parental burnout

How to Cope With Parental Burnout During the Pandemic

A study from the University of Southern California finds women, who are more likely to be the prime caregivers, are feeling more anxious and depressed

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With so many children either remote or hybrid learning, parents are understandably feeling stress from being home.

A study from the University of Southern California finds women, who are more likely to be the prime caregivers, are feeling more anxious and depressed.

Instead of seeing her three children off to school, Anna McKeown of Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood, spends her mornings helping them log into class at home.

"We make sure that everyone has all of their Zoom links ready to go," McKeown said.

Many parents like McKeown have a lot on their plates, helping their kids transition to remote or hybrid learning.

Some have added computer tech, teachers aid and school counselor to their resume while often juggling day jobs.

"The day that I'm home is very stressful. It means that it's a really long work day," McKeown said. "And I'm not able to successfully be either a parent or an employee."

The study from the University of Southern California finds that the added stress parents are feeling can lead to "parental burnout," according to lead author and parenting mentor, Susan Groner.

Her advice to many moms is to just breathe.

"Go take a walk for a few minutes. Whatever makes you feel good that you can do in a short period of time," Groner said.

For McKeown, she balances out mommy duties with her 15, 13, and 11-year-old children by running on her treadmill daily.

However, the stress can take a toll on children attending school remotely as well.

Eight-year old Gabrielle Middleton likes the company of her fish and cat Oreo. But she is also missing her friends at school.

"Um, a little bit. Sad," she said.

Her mom, Nijha, said it is difficult to give Gabby the attention she deserves, even while working remotely from home.

"I do suffer from the mommy guilt part of course because I want to be able to be there and give her my best but sometimes you're so tired," Nijha Middleton said.

Groner has a few more tips to help moms deal with what she calls mom guilt:

  • Spend individual, quality time with your child during their breaks
  • Know that your kids don't need you constantly
  • Take a pause on your personal and professional goals. It's OK not to push yourself to the max

"I want to be very good at lots of things and right now I feel like I'm not very good at anything," McKeown said.

Groner added that she wants parents to know they don't need to go overboard with fancy, elaborate plans when spending time with kids. She said it's more about the quality of time you spend together rather than how much it costs.

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