By Joëlle Amouroux-Huttner
If you are a parent, you know the demands you face every day. We would all agree that while taking care of those little beings is the most rewarding job in the world, it can also be demanding, exhausting and in extreme cases, lead to a burnout.
However, daring to admit that this job is anything but a walk in the park can feel like a betrayal. Parents believe they have to constantly and selflessly give to the benefit of their children and the greater good of the family.
Having three kids myself, including two with special needs, I was the first person to put myself second when it came to my children.
It wasn't until somebody asked me this very simple question "If you are so irreplaceable, (and you are!), what would happen if you were to burnout?" that I stopped in my tracks.
Having gone through a burnout myself, I knew firsthand the effects on a family. But burnout was something I associated with my previous life, full of type A, driven and ambitious executives. I felt that I had left that world behind years ago.
That's when I realized that while I had moved away from the corporate world, I had not changed my personality. I was still a Type A individual, driven and set on achieving the best possible outcome for my children. I had exchanged one project for another, one with higher stakes than ever before: The wellbeing of my children.
Was I on the verge of a second burnout? And what could I do to keep that from happening?
I took the lessons I learned during my burnout and applied them to being a parent and strived.
Here are the lessons:
- You are good enough. You are the best parent ever for your kid. Like many of my professional clients, I noticed that parents have an inherent feeling of inadequacy, of not being enough. The answer to that question lies in the eyes of the children who think the world of their parents, no matter who they are and what they do. Looking in the eyes of one's child and being told in their special way that the only thing they need is You is a real boost to any parent's self-confidence.
- Create strong personal boundaries. A lack of boundaries is the culprit in many corporate executives' burnout. People are incapable of balancing their personal and their professional lives. Likewise, for parents, getting this balance right is a challenge for most.However, it is paramount to achieve this balance and the key will be boundaries. Parents will achieve this by accepting that they are doing their best and that it is the only thing they can do, with both their strengths and their weaknesses. Accepting their own limits is primordial.
- Take care of Yourself. Setting healthy boundaries also requires parents to accept that they need to take care of themselves. Parents tend to give up on their personal life in order to ensure that their kids are perfectly taken care of. The trick, of course, is that this project is likely to last at least 18 years. There is no end in sight and no sabbatical or chance of career change in being a parent.
Realizing the key role they are playing in their child's wellbeing can allow them to put things into perspective. They are the leader in that longterm project called parenthood and to see it to completion, they need to take care of themselves. Only them can know what they need and when.
The only way to break the cycle of parenthood burnout is to DARE to take care of oneself.
Be radical: Put yourself first.
By putting themselves first, parents may feel that they are being selfish. But, on the contrary, by taking care of themselves, they actually best serve the people that depend upon them the most: Their children.
While at first, they might feel guilty for this approach, they will soon discover that it's ok, because they'll come back to their duties feeling reinvigorated and ready to face another day of the most demanding yet rewarding job of the world: Being a parent.
Joelle Amouroux-Huttner is a life coach specializing in burnout. She helps people to consistently flourish and become stronger, more assured in their choices. They go from strength to strength and they take on bigger challenges confidently. If you need a boost in confidence, then Joelle is the coach for you. Joelle holds an MBA, she is an accredited Life Coach and accredited advanced EFT practitioner. For more info: visit Joelle's website www.joellespractice.com or her Facebook page www.facebook.com/joellespractice. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.