Are you reading this article from bed? Are you hiding there while your children are flinging cereal and milk around your kitchen? You might be experiencing parental burnout.
That’s one of the findings of a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology. Isabelle Roskam, Marie-Emilie Raes, and Moira Mikolajczak, researchers at Belgium’s Université Catholique de Louvain, asked over 1,700 parents to answer how frequently they agreed with statements like “I feel tired when I get up in the morning and have to face another day with my children” and “I feel emotionally drained by my parenting role.” The researchers estimate the parental burnout rate to be between two and 12 percent of all parents.
This finding has been reported in a number of alarm-raising articles, like this one in New York Magazine that reported the rate of parental burnout in a discussion of how parents are more overburdened than ever.
But such an interpretation of the authors’ results may not be warranted. The researchers’ findings should make most parents feel better – not worse – about their parenting. In fact, the findings might give you license to hide under the covers a little longer.