BookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxFilledCheckBoxCircleBumpCheckedFilledMedical

66 Percent of Working Parents Are Burned Out, Here Are 5 Ways to Reset

As a researcher and working mom of four, Kate Gawlik has developed the first-ever Working Parent Burnout Scale to help caregivers recognize burnout signs and get the help they need.
save article
profile picture of Wyndi Kappes
By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published June 23, 2022
tired mother lying on couch with baby on chest
Image: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

As an Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing at Ohio State University, a writer, researcher and mom of four children under 10 years old, Kate Gawlik understands what it means to be a burned-out parent. What she didn’t understand was why there was no way to measure burnout. There are clinically proven scales to measure pain, depression and anxiety, but nothing to quantify that oh-so-familiar tired and overwhelmed feeling.

Alongside Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, the dean of the College of Nursing at Ohio State, Gawlik created the first-ever valid and reliable Working Parent Burnout Scale. Using this new method, the two surveyed over 1,000 working parents with children under 18. The results showed that a staggering 66 percent of parents met the criteria for burnout.

The study also found that women are more likely than men to experience burnout, with 68 percent reporting burnout versus 42 percent of males. There was also a strong correlation between parents who had a child with ADHD or anxiety reporting burnout (77 and 73 percent, respectively).

The toll of burnout doesn’t just affect parents, though. Of parents who reported severe levels of burnout, researchers found there was a dramatic increase in the likelihood that those parents may insult, criticize, scream and spank their children.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though. Recognizing and intervening for parental burnout have been shown to improve both parent and child outcomes. In the report, you can find the Working Parent Burnout Scale to determine your own level of burnout. Parents can rank how often they experience things like “I find joy in parenting my children” or “I get/feel easily irritated with my children.” Based on your level of burnout, Gawlik and Melnyk provide tips and resources for help.

“We want parents to understand they’re not alone in their struggles. Recognizing when you need help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and we hope that our report and the suggestions we include will be a step in that direction,” Gawlik told WebMD.

Gawlik’s Top Five Tips for Beating Burnout:

  1. Take good self-care (it is not selfish!): Even a five- to ten-minute recovery break a couple of times a day to enhance your well-being or engage in something that brings you joy does wonders. Drink a warm beverage slowly, do a five-minute meditation, dance to your favorite music or walking up and down the stairs.
  2. Be kind to yourself: Don’t set expectations too high. Don’t overcommit or feel guilty for saying “no” to something. Forgive yourself; everyone has strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  3. Talk to someone you trust about how you feel: Stay connected to family and friends.
  4. Build your mental resiliency and coping skills: This can include practicing mindfulness, developing cognitive-behavioral skills, practicing gratitude and self-affirmations and deep abdominal breathing.
  5. Ask for help: If your level of burnout, anxiety or depressive symptoms interfere with your ability to function or concentrate, talk to your primary care provider or seek mental health help. It is a strength to recognize when we need help, not a weakness.

The next time you feel overwhelmed or like you are failing at parenting, consider these 20 Positive Parenting Affirmations to Boost Your Mental Health.

save article
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

mom kissing baby at home
Tips for Planning Your Return to Work After Parental Leave
Fact Checked by G. O’Hara
mother working on laptop while holding baby
These Are the Best States for Working Moms in 2024
By Wyndi Kappes
erin andrews and her baby for enfamil campaign
Erin Andrews on Squashing Mom Guilt and Navigating Life With Baby
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
mother kissing baby before leaving for work
These States Provide the Best Work-Life Balance
By Wyndi Kappes
woman working at desk
Study: Providing Parents With Support Makes Businesses More Profitable
By Wyndi Kappes
Victoria Monét and two-year-old daughter Hazel Monét Gaines celebrate their Grammy nominations by indulging in Jimmy John’s Red Velvet Cookies while preparing for the awards show on February 04, 2024 in Los Angeles, California
Victoria Monét and Daughter—The Grammy’s Youngest Nominee—Make History
By Wyndi Kappes
allison holker and family
Allison Holker Boss on Dancing, Resilience and Finding Her New Normal
By Nehal Aggarwal
ADVERTISEMENT
mom sitting at table at home thinking and pondering
I Was an Accidental SAHM—and I’m Done Feeling Guilty About It
By Kristen Bringe
Kristin Davis at the New York Pemiere of "And Just Like That..." A New Chapter of Sex and The City held at MoMA on December 8, 2021 in New York City
Why Moms Are Loving Charlotte's ‘and Just Like That’ Monologue
By Wyndi Kappes
78 Percent of Moms Are Overwhelmed by Pumping at Work
78 Percent of Moms Are Overwhelmed by Pumping at Work
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
mother holding sleeping baby at home
Caregiving Reduces Mom's Lifetime Earnings by 15 Percent, Report Says
By Wyndi Kappes
working mother sitting at home with baby and breast pump
What the PUMP Act Means for Working Parents
By Wyndi Kappes
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hugs his daughter Poppy on the ninth hole during the Par 3 Contest prior to the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2023, in Augusta, Georgia
Kids Take the Masters by Storm Dressed as Adorable Caddies
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
mother wearing baby in wrap while working on laptop at home
Study: Parents Work Longer Hours Than Non-Parents Amid Recession Fears
By Wyndi Kappes
P!nk attends the 2022 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2022 in Los Angeles, California
Balancing Acts: Pink Shares Her Journey as a Rockstar Mom
By Wyndi Kappes
Sanya Richards Ross and family
Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross on Motherhood and Finding Balance
By Nehal Aggarwal
Reps. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., Andy Kim, D-N.J., left, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., conduct a news conference to announce the Congressional Dads Caucus outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, January 26, 2023
Congress’ New Dads Caucus Advocates for Working Parents
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
Shonda Rhimes attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Shonda Rhimes Shares the Secret Behind How She Does It All
By Wyndi Kappes
MommiNation founders talking at fundraiser event
How MommiNation Is Helping to Empower a Community of Black Moms
By Jen Hayes Lee
Rihanna is seen outside the Dior show, during Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear F/W 2022-2023, on March 01, 2022 in Paris, France
Rihanna Says Being a Mom Pushed Her to Perform at the Super Bowl
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.