Wednesday, April 2024

Are you suffering from parent burnout? You’re not alone. In this episode of the Life Ed Podcast we tackle strategies to help you cope with parental overwhelm.
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Being a parent and raising children is an amazing and mostly rewarding journey, but sometimes the pressures of juggling so many competing demands – including work and busy school schedules – can take its toll on parents, leading to burnout. 

Here are just some of the risk factors that can contribute to parent burnout. How many of these things can you relate to? 

parent burnout risk factors


In our first Life Ed Parent Podcast for 2024, host Tracey Challenor chats with child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Kaylene Henderson about why we are feeling more parent burnout than ever and what we can do when everything is feeling overwhelming.  

Dr Henderson is a parenting expert, popular speaker and training provider but she’s also a down-to-earth mother of three. Like every parent, there are days when the kitchen sink is overflowing, and dinner entails eggs on toast.   

She says modern-day pressures and a cult of perfectionism, partly fuelled by social media, create unrealistic expectations for parents.  

“We need to let go of this idea that we can do it all because we genuinely can’t, and you’re not a failure for not being able to do it all,” Dr Henderson says. “It’s actually just that the expectations on us are impossible.” 

Here are some key takeouts from the full podcast chat Overcoming parent burnout ~ with Dr Kaylene Henderson 

Rest and recharge if you’re feeling parent burnout 

A recent survey by the Parenting Research Centre found 60 per cent of parents don’t relax and recharge on a regular basis and nearly half feel they don’t have time to get everything done. Self-care and downtime are essential to restore body, mind and spirit.  

Dr Henderson’s advice:  

“It’s about being careful that the limited amount of time that you have to invest in yourself, because realistically it is limited, is spent doing things that are good for your soul and are not harmful. So, making sure it’s not reaching for the wine bottle, which is going to make you sleep worse and all sorts of other things and doom scrolling on your phone, which I know many of us do, but they’re not things that are good for our souls. It’s going for a five-minute walk around the block or calling a friend rather than just making comments on their social media posts, for example.” 

Time out benefits everyone and isn’t a luxury. Not only will your own mental and physical wellbeing improve when you have regular down time, you’ll also be able to focus on parenting tasks more capably, be more sensitive to your child’s needs and enjoy parenting a whole lot more.  

Prioritise what’s important 

Parents are faced with a huge daily and weekly ‘to-do’ list. Accept that perfection isn’t attainable and ask yourself: What are the most important priorities? Don’t invest time and energy where it doesn’t matter, such as in cooking elaborate weeknight meals or trying to do household chores that can wait until another time.  

Let go of unrealistic expectations and practise self-compassion and self-love. Establishing your own routines and structure around packing lunchboxes, screen time and homework can help make family life flow more smoothly. Also, remember that saying no to things that are a strain on your time, energy and resources can provide a powerful sense of relief.  

“If the to-do list is unachievably long, reflect on what is it you want to keep at the top there; reflect on what’s the big priorities for you and just hone in on doing those things well,” Dr Henderson says.  

Avoid comparison  

When it comes to parenting there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Families come in all shapes and forms and what works for one family might not be right for yours. Just because your friend’s child participates in three different after-school activities and learns the piano, doesn’t mean your family has to do the same. 

It’s also important to recognise that social media is just a filtered dimension of family life. As Dr Henderson says, “I am yet to see a photo of a sink full of dishes!” Gravitate towards your own authentic tribe of parents, have confidence in your own parenting abilities and set your own standards and priorities.  


Ever have that feeling that too many tabs are open in your mind? You might be watching your child play soccer but thinking about something you need to do at work or other chores on your mental ‘to-do’ list.  

Dr Henderson says it can really lighten the mental load to be present with whatever you are doing. If you’re with your children, try to be with your kids and enjoy them; if you’re at work, focus on work. Children grow up quickly and parenting is only for a short season so try not to sweat the small stuff. Instead, focus on the many joyful moments that raising a child brings.  

“If our children see, that just by existing, they can make us light up, that’s what fuels their self-esteem development,” Dr Henderson says. “And that is a gift for our children that takes a second, two seconds, less than it takes to post something on social media, but it makes a huge impact.” 

Want to hear more great advice on how to manage parent burnout? Click the link to listen to the podcast audio or watch the Life Ed Podcast video here Overcoming parent burnout ~ with Dr Kaylene Henderson.  

Listen To The Life Ed Podcast Here

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