Does anyone else feel like they have a hangover? Not a hangover from drinking too much gin last night but a sort of jet lagged and jaded feeling from parenting through this pandemic? The last year has completely wiped me out. Lockdown 1.0 was hell, wasn’t it? Attempting homeschool for the first time, only leaving the house once a day for a walk around the block and trying to keep all three kids happy and entertained whilst confined to our house that felt like it was shrinking by the hour. It was a lot. And don’t get me started on the stress and anxiety that we were all drowning in every day.
Doomscrolling was at its peak during the first lockdown and every day we watched the death toll rise on the news like the victors seeing their dead rivals faces flash in the sky each night in The Hunger Games. Oh, and of course many of us were also trying to work from home whilst being a full time teacher, kids entertainer and snack bitch 24/7.
Then life went a bit back to normal, then we locked down again, then things started opening back up before we were thrust into the most depressing lockdown of them all over the bleak winter months. And now everything is opening up again, apparently for good this time and fuck, I am exhausted! The stress of the last year has left me feeling like I might never recover from parenting through this pandemic. I feel like parental burnout is a pandemic with a life of its own, we’re all dog tired and frazzled, right?
Do you feel like you’re permanently hungover from the events of the last year? Here are 5 signs you might be burnt out from parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
5 signs you’re burnt out from pandemic parenting.
1 You’ve dropped your parenting standards and you don’t have the energy to care – Your kids are still clean and fed and loved but you exhausted all your energy doing PE with Joe and daily crafting and impromptu living room dance parties during lockdown. Pre Covid you may have had strict screen time rules in place but now? Well now the kids electronic devices may as well be permanently super glued to their hands because they never put them down anyway. You baked so much banana bread during lockdown you can’t bear the sight of a mixing bowl and wooden spoon and the glitter and paints now live on the top shelf in the tallest cupboard because the daily craft sessions have left you feeling like you never want to see a single speck of glitter ever again. After months of intense parenting at home you no longer have the energy to be fun CBeebies mum anymore and will happily let the TV babysit for longer than is probably acceptable.
2 You’re always tired – Whether you get five hours ls broken sleep or a solid eight hour stretch, it doesn’t make any difference because you’re always tired. If the kids would allow it you would take a nap after breakfast, another after lunch and another while Peppa Pig takes over for half an hour and it still wouldn’t be enough sleep. The stress and uncertainty of the last year has left you both physically and mentally wiped out and you feel like the only cure for this intense fatigue is to sleep for a whole year. Being a parent is tiring anyway, that’s not a secret, but parenting through a pandemic is a whole other level of exhausting and I could be caffeinated up to my eyeballs and still feel like I could fall asleep at any given moment throughout the day.
3 You’re touched out – Cuddles from your kids are the absolute best thing ever, agreed? Before the pandemic my answer the this would be yes and whilst I still do love cuddles with my little ones I do find myself craving personal space a lot more these days. After a year of being used as a human climbing frame, having family meetings in the bathroom while I try to use the toilet and just having kids under my feet constantly, I now sort of want to look myself away for a week where no one come anywhere near me. I want my own mama style quarantine, I want to hide up in my bedroom with all the snacks and coffee and books and Netflix all to myself where no child can find me and try to climb up my legs like a little hyperactive monkey. I am craving peace and quiet so much I feel like an eighty year old librarian. Do you feel the same? Like you have been fully accessible to your kids for so long and now you need a little staycation in your bedroom to recover from it all? Kids please give me all the cuddles but also please understand that when I ask you not to hang off me and clamber all over me it’s not because I don’t love you, it’s because I’m exhausted from you all using me a piece of play apparatus for the last year.
4 You’re patience is wearing thin – My patience is running so thin lately it is almost invisible. I have patience in abundance when it comes to my kids and it’s one of the areas of motherhood I always feel like I cope really well with. Calm voice, deep breaths, get down to their level and be kind and understanding, I have always had it down. However parenting through all the lockdowns and dealing with the shit show that was homeschooling, I can feel my patience starting to ebb away. Shouty mummy has started to show up more often than I’d like and sometime all the yoga breathing in the world isn’t enough to stop the mama rage from starting to bubble beneath the surface. I am just so tired and the strain and pressure of the past year as started to chip away at my and big chunks of patience are starting to fall away.
5 You need a holiday, like yesterday – I need a holiday sooo bad! I want a lovely family holiday, of course I do, but before that I want to go away by myself. It doesn’t even need to be a fancy five star all inclusive holiday. Give me a caravan on top of a cliff or a single bed in a budget hotel or even an air b&b somewhere just an hour away. I need to spend time alone to decompress after the pandemic and a hot bubble bath in the evenings just isn’t enough to cut it anymore. I need some real me time where no one needs me and the only persons wants I have to answer to are my own. Of course Mother Nature will undoubtedly be cruel and make me miss the kids within an hour, but I don’t think I’ve ever needed a holiday more in my whole life. I guess Oli could come for a few days too as our relationship has been seriously neglected over the last 12 months. Mostly though I want a week to myself, ideally somewhere with room service but I will settle for a tent in a deserted field if that’s my only option.
Do you feel like you haven’t recovered from parenting during the pandemic? Do you feel more exhausted from ever and think you might be burnt out too? What are your plans for testing and recovering this difficult year?