How I lost my life to Parental Burnout
I was a good mom. Never in a million years did I ever think this could have happened to me. All I ever wanted was to grow up, get married, have kids and be the best homeschooling, stay-at-home, Christian Mom that I could be. Everything was going as planned at first and our family was thriving. My husband was the envy of all wives, and we were in love. I was making my own organic baby food and sewing my own baby clothes. Our kids would eat their vegetables, sleep through the night, poop in the toilet, and "obey without delay". Other moms came to me for advice.
That's when things began to go downhill... What went wrong? First, the sense of control I had enjoyed throughout my life was suddenly torn away by a traumatic birth and subsequent Post-Partum Depression. Second, physical exhaustion took hold when one of my children did not sleep through the night one single time until the age of SIX (years, not months!). Third, my success as a mom became my failure when none of my best parenting ideas worked with one child who refused to participate in that whole "obey without delay" thing no matter what I tried. It felt like there was nothing left in my life that I could control anymore, and I began drowning in my efforts to get my power back. Early symptoms got worse Being tired was manageable at first and so was being grumpy. But soon my body was begging for a break, my mind was spinning in circles, and I was afraid that if I let myself cry - I may not have been able to stop. Ever.
Year after year, I spiraled in my struggle to regain control of my perfect life. But I was so incredibly fatigued to the bone in every single way that even simple parenting tasks began to overwhelm me. The unfulfilling, monotonous chores of homemaking were borderline torturous, and the list of needs to be met was never ending. Anger and resentment flooded my senses. Many times I found myself yelling at my kids before they even had a chance to do anything wrong. Their need for attention and affection felt smothering to me and just wanted them - and my husband - to stop touching me, stop talking to me, and leave me alone. Even though I knew there was a better way, I couldn't muster up the energy to follow through. I felt so guilty for shushing them and sending them away or for dishing out harsh consequences for minor offenses, yet I still could not get a handle on myself. Eventually I was getting migraines and having anxiety attacks, binging and purging huge amounts of sugary foods, and compulsively picking at my skin until it bled. I began daydreaming about ways to escape from it all to go find purpose in another life. None of it was ok with me. I knew I needed help but who could I tell? Shame kept me silent. I tried my best I tried everything I could to be peaceful and happy, and to manage my crazy temper. And some weeks it seemed to be working. Ironically, the good days might have been the worst part, since glimpses of false hope only kept the cycle going. The problem was not that my kids were too unruly (as a matter of fact, they were truly incredible little humans). And the problem was not that my husband was unsupportive (he bent over backwards trying to help but neither of us knew what I needed). The problem was with me. I was completely burned out but had no point of reference to understand it. Nobody did at the time. Parental Burnout was not a term anyone was familiar with, and educated help was not available even from professional therapists. Until I crashed. Hard. After eleven years of trying and failing to get better on my own - I finally lost it. One night in October of 2012, I was so angry with my kids again over some small little thing they were doing at the dinner table that I couldn't breathe.
This time was different though. I didn't yell. I didn't even speak. I just silently made my decision. "I can't do this anymore. Nothing is ever going to change. I'm done."
And that was it. In that exact moment, I felt a physical snap inside of me and something let loose. If you've ever been fishing and lost a big one - you will recognize what that snap felt like. From fully tight to fully loose in a blink - with no way to get it back. It was over. I was leaving. I lost my life... My desperate need to breathe (both physically and emotionally) finally overpowered my will to keep trying, and I simply couldn't be a mom anymore. So I abandoned my life. I divorced my husband, gave him full custody of our kids, and I ran away from home. Not only did I leave to take a little break - I moved to another country and started a new life altogether. ...and found myself. How did this happen? What was this "thing" that had swallowed me up? How did I go from "good-hearted Christian mom" to "cold-blooded wicked witch" in my own fairy tale life ? Where did I go wrong? It took me years to face my demons, understand these answers, and begin to reconcile with my kids. With no books, videos or coaches to guide me along, my solo journey to healing was long and arduous. But I did it. From rock bottom, with nothing left to lose, I became my own research project. Purposefully dissecting every aspect of my identity and my worldview allowed me to keep what worked and change what didn't. I did not find perfection, but I did find peace. And grace, and forgiveness, and honour, and integrity, and love, and contentment, and fulfillment, and life. And... I found myself. My whole and complete, authentic, good, joyful, strong, empowered self... with a voice and a purpose and a mission to share with the world.
What if... Sometimes I wonder how things might have turned out differently if someone had come alongside me and said, "I see you. You're not a bad mom, you're exhausted. Come, let's walk through this together." I can never know what could have been for me and my family, but my hope above all hopes is that someone else out there will never have to wonder the same. What now? My story is both a cautionary tale and a beacon of hope. Parental Burnout can lead to disaster for families, but it's never too late to find healing. And that is why I have created The Parental Burnout Center and "The Burnout Remedy" Program.
By partnering my first-hand experience, my extensive research findings, my certification from the Parental Burnout Institute, and my certified Life Coach training - I have created a unique online coaching program that successfully applies both preventative and healing measures that go straight to the root causes of Parental Burnout.
I get it. I see you, and I there is nothing but unconditional grace and honour for you here. Are you ready to lay new groundwork, find your footing, and find your rhythm again? You are strong and able and powerful. You are a good parent and you can beat this thing. Trust me, if I can do it - so can you. You're not alone, we can walk together.
With all the confidence in the world for your healing,
P.S. I would be honoured to hear your story too... send me a message and tell me about your journey with Parental Burnout and how it's affecting your life? What do you wish for? Looking forward to hearing from you! Click the link below or send an email to: email@example.com