Updated: Sep 20, 2022
There's no doubt about it, parenting during an unprecedented pandemic that has gone on for over two years now has been one of the hardest times of our lives. From running online grade school from our homes to daycares and preschools being closed....not to mention all the angst we've felt trying to make the best decisions for our kids and keeping them safe.
Being a parent our number priority is keeping our children safe. As the world is changing and the pandemic made internet more accessible with remote learning, our kids are exposed to social media and the dangers that follow. Broadband mentions mentions parental controls to help limit the access your child has on the intnernet and helps set healthy boundaries.
One of the latest surveys on the subject by researchers at The Ohio State University found that 66% of parents reported being burned out. Burnout was higher in parents who likely spend a lot of time worrying about their children: It was reported in 77% of parents who had a child with ADHD, 73% who had a child with anxiety, and 72% who were concerned that their child could have an undiagnosed mental health condition.
A McKinsey survey also found that four in five employed parents said they felt concerned about their child’s mental health, and more than one-third rated their concern as extreme.
That is A LOT of worry that we as parents are harboring.
Fifty years ago, 34% of mothers with children under 18 worked full time. Now, it’s 55% per Pew Research. Overall, 72 percent of mothers are employed today, (whether full time or part time)
50 years ago, that figure was about 50%
That's a huge cultural shift and change in our labor force participation rate, and in today's increasingly busy modern world, the invisible/emotional labor of managing a family & home life + all that work life entails, is putting a huge strain on parents. Although the data shows that women do a disproportionate amount of unpaid labor in the home as compared to men, my observations is that parenting in our 24/7 connected world is stressful on both mothers and fathers.
In 2020, it was estimated that women spend 4.1 hours a day on unpaid/care work in the home compared to 1.7 by men. But that's not to say men don't do their fair share either. In my own home my partner functions as our IT fixer, financial planner, chef, carpool driver, sports coach and more. And in this WSJ article Julie Jargon highlights some of the stories from fathers and the stress and pressure they feel.
In just a few conversations with friends (men and women), I've asked them....what is on your invisible list of unpaid work you do at home? Here's quick run down: -Switching the laundry over, folding, putting away.
-Unloading/loading the dishwasher -Meal prepping/cooking -Vacation planning- booking flights/other accommodations -Purchasing children's clothing -Paying bills
-Car maintenance -Home maintenance
-Coordinating kids school/activity schedules
-Taking kids to doctors appointments
The list goes on and on.
So how do we manage this never ending list of to do's, succeed in our jobs, and still raise happy and well adjusted kids?
The true answer is that it's a constant balancing act, which is needing constant adjustment depending on the phase of life you are in. But implementing these 6 strategies into your life can help you bring more peace and happiness into your home (and less stress/worry)!
Adjust your expectations and standards: the kids might be in mis-matched socks and clothes that don't go together, or have pizza one too many times. But if the children are safe and cared for, let go and share the responsibilities with your spouse or outsourced help.
Scale back on commitments: Try to aim for one activity per season. Signing your child up for several activities while planning family vacations and outings can add to your stress and leave no downtime.
Spell out duties clearly: Don't expect your partner to read your mind. State specific chores "Dinner three times a week, including clean up" or "Pick AND drop the kids off at school." I highly recommend parents read the Fair Play book by Eve Rodsky that provides systems and solutions you can implement in your home to help divide up the unpaid labor in your house.
Build "me time" into your schedule: Living in the present and finding activities that allow you to actively relax are super important when it feels like all you have time for is your family and work. Have an uninterrupted block of time to read a book, do yoga, gardening, or go for a walk. Do something that makes YOU happy and not anyone else in your family.
Set boundaries and priorities: If bedtime stories and nighttime cuddles are important, the dishes can wait, and set your phone aside. Calendar your time, say no more often, and create priority lists.
Zero in on your burnout: Identify your stress triggers and where your burnout is coming from. Is it home life, or work life? Are you coming home from work irritable and resentful at your family? Do you work in a toxic environment? Is your home unorganized and it causes you to snap. Writing a list of 3-4 stress triggers can help you implement strategies to minimize the trigger