Overcoming Parental Burnout in the Age of Hustle Culture


As a parent, I know one thing for sure and nobody can convince me otherwise … parental burnout is real! Not only that, it’s inevitable and impacts every facet of your life — yours and your children’s.

And would you like to know something important? This is fine!

I’m not here to gaslight you and pretend there’s a perfect life of calm parenting. This is not one of those articles and it’s why I consider it one of the most important I’ve ever written. Because being a parent is REAL … one of the realest of the real.

It’s an amazing, beautiful adventure.

Yet also one that pushes, prods, and prickles every trigger you have.

And in today’s world that is rather different from any other time in history… well, it makes the problem of parental burnout more problematic than ever. But that’s okay, my child-conjuring friend because you are most certainly not alone.

parental burnout … don’t worry, you’re not alone

I have no idea what it was like to exist fifty years ago. I don’t know what it was like before then, way back in the past. I imagine it was hard and each generation faced their own unique challenges. I’m glad I am around today. It’s a prosperous time.

Yet let us not kid ourselves… we too face our own very unique challenges.

One of them is that we seem to be stuck in the middle of what was and what is to come. We do, by all accounts, remain rooted in old rules that seem to become more outdated by the year. Yet each year, we edge ever closer to greater equality.

There are still gaps and progress must continue to happen. But we’re doing better, for the most part. However, such progress doesn’t come without growing pains.

And as a parent today, we feel these more than most.

I won’t speak for anyone else, but I will speak for myself as a man and a father. I feel the pressure and indeed the necessity to provide for my family. I feel the need to be strong. To take control when things go wrong. To be a rock!

Yet I also wish to be open with my emotions and more present than my father was to me. To be more vulnerable; to be more honest and transparent. 

Especially regarding my emotions.

So I often feel torn, simultaneously trying to wear competing caps.

After speaking with many mothers over the years, they too seem to be similarly torn between being the perfect mother and an ambitious career seeker.

I can’t imagine it was easy way back in the past, but there were clearer rules and guidelines around parenting. If you were a mum, you stay at home and raise the kids. A man, you’d go to work and provide for your family.

Simple. A clear blueprint everyone could follow.

That’s no longer the case.

Equality has brought us closer together, blurring the lines between those differing roles. This is a good thing, by the way—at least in my opinion. Yet there’s no blueprint to follow these days. It’s like we’re all out there trying to be everyone and everything. Indeed, we feel the pressure of this each day. Some of it’s internally driven through aspects like toxic masculinity, for instance. Yet some of it’s external, such as the ever-rising cost to actually survive in this fast-paced world.

It leads us exhausted, and the impact isn’t just on us parents.

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      the impact of parental burnout — on you & the kids

      Parental burnout hits hard, on you that is for sure, as you feel tired, stressed, inadequate, confused, insecure, and everything else.

      Yet it impacts our kids, too.

      The more stressed I am, the more likely I am to get angry or frustrated. I feel on edge and the inevitable result of this is that my temper falters. This isn’t fair on my son or daughter, yet can it really be avoided if you’re full to the brim each day?

      No. But even if you can keep your emotions in check, parental burnout leaves you with little attention, focus, or energy. So when your kid needs your attention, affection, or to simply help them with some kind of life lesson, you have little to offer beyond the bare minimum.

      You want to give more, but how can you when you’re so full to the brim?

      So parental burnout isn’t just about you or your partner. It impacts your kids, as it does your work, health, and every other facet of life. It’s unforgiving and although it may get easier as the kids get older, many of the pressures remain.

      It’s easy to feel defeated by it; as though there is no other way.

      But there is, and we owe it to ourselves and others to make this a priority.

      how to overcome parental burnout

      Nothing I say here will make your parenting easy. It’s also important to remember that you and your situation are unique. Some people find this parenting game easier than others. They are more naturally ma/paternal, generous, giving, etc…

      That ain’t me. I find it hard, an introverted individual who likes to retreat within.

      I’m not sure where you stand. I guess that’s the first step … to have a few honest reflections and conversations (with yourself) to better understand how you feel and what you struggle with. Appreciation resides on the other side of understanding, so it’s an important first step to take. Beyond this, the following may help you remain on the right side of parental burnout.

      1: set boundaries

      Although work/life balance is an outdated myth that no longer applies — I explain why here — it is important to segment your life into different facets. This is true for everyone, but more so for parents (especially those with younger children).

      Hear these words, my friend… you are but a single human being!

      Each day, you’re given a fresh batch of 1,440 minutes. Each day, you get to tap into a limited and finite amount of energy. You only have so much focus.

      And this is okay. You are not perfect. You are just human!

      So it’s important to set boundaries. Boundaries for other people to follow, but also for yourself—because you will lose sight of these when you’re caught IN IT!

      Some of these boundaries center around practical aspects like your work, chores, and so on. Yet there are also emotional boundaries to consider, as well as those that cover your mind, body & spirit.

      What are these boundaries? That is the question… and it’s one you need to ask.

      Because your boundaries differ from mine. They depend on your specific situation, for starters, but also on your unique personality, traits, and experiences.

      What matters is if you take the time to understand these boundaries and then communicate them to those that need to hear them — and that includes YOU.

      From there, treasure these boundaries. Protect them. Be true to them.

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      2: fill your cup (daily)

      Linked to your boundaries is the essential task of Filling Your Cup each day.

      Once more, you are but a human. Not a robot. Not software. Not boundless.

      In the same way we need to eat and breathe, we need to look after ourselves. Easier said than done, of course, especially when you have little ones that literally NEED you to survive. It’s easy to put them first. Not just them, but others you love.

      And again, some find this easier. If you’re a natural giver you may find serving “them” one of the ways to fill your cup. It’s not one of mine, but that isn’t to say it isn’t for you. Yet even if that is the case, your giving only goes so far.

      To be selfless you must first be selfish.

      put your own oxygen mask on before your kids’, if you will.

      It can feel counter-intuitive and the reality of this is far from easy—not when you have all the things to do! But you need to. Not just for you but those you serve.

      So fill that cup of yours every day… even if it’s just five or ten minutes, reserve time to focus on your health: mind … body … and spirit.

      How you do this is up to you. A walk. Reading. Writing. Meditating. Cooking. Working out. It looks different for everyone. All that matters is what you need, so create your “go-to” list today and refer to it each day thereafter.

      3: don’t be an island

      I struggle with this. I like to sit on my thoughts and, for the most part, it’s lonesome time when I overcome problems and gain clarity in life.

      Yet it only goes so far.

      Too often I become an island, isolated and alone. I take hold of too much. I cling to too much. I could share the load, but choose not to. The impact of this is always huge, and the payback always hugelier.

      So do your best to allow others in.

      Not to put your burden on to them, but rather to lighten the load you carry with you throughout the day. Sometimes this requires a professional someone. I’m a firm believer that we ALL need therapy. Life is just too intense to get through it figuring it out on our own!

      But sometimes it can be your partner. or a friend. or a colleague. or a stranger on a forum that’s filled with people just like you going through the same as you.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is you’re not alone.

      It can feel that way at times, and sometimes you feel like you have to stay strong. Some of the time it’s hard to even find the time to share the load with others; other times it’s hard to find the time to even be aware of what’s going on inside.

      But that’s why filling your cup each day is so important.

      Doing so helps you connect with you so you can then better connect with others.

      4: “good enough” is good enough

      A common theme here is that you are human and that means your energy and abilities only go so far. This is hard to come to terms with in this hustle-centered world that demands oh-so-much of us.

      We want to be more. We feel like we need to be more. All around us, we see people who seemingly are more. And so we push and push and push. It’s exhausting. And if there’s one thing I hope you take from this article, it’s that you don’t have to be so much or do so much or achieve so much. Good enough is always good enough.


      Don’t let anyone say otherwise.

      This isn‘t about having a lack of ambition or being lazy or anything like that. This is just plain old reality and the fact that you and I are both human and we can only do so much. If that gets to the point of “good enough” … good job, my friend.

      Perfection isn’t real for anyone, but especially in a household of kids.

      That house of yours doesn’t always have to be clean. Every weekend doesn’t have to be a 10/10. Some meals can be from a can. Sometimes the TV can be on.

      Good enough is good enough, for you and your kids and everyone else.

      If we can strive for this instead of pushing for perfection, we can keep on the outside of parental burnout—still tired, but that in itself is good enough.

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      5: integrate your life

      As mentioned earlier, work/life balance is a lie. We place too much stress on our lives, trying to balance everything and keep it in a state of peace.

      Work is work … family life is family life … personal well-being is personal well-being.

      Nah, forget about all that. True balance happens in today’s fast-paced world when you better integrate it. Who says you cannot work and be a parent at the same time? Who says you cannot catch up on a few notes while the kids are in the same room? Who says you cannot involve your family in your own personal welfare?

      You can do it however you want. You get to make the rules. And these rules do not have to be set in stone because you and your situation WILL change.

      So stop trying to wear all these different caps. Integrate your world so it exists in harmony. Not at odds with one another, but in alignment and alongside each other.

      parental burnout … you are doing okay!

      Before we bring this piece to an end, I want you to do something for me.

      I say it’s for me, but it’s really for you (and every other parent on the planet).

      Go to the bathroom → close the door → look in the mirror → take a few deep breaths → smile at the person looking back and say “you’re doing okay”.

      You are not a perfect parent. You do not have it all figured out. Hell, you likely have no idea what the hell you are doing most of the time. No matter, you’re doing okay.

      So long as you care, you are enough. So long as you love, you are enough. So long as you are here doing your best … you are enough.

      Parental burnout is real; to an extent, it’s unavoidable.

      This entire journey is tiring and it challenges us in ways we cannot imagine or prepare for. Yet there are certain steps you can take, and I hope this article acts as a reminder if nothing else—use it as permission, if you like, to take some time.

      As parents, we need it. Our kids need us to need it.

      You’ve got this, even during those moments you don’t. 

      Keep remembering that and you’ll keep on the right side of parental burnout.

      the [no hustle] huddle

      escape the hustle & stay escaped with actionable anti-hustling advice sent to your inbox every Monday (for free)

        hi, i’m turndog and I wrote this article … i am a writer, ghostwriter, anti-hustler & a guy on a mission to ensure you too escape the hustle — come be part of the [no hustle] movement

        the [no hustle] huddle

        escape the hustle & stay escaped with actionable anti-hustling advice sent to your inbox every Monday (for free)

          hi, i’m turndog and I wrote this article … i am a writer, ghostwriter, anti-hustler & a guy on a mission to ensure you too escape the hustle — come be part of the [no hustle] movement

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