Surviving Parent Burnout

Some of my regular readers may have noticed a dearth of posts this past month or so.  I have been experiencing a major burnout due to holiday, marital and child stresses.  I have taken a few months break from my other blogs The Exploration Station and The Wonder Years.   I have been dealing with a lot of parenting-related marriage stresses, because as any parent with gifted children or children with learning disabilities or high sensitivity/emotional intensity knows, the roller-coaster ride is extra challenging on a marriage.

One of my internet friends had felt something was up…and he was right.  I had told him though I didn’t want to air my dirty laundry (at least any more than I already had), but that we needed the prayers to keep us going.

This morning, I found I had a comment on the The Wonder Years blog from a teacher who invented a nifty little math tool called the Zero Sum Ruler to help with integer subtraction.  If your child could use the help, check it out.  Anyway…the point is that I checked around her blogroll and found a cool little blog called Well Educator.org, which is devoted to helping teacher burnout.  I spent a few moments there and realized…hey wait a minute…I’m suffering from teacher burnout.  No, I’m not a teacher, per se, but I do home educate my children when they aren’t in school.  And in addition, I’m suffering from parent burnout (and bloggers/writers burnout), and wife burnout too.

Mr. RSG has a new job…of sorts.  He works in a sales position, but he doesn’t get paid very much until he makes the sales.  Well, technically he hasn’t even gotten paid at all yet in the three weeks he’d been working there.  So add that to the mix of stressors too.  There was a glitch in the processing of unemployment benefits, so we had gone 3 months without any income.  We finally burned through his not quite two months worth of severance pay about a week ago and I had to start digging into our savings.  And I still had not done any Christmas shopping.  But, Christmas miracle of all miracles, the glitch finally got straightened out yesterday so that we finally got the unemployment benefits deposited into our account.

Suffice it to say that Mr RSG and I have been fighting a lot more lately, and helpful, productive communication has been very sketchy and I haven’t felt up to keeping up a charade that nothing was amiss in the RSG household.

I realized that I’m exhausted…emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  Communication has been difficult with Mr. RSG as well, because he’s under considerable amounts of stress from being laid off and taking on a job in an area he’s very unfamiliar with – he was an engineer, and now he’s in sales. As the only financial provider in our family, not having a paycheck has to be killing his self-esteem.

So as I got to thinking about what is happening in the RSG household as we approach the crazy Christmas holiday, I realized, as the mother and primary emotional caretaker of my family, I have desperately needed to take care of my burnout.

I’m sure many other parents out there are having difficulties too as the holidays approach. I don’t know about you, but holidays with the extended family have often sucked. Too much of the wrong kinds of interacting, too much running around trying to please the grandparents, too much emphasis on stuff, too many bad memories of former holidays gone dreadfully wrong because someone blows a gasket.

Since I can’t spend Christmas with just Mr. RSG and the girls in Tahiti (or some other place equally tropical), I figure I better figure out ways to take care of myself here…so I can help my family regulate their emotional intensity a little bit better.

So I perused Google and came up with a few ideas.

Ehow has a few tips on Preventing Burnout as a Stay at Home Parent.

Selective Mutism.org has a pdf file on Preventing Parent Burnout: Model for Teaching Effective Coping Strategies to Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities . (though you have to overlook some typos…)

And I am thinking this is book might be a good one to get for families of gifted children, with it’s emphasis on family dynamics – Gifted Children: A Guide for Parents and Professionals. No, it’s not one of the more popular ones recommended, but I perused it on Google books, and I like it for its emphasis on the emotional needs of the child in the context of their families. The focus is not so much solely on the needs of the gifted child, but the needs of the family members too.  Its at my local library…so tomorrow I’m going to go pick it up.  If it’s proves meritorious, I’ll post more about it.

Families, which are a microcosm of the society in which we live, are all about negotiating needs and dealing with disappointments because we can’t always get what we want, isn’t it? Families with gifted or special needs children have a tremendously difficult time negotiating the needs of all of the members of the family. My family did a really crappy job of negotiating needs. My husband’s family did a crappy job of negotiating needs with him too.   We are both gifted grownups, struggling with how to raise gifted/special need children because no one knew how to help us with our social and emotional and gifted needs.  Consequently we have trouble figure out how to negotiate our needs with each other and with the girls. We are the emotionally blind leading the emotionally immature. How fun is that?

It’s not really.

Anyway, I figured I can’t be the only one out there struggling with familial and holiday stress, so I thought I’d share resources.

Feel free to post your tips and ideas to combat parent/home educator or gifted/SN parent burnout.

If I don’t get back online to post, have healthy, sane and Happy Holiday!

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This entry was posted in Attachment Parenting, creating harmony, emotion coaching, gifted adults, gifted children, gifted support, highly sensitive child, highly sensitive mom, holiday stress, Intensity, personal issues, selective mutism, synchronicity, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Surviving Parent Burnout

  1. Pingback: Surviving Parent Burnout | Raising Smart Girls | Mike Spieles on Parenting Today

  2. Pingback: Teaching your kids to talk softer | Parenting Help in Minnesota

  3. Fran says:

    Wow – what an incredible blog! I used to be a homeschool mom, so I can relate – I was managing not only the family but the kids’ education as well.

    I had not considered ‘parent burnout’ as an issue, but it makes sense. I think it happens quite a lot with parents. Remember to do your self-care. Sounds like your family needs you a lot right now, and you’ll be at your best if you can stay resilient.

    Hope you have a restful holiday. 😀

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Fran –

    Thanks for stopping by (on Christmas Eve, no less). I’m glad to meet new people through the blog. I appreciate the “what an incredible blog” comment. That was really nice to hear. I really appreciate the comment. Thanks so much for your Well Educator blog. Its a wonderful resource. I’ll share it with every teacher I know (and I know a few!).

    I think there is in every family a balancing act of negotiating wants and needs and some do it really well. Mr. RSG and I really hadn’t found the right way that works for us, but we are learning some new things through what we are reading. I got some books from Amazon this week and I think we’ve seen some progress.

  5. Fran says:

    So how are you doing now? Have things calmed down a tad? How are your stress levels?

  6. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Things get hairy from time to time because middle daughter is, like me sometimes, a firecracker…

    We just had a restful holiday at Wisconsin Dells last week, so I’d say, better. But the week prior…just awful…

    And I’m resuming Mommy and daughter dates with each of them. Helps me to reconnect and focus on each one individually.

    So…we have days of torrential downpour followed by halcyon days.

    I guess that’s just how Life is around here.

    But I’ve found a helpful key…iron and b-vitamins help me to have energy and cope a little bit better. I don’t feel like something the cat dragged in.

  7. Fran says:

    I swear, nutrition is an amazing thing. B vitamins are marvelous!

    I don’t know if you have a good naturopathic practicitioner or wholistic practitioner perhaps – it sounds as if you may want to get checked out for Adrenal Fatigue. There is a book out on it…….. if you go to my site and search “Adrenal Fatigue” I have some resources listed there. (No, I’m not selling anything.) One is a book on the topic that I think you can probably find at the library. Another resource is an online assessment (again, free.) If you find you fit the description, it’s actually really easy and inexpensive to treat, and you’ll feel like you found your old self again.

  8. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks Fran…

    I took the test…waiting on the results to be sent to my inbox.

    I’m going to be browsing more of your website again…soon (time to make dinner now). I just got done napping because I spent some time with my daughter at the mall for a birthday party she attended at pottery place. I felt exhausted from being there for just 3 hours…well not JUST from that…my youngest had a meltdown earlier because she didn’t want to go to church where my husband was so I could take middle daughter to the party. So I got to listen to her throw a tantrum.

    I just also heard of 5 HTP to help elevate serotonin levels…so I’ve been taking some, though I forgot to take some today…

    I’ll try to find a naturopath/wholistic practitioner…hopefully they are covered by insurance.

    I appreciate the advice!

  9. Fran says:

    You are in my thoughts. Hope you get your energy back soon.

    ~Fran

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