Raising kids is one of the hardest jobs in the world.
Can I get a witness? Parenting is incredibly difficult. There is no manual to follow.
It seems like when we get one thing figured out, or one thing starts to work, everything changes, and we have to be willing to pivot constantly. It just seems like we can never get ahead with our parenting, and our kids always need something. Today, I can’t wait to share with you five ways on how you can avoid burnout with your kids. This is an important episode, that I hope that you will share with your spouse and also with a friend because it can become so easy to be wrapped up in everything that our kids need, and miss out on the most important aspect of what it means to parent and shepherd our children well.
So here’s my question for you where you get to connect with me. Over on Instagram, my handle is @thepurposegathering, I would love for you to reach out and answer this question for me:
What would you say is the hardest part about being a parent?
I know that is such a loaded question, but I really want you to dig deep and ponder this question, while you’re reading this and kind of figure out what is that one thing in your life as a parent where you’re like, gosh, this is just really hard. That’s what I want you to connect with me on because I feel like it is so important to share the struggles and to lean on each other. We were not meant to do life alone and when we hold in all of this anxiety, stress, and burnout and don’t allow ourselves to process it, it just gets worse. So let’s get started!
1) Prioritize Yourself
Maybe some of you love this one and you’re like, Yes, I am really good at this! But it’s my guess that I think more of you struggle with this than not. So it’s really important if you want to avoid burnout with your children, that you are taking time for yourself. Make time for the things that you want to do. Don’t use your kids as an excuse for the fact that you can’t go to the gym, or that you can’t go get a pedicure, or that you can’t do whatever it is that you want to do. I personally have done this and I played the victim mom for a really long time, and blamed my kids for the fact that I couldn’t take care of myself.
So there’s no shame if that’s you right now, but I also want you to step out of that mindset because if you stay there for too long, you will harbor bitterness and resentment towards your children. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. It’s not fun, it’s not freeing, and I want you to live in freedom.
I say this a lot on the podcast, but if you don’t prioritize your self-care, no one will and it’s really important that you advocate for it.
Self-care doesn’t have to be by yourself. You can take care of yourself with your kids around and you can also teach them to take care of themselves as well. We as mamas have to set a good example for our kiddos and if we don’t raise our children to see the importance of self-care, when they grow up, they are going to fail to take care of themselves and we don’t want that.
We must model what it looks like to work out, to eat healthy, to have quiet time and take care of ourselves.
Finally, it’s important that you recognize your triggers. If we’re not tracking our triggers and becoming self-aware of our triggers, they will just continue to trigger us for years to come. So it’s important that you recognize what triggers you and be able to course correct before you explode. In other words, it’s really recognizing when things are stressful, and how you can eliminate the burnout and stress before it happens.
2) Setting & Enforcing Clear Boundaries
This is another way that you’re going to avoid burnout, by being consistent with your children. Kids will not admit this, but they crave boundaries, they need them. It helps them grow in a healthy way and so having these boundaries and these expectations are important. These boundaries can look like things like a wake up boundary. Like allowing your kids to wake up when they wake up, but letting them know that you are not going to be available to do things for them until a certain time. You can also have a bed time boundary as well. It doesn’t mean that your kids have to be asleep by that time, but it’s just having some quiet time to unwind and get ready to rest.
Another boundary that you could set up is a checklist for your children, so that you are not constantly reminding them of all the things they need to do. If you head on over to thepurposegathering.com/checklist, you can grab my checklist that I have for both of my kids. You can make a copy of it on Google Docs and go in and change to match for your kiddos. It includes a morning checklist, an afternoon or after school checklist as well as an evening checklist. This checklist allows your children to take ownership of their own responsibilities, so that you’re not the one who’s always making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to and experiencing more of that burnout.
I heard this saying once that always stuck with me that said, for every child who forgets, is a mom who reminds.
This is so true and if we want our children to take ownership of their own responsibilities, then we cannot be in charge of always reminding them as they will never remember themselves. So this checklist empowers them, it gives them the reminder that they need until it becomes automatic.
Some other boundaries that you might want to set with your kiddos could include mealtime boundaries, or privacy boundaries. You’ll have to modify these based on the age of your children, but don’t discount the fact that your children are capable of more than you think they are. So don’t let your children walk all over the boundary just because you think they’re not old enough. Obviously, you have to start at some point and so even if they’re young you can still set and just modify the boundary a little bit. Sometimes you also don’t know what boundaries you need, until the boundary has been crossed. So when that happens, make a note of it and then create a boundary around whatever that was.
3) Creating Routines and Traditions
Think about what your kids are always asking for, are they always asking to watch a show? Are they always asking for treats or snacks or going to the park? Or just fill in the blank? What are your kids always asking for? Then I want you to set a family rule or a routine with them and choose what days of the week that are okay for them to do this activity. Fill in the blank for whatever works for your family, but if you have a routine in your schedule where your children know that they can always expect that your answer will be the same. So I think that it’s important to sort of have this routine that just cuts down on that burnout from back and forth bickering and the repeated requests.
Also, keep in mind that traditions are so important for a family dynamic.
This is what’s going to help create this bond between you and your children as well as the bond between your children and their siblings. In my family, we like to do Movie Night once a week on Fridays. We buy some frozen pizzas at the grocery the Monday before, we pop those in, and we have movie night on the couch. We kind of rotate who gets to choose and it’s a really fun tradition that our kids will never let us forget about it.
Now we do that movie night, every other Friday and then on the off of Fridays that we’re not doing the movie night, we do special dates with our two children. It is so fun! We each get a budget of $30 and we usually will go either out to eat, get some dessert, or play a game at a restaurant. We just allow the kids to pick what they want to do with us and we collaborate and help with them, but it’s an awesome tradition to have our kids look forward to this one on one time. Now, if you have more than one kid, you can still do this. You can still rotate, having a one on one special date with each parent. It just might take a little bit longer, but you’re still able to work that into your family dynamic.
4) Checking In With your Children Individually- Having One-on-One Time
I think it is extremely important to be checking in with your children individually. Have one on one time with them every single day, at least for 10 minutes. This might sound hard if you have a lot of kids. But again, I am telling you this special time is absolutely crucial in order to avoid burnout. A lot of times when kids are annoying or defiant, it’s because they’re lacking a fundamental need. So kids have a need for attention, positive attention and they also have needs for positive control.
If they’re not getting those in positive ways, then they will act out in disobedience.
I have a really great podcast episode all about this, it’s called the Four Things your Kids Need the Most. I can tell when I haven’t had special time with my kids. Since we’ve been doing it for so long they ask for it. They are recognizing the fact that they are acting out because they haven’t had connection with me. The same is true, if you see your child being so defiant and I know it’s hard. Trust me, I get it. You feel that burnout! I don’t want to play with my kids when they’re being rude to me. But there comes a time where you have to take your feelings, the personal attack out of it and just say okay. What does my child really need right now? They could be treating me with the most disrespectful tone in their voice, but I know that they need me.
Circling back to this idea of spending one on one time with our kids, I recommend that you allow your kids to choose what they want to do with you:
Allow your child to say, this is what I want to do with you, and try to be okay with that like 95% of the time.
I think it’s really important that you find things that you enjoy doing with your kids. It’s equally important to allow your kids to be part of things and hobbies that you are interested in doing. Essentially teaching them the things that you like to do. It’s also import to allow your kids to be a part of the things that maybe are not super fun. Like grocery planning, planning out what you’re going to eat that week. Bringing your kids along for that ride and that journey; allowing them to be a part of the family and have some say in the decisions. That can actually go a long way in avoiding this burnout with them.
5) Regularly Get Time Away
Last, but definitely not least, you need to regularly get time away. This is very important, not just for you, but also for your spouse. It’s important that you do not feel trapped at home and you get time away from the kiddos to help avoid burnout. It’s a really great time for you to be able to just restore yourself. This is going back to the self-care from step one, is really making sure that you’re prioritizing that time away.
You could think about enlisting your spouse in this and creating a designated time block throughout the week. Where you get to go do whatever you want to do. And then maybe your spouse gets to do the same on a different night. Maybe swap babysitting with a friend who also needs some time away from their kids. Or you can have a playdate at one house while you get to go have time. You could enlist a mother’s helper who could entertain and care for your child while you get to do something for yourself.
As you read this, do you feel like you want regular time away? Have a standing appointment every single week where you get to go do whatever you want. Whatever it is that you need, advocate for it, find a creative solution in order to make it happen.
All right, Mama. I hope that you learned some new strategies for avoiding burnout with your kids.
- Prioritize Yourself! Make time for the things that you want to do. Go to the gym! Get a pedicure! Go for a peaceful walk by yourself, or just sit in the coffeehouse on your own. Whatever it may be.
- Set & Enforce Clear Boundaries! Allowing them to wake up when they want, but giving mom her work time. Or not needing to be in bed right on time, but have quiet time to wind down.
- Create Routines & Traditions! Weekly movie nights or game nights! Every Tuesday afternoon, go to the park! Or special date nights with the kids once a week!
- Have One-on-One Time with your kiddos! Sit down with them for 10 minutes to just check-in or talk. Or play a quick game they enjoy.
- Get Time Away! Don’t stay trapped at home, get time away from the kids. Take time to restore yourself! Have a set day of the week to focus on self-care so we don’t reach that burnout.
Don’t forget to answer the question of the episode, which was what is the hardest part about being a parent? I can’t wait to connect with you over this topic and really get to know a little bit more about you.
As always, Mama I am here rooting for you, and you are not alone on this journey.
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- Ep 3. Why Setting Work/Life Boundaries Changes Everything
- Ep 10. The 4 Things Your Kids Need The Most
- Ep 38. 5 Steps to Make Self-Care a Priority
- Ep 62. Boundaries That Will Reduce Mom Guilt
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