Helping with homework, managing extracurricular activities, preparing food… raising a child is not an easy task but, out of love, many parents find out talents they never imagined they had.
However, in general, being a full-time mom or dad is still not recognized by society as a complex activity that, much like other jobs, demands a lot of attention. People who take on this kind of responsibility still get asked questions like, “Why are you so tired? You do not work, you stay at home taking care of your children.”
Taking care of children is more draining than going to work
Refuting this kind of questioning, a study from the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium, pointed out that taking care of children is more tiring than working. For the research, they listened to 2,000 parents and 1 in 10 said that taking care of their children compromised their physical and emotional health.
The results showed that 13% of the participants presented high levels of exhaustion and a feeling of incapacity. These symptoms are a sign of parental burnout. The numbers vary from 11.6% for dads and 12.9% for moms.
What is parental burnout
Parental burnout is a type of burnout syndrome, a mental disorder triggered by intense stress usually derived from work and, like in this case, taking care of children. The exact root of the problem is still unknown but it is related to cognitive overload.
“If you work beyond your limit for a long period of time, you can have a nervous breakdown and, as a consequence, burnout”, states psychiatrist Fernando Portel, of the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry (ABP).