Parents Still Struggling with Burnout Post Pandemic, New Survey Shows

Parenting has never been a stress-free responsibility, but in the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent disruption to daily life, the job of the parent has become even more difficult and complex. Parents are finding themselves juggling different functions, acting in their traditional roles while also filling the educational and social gaps left in the pandemic’s wake. Compounding this problem is the recent spate of violent school-related tragedies and tumultuous political and economic climate.

A new report from Ohio State University captures just how much parents—especially working parents—are struggling, and how this struggle is affecting their children. The report was based on results from an online survey, completed by adults living with at least one child under the age of 18.  Out of the 1,285 participants who completed the survey, 66% of respondents reported feeling a sense of burnout. This state of emotional stress was felt disproportionally by women, with 68% of females reporting burnout versus only 42% of males.

Burnout is defined in the report as a crossroad between chronic stress and exhaustion that overwhelms a parent’s ability to cope and function. This state-of-mind is strongly associated with depression, anxiety, and increased alcohol consumption, and these factors typically increase the likelihood that a parent may lash out, scream, curse, or even physically harm their child. Survey participants also expressed feelings such as loneliness, exhaustion, and an inability to cope with the strain of serving as employee, parent, playmate, and emotional support system.

At the end of the survey, parents were presented with strategies to help them handle the side effects of burnout. Taking time for self-care, being kind to yourself, talking about feelings, building coping skills, and asking for help were all listed as proactive ways to address emotional stressors. Other lifestyle changes, such as getting more quality sleep, having children help with household chores, and increasing resources by carpooling, asking for flex work hours, and engaging in free corporate wellness programs were also recommended.

The Monday Campaigns offers additional free online resources for individuals and organizations to help deal with feelings of stress and burnout. The Monday Mood Boosters Package is a 12-week series that offers participants a unique practice every Monday to boost focus, energy, and outlook. The Sleep Well Package is another useful collection of practices for achieving higher quality sleep. You can find more practices and resources dealing with stress reduction and coping strategies at DeStress Monday.