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Managing meltdowns with time-in, active listening and deep connection, (which is a big part of what I teach parents in my coaching work) is all well and good when you have the energy, patience and fuse for it. When you are suffering from exhaustion, overwhelm and burn out that shit (wonderful, amazing, life-changing shit) just isn’t likely, in fact, it might not even be possible!

So when you are living the life of a burnt out Mum (or dad), how on earth are you supposed to handle meltdowns, without losing your shit?

My best advice is to do and say less. Doing less is more connecting than shouting in anger, growling in frustration or dishing out unreasonable consequences. Sure it is not the perfect solution to managing meltdowns, but it works well and keeps us moving forward when we are feeling burnt out.

When we are suffering from burn out, exhaustion and overwhelm, the level of our stress hormones, remains high all the time. That means that any little thing can and will tip us over the edge. We snap and yell when we really don’t want to, our patience has worn super thin and we just need a break from everything. Then comes a meltdown and we just can’t deal.

Let’s talk through what I mean when I say Doing Less;

Your 6 year old starts crying about a seemingly small thing, you know it is probably just a case of needing an emotional offload (you can read more about that here) but you don’t have the patience right now to listen through it. You could choose to try to talk to your child, but you have already decided that your patience is thin right now so please don’t!

 Sit beside your child, face into them and just listen to them. Let them have a cry or be angry. You don’t have to say or do anything. You don’t have to make it better. Just the act of your presence, your silence, can be therapeutic for you and your child. Let them release some of those emotions without interfering anymore than just being with them.

If that feels like something you are not able to do right away and you need to manage your own emotions first, you could try one of the following;

  • sit down on the floor where you are and say nothing, breathe deeply and slowly. – Your child knows you are there with them, that alone is a sign of your understanding, attention and connection.
  • Have a sentence you can use that does not blame your child and let’s them know you are not able to listen right now eg – “I can hear you are upset and that is okay but I need to take a minute away before I can listen”. If you can leave the room for a minute or two and take some deep breaths before returning, that is ideal.
  • If you have another caregiver in the house, handball to them. Ask them to listen to the feelings while you go and take a break.

To better manage parenting burn-out and exhaustion, it is really helpful to talk it out. Not just have a chat with someone but speak openly and honestly about your feelings. Find someone who will listen without judgement and tell them that sometimes it feels like too much,  that you can’t manage another day of parenting, that you want to quit or take a long holiday. Have a big cry or rage if you need too. Whatever your true feelings are, they need to come out. Just like we are teaching our kids to express and understand their emotions better, we as parents need to do it too, not just for ourselves but as role models for our children.

So……. Do Less and find someone to listen to you. That’s it!

Come and join us in The Parenting Transformation Community. It is a wonderful place to say how you truly feel and be supported by a wonderful group of non-judgemental parents from around the world Click here to request to join the group.

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