If only raising children was similar to sipping drinks on a beach. However, we all know that most of the time, parenting is like sucking on a lemon in a hurricane. The stress of parenting, the workplace, your home, your responsibilities and other factors weigh on you, and sometimes you experience serious burnout.
But don't despair; burnout happens to even the best, most dedicated parents. Their solution is to deal with parent burnout before it gets out of control. Avoidance may be possible...but setting that extreme as your goal is simply adding pressure to your already busy life. What you can do is listen to these songs, internalize the lyrics and realize that tomorrow is a new day:
1. "Help!" - The Beatles
"You need somebody ... Not just anybody" ... but somebody who has been through what you are going through. The wise words by this classic band inspire parents to seek advice and guidance from other parents. Turn to friends, neighbors and your own parents to get help when you don't think you can handle being a parent any longer.
2. "Behind the Wall of Sleep" - The Smithereens
Raising kids at all ages is exhausting. Don't ever let anybody try to convince you that caring for very young children is harder than taking care of older kids. At least you can take a sobbing baby for a brief drive around the block and come home with sleeping angel ... that tactic doesn't work as well when they get older.
For days when your children refuse to nap or follow the bedtime routine, listen to the poetic lyrics of this song and remember (fondly) the time when they actually slept well.
3. "I Like to Move It, Move It" - Erick Morillo
Exercise lowers stress, boosts your mood and helps take the wind out of those particularly anxious moments when you just feel like you can't take it any more. Turn on this song and move around a little to help clear your mind (and fit in a little exercise). Feel free to dance in private or get your children involved.
4. "Treat Me Right" - Pat Benatar
Pat Benatar may have been directing this request to another person, but in your case, internalize these lyrics for yourself. When you feel overwhelmed, take a break and treat yourself right. Treating yourself doesn't include disappearing without a trace for a three-day vacation in Vegas, but it does include anything from a luxuriously long bath to splurging on something you've really had your eye on. You spend all day taking care of your little ones; don't forget to take care of yourself.
The dream police do exist when you are a parent. Their uniform may be a dirty diaper, a picture-day emergency or forgetting that it's your turn for carpool. Whatever the uniform, the dream police are there to arrest any parent who is trying to sneak in a little extra sleep.
Reducing the impact of parent burnout is not about keeping the dream police locked out (that's unrealistic), but you will need to find ways to catch up on sleep when you can. Try letting the kids know ahead of time that you you will be taking a nap. Set boundaries about what they can do while you sleep. What constitutes a true "let's wake up mommy and daddy" moment should be outlined and understood by each child. You need sleep. You are entitled to it. And chances are you aren't getting enough.
6. No More Mr. Nice Guy - Alice Cooper
As a parent you need to understand that "no means no". Truly ... even when your kids don't really believe you. A parent's job is to say no a lot, which can lead to some pretty severe burnout (especially if kids aren't taking you seriously). Handle this aspect of burnout by making sure your kids know that "no means no". And, hey, if it helps to put on makeup like Alice Cooper, by all means go for it.