhaustion all the time
  • feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or insecurity
  • headaches, neck pain, and muscle aches
  • loss of motivation
  • changes in appetite or sleep habits
  • alienation or loneliness in the world
  • irritability
  • isolating behavior
  • those who have burned out may also abuse alcohol. This is often done to calm down.

Burnout can lead to parental violence or neglect of children, even if parents are philosophically opposed to such behavior.

Whether you recognize the signs of future burnout or have already crossed the line of fracture, know: that you are not a bad person and there are ways to deal with it.

  • Talk to your husband (wife). Explain how you feel. Be honest. Don’t be afraid to admit that it’s hard for you and you’re overwhelmed. Explain what you need, outlining specific steps, if possible.
  • Get some sleep. Sleep is crucial to your mental health. That is a fact.
  • Be patient with yourself. Many people experience burnout. This is a common reaction to external stress. Fatigue, stress, and fatigue should not be an acceptable part of your routine.