Author Topic: Burnout when you have kids  (Read 6422 times)

Britan

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2021, 10:32:02 AM »
I don’t know that I have any meaningful advice, but… you’re not alone, fwiw. I have a 2yo and another on the way. I was ‘burned out” (severe PPD/PPA) for 18 months with my first. I know exactly when it got better, because it was his first day of full time daycare, hah. For me, work is my break and recharge time. But ofc with COVID, theres sick days, school closings, etc., on top of normal holidays, and then I end up with both work AND supervising a 2 year old… and we are adding another newborn into the mix soon, and I’m a bit apprehensive about the next 18 months until *he* can be in daycare.

The only thing I will say is that a low dose of Zoloft helped me substantially (like literally saved my life) to get through the hardest phase. I didn’t think it would. “My problem is that I get 2 hours of sleep a night, Zoloft won’t fix that!”. It didn’t magically give me extra sleep…But it did take the edge off the worst of the anger and frustration. Sleep deprivation does crazy things to your body chemistry.

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2021, 11:49:18 AM »
I don’t know that I have any meaningful advice, but… you’re not alone, fwiw. I have a 2yo and another on the way. I was ‘burned out” (severe PPD/PPA) for 18 months with my first. I know exactly when it got better, because it was his first day of full time daycare, hah. For me, work is my break and recharge time. But ofc with COVID, theres sick days, school closings, etc., on top of normal holidays, and then I end up with both work AND supervising a 2 year old… and we are adding another newborn into the mix soon, and I’m a bit apprehensive about the next 18 months until *he* can be in daycare.

The only thing I will say is that a low dose of Zoloft helped me substantially (like literally saved my life) to get through the hardest phase. I didn’t think it would. “My problem is that I get 2 hours of sleep a night, Zoloft won’t fix that!”. It didn’t magically give me extra sleep…But it did take the edge off the worst of the anger and frustration. Sleep deprivation does crazy things to your body chemistry.

Have you considered a nanny?

For us covid took a lot of the joy of being a SAHP away when our second was born May 2020. Early on there was absolutely no socialization, amenities like parks and zoos were closed, etc.

We are now at the point where it's not worth it to us to cloister, so we arrange playdates and also drop off playdates where some parents get a break for at least an hour. Not much but it helps. Sick days at school are still tough because you can't take a sick kid to a playdate but that's the way it goes.

Work used to be my recharge but now it doesn't do one way or the other, and some days actually drains but not as much as the kids do.

@c-kat , I went to PT as well and used to take on a ton of extra work. It's been a few months and after setting up the boundaries early on (genre "no, i can't do that with current workload" or "no i can't start early/work late"), it's muuuuuuch easier now to say no to extra work. Some colleagues grumble about me telling them no now or the fact i can't/won't go out of my way to help them anymore, but if you think about it in a "me first" attitude knowing that boundaries help your mental health, it should make it go easier over the long run.

Britan

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2021, 06:05:42 PM »
When #1 is out of daycare for holidays or closings, we have hired a sitter before, though it gets pricey, and I feel it’s not super ethical to hire someone to watch him when he’s sick, so sick days land on me. Which sucks because I kinda have to work AND watch him, as I’m part time and therefore not eligible for sick leave. Nanny is the likeliest option for us for #2. Unfortunately center based daycare in this city is basically nonexistent for kids under 18 months due to the (actually imho reasonable) regulations. It will just be a matter of my working not ending up a net financial negative after paying for both daycare for #1 and nanny for #2. At least it’s only 18 months, and we’ll probably go to public school once #1 turns 4.

I’ll echo the sentiment that if you are part time, and especially hourly, you have the right to protect those boundaries with 100% consistency. I’ve shamelessly turned down a lot of meetings and tasks because “I have a hard stop at 3” and “I’m already at my hours for the week”.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2021, 06:08:32 PM by Britan »

JJ-

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2021, 07:27:59 PM »
I kinda have to work AND watch him, as I’m part time and therefore not eligible for sick leave.

Wow, that's a pretty ridiculous rule. Sorry about that. Must be frustrating.

Some rules blow my mind on how difficult it makes it for some people to work. Like do they want you coming in sick?

Britan

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #54 on: October 22, 2021, 08:05:16 AM »
I kinda have to work AND watch him, as I’m part time and therefore not eligible for sick leave.

Wow, that's a pretty ridiculous rule. Sorry about that. Must be frustrating.

Some rules blow my mind on how difficult it makes it for some people to work. Like do they want you coming in sick?
At very least I wfh and this is beyond the pandemic, so that’s nice. But yeah I’m glad I never worked a job where like a sick note was required. Are you hiring ninth graders? If so maybe rethink your hiring strategy, instead of requiring a doctors note for sick days? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

c-kat

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #55 on: October 22, 2021, 02:54:08 PM »


I’ll echo the sentiment that if you are part time, and especially hourly, you have the right to protect those boundaries with 100% consistency. I’ve shamelessly turned down a lot of meetings and tasks because “I have a hard stop at 3” and “I’m already at my hours for the week”.

This is something I really need to work on.  My challenge is that I'm a team lead and the rest of my team is full time so I always feel I need to check and respond to emails on off days. Also before my leave my director was always scheduling meetings for 3pm when my hours are 7-3.

The problem is that I'm in a full time position but was allowed to switch to part time for a while because I have young kids.  They've asked me several times when I plan to return full time and I feel a lot of pressure to do extra work so that they don't force me to work full time.

JJ-

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #56 on: October 22, 2021, 09:03:29 PM »


I’ll echo the sentiment that if you are part time, and especially hourly, you have the right to protect those boundaries with 100% consistency. I’ve shamelessly turned down a lot of meetings and tasks because “I have a hard stop at 3” and “I’m already at my hours for the week”.

This is something I really need to work on.  My challenge is that I'm a team lead and the rest of my team is full time so I always feel I need to check and respond to emails on off days. Also before my leave my director was always scheduling meetings for 3pm when my hours are 7-3.

The problem is that I'm in a full time position but was allowed to switch to part time for a while because I have young kids.  They've asked me several times when I plan to return full time and I feel a lot of pressure to do extra work so that they don't force me to work full time.

How formal is your part time agreement? To ease some of the pressure it might be best to communicate both your and your employer's expectations on how long the part time work would continue. They may genuinely be curious but you could be interpreting it as pressure to go back to full time. This could also back fire, so the other approach is to shrug it off.

I am a team lead / project manager that was full time but now work 3/4 time (8-3). I have a couple of tips and if you want more details on how I manage my time feel free to PM me.

First, on meetings outside of my schedule, I assume that nobody knows my schedule (even though I have office hours set in outlook) so when they schedule something outside of it i respond with a no but with a note letting them know it's outside my work schedule and am open to meetings another day / time. There's some nuance, but that's how I've approached saying "no" professionally without making it personal.

Second, it sounds like you may be working full time hours with the off hours emails and discussions but taking part time pay. You need to remind yourself you chose to go part time and were approved by the company to do so, and with that comes a part time workload.

For my projects i keep a team project schedule with my hours, and if new things come up that require my time i say I'm sorry I can't I'm full on workload for the next X weeks/months depending on the commitment, or if absolutely critical needed my engagement on these other projects can stop but here are the impacts.

I do however have supportive management of getting me to a part time workload and I'm almost there. I've been transitioning for a few months and i can almost taste the sweet relief of an actual part time workload. I did agree to the transition. I should also caveat with I'm a government employee so I have a bit more protection.

The biggest thing though for me is how much easier for me to say "no" to extra work after a while. The last few weeks I've also been able to keep from checking emails a couple times a week in the evenings, but it will be there in the morning to deal with whether I look at it or not.

Regardless of who you work for, learning to say no professionally and having boundaries is a very, very healthy thing. It will drive your burnout further if you don't.

Britan

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #57 on: October 23, 2021, 05:34:33 AM »


I’ll echo the sentiment that if you are part time, and especially hourly, you have the right to protect those boundaries with 100% consistency. I’ve shamelessly turned down a lot of meetings and tasks because “I have a hard stop at 3” and “I’m already at my hours for the week”.

This is something I really need to work on.  My challenge is that I'm a team lead and the rest of my team is full time so I always feel I need to check and respond to emails on off days. Also before my leave my director was always scheduling meetings for 3pm when my hours are 7-3.

The problem is that I'm in a full time position but was allowed to switch to part time for a while because I have young kids.  They've asked me several times when I plan to return full time and I feel a lot of pressure to do extra work so that they don't force me to work full time.
Oof sounds like they already had boundaries issues.

Don’t know if this would help given that, but I set up a recurring Outlook “meeting”for myself M-F 3-6pm that shows me as busy, so it doesn’t appear as an “open” meeting time when others are scheduling meetings. That’s worked for me, but if this is your director (who should know your hours), and they’ve already been like this, ymmv.

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #58 on: October 23, 2021, 10:20:36 AM »


I’ll echo the sentiment that if you are part time, and especially hourly, you have the right to protect those boundaries with 100% consistency. I’ve shamelessly turned down a lot of meetings and tasks because “I have a hard stop at 3” and “I’m already at my hours for the week”.

This is something I really need to work on.  My challenge is that I'm a team lead and the rest of my team is full time so I always feel I need to check and respond to emails on off days. Also before my leave my director was always scheduling meetings for 3pm when my hours are 7-3.

The problem is that I'm in a full time position but was allowed to switch to part time for a while because I have young kids.  They've asked me several times when I plan to return full time and I feel a lot of pressure to do extra work so that they don't force me to work full time.
Oof sounds like they already had boundaries issues.

Don’t know if this would help given that, but I set up a recurring Outlook “meeting”for myself M-F 3-6pm that shows me as busy, so it doesn’t appear as an “open” meeting time when others are scheduling meetings. That’s worked for me, but if this is your director (who should know your hours), and they’ve already been like this, ymmv.
Oh thank you! I’ve been trying to figure out how to set my work times in outlook to do that (I finish at 2:30pm). Now if I could only have that communicated to my outside customers somehow….

Britan

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #59 on: October 23, 2021, 06:41:34 PM »
Oh thank you! I’ve been trying to figure out how to set my work times in outlook to do that (I finish at 2:30pm). Now if I could only have that communicated to my outside customers somehow….
Yeah I haven’t figured that one out haha. At least I don’t have to manage clients/customers, just subcontractors. While I hate playing secretary, for several reasons, I have found that I have a little more control if I volunteer be the one to put a meeting on someone’s calendar, rather than leaving it to them. Though even with all this careful crafting, there’s always That One Guy who keeps sending “urgent” Teams messages questions at 6:30 pm.

JJ-

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #60 on: October 23, 2021, 07:41:57 PM »
there’s always That One Guy who keeps sending “urgent” Teams messages questions at 6:30 pm.

That just screams "look at me look at me look at me I'm working at 630pm". SMH.

former player

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #61 on: October 24, 2021, 02:45:21 AM »
there’s always That One Guy who keeps sending “urgent” Teams messages questions at 6:30 pm.

That just screams "look at me look at me look at me I'm working at 630pm". SMH.
Can you do "out of office" messages on Teams?  As in "messages received after Xpm will be responded to the next day"?

Britan

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #62 on: October 24, 2021, 04:22:51 AM »
there’s always That One Guy who keeps sending “urgent” Teams messages questions at 6:30 pm.

That just screams "look at me look at me look at me I'm working at 630pm". SMH.
Yuuuup. I’m this case, That One Guy was fired recently for not producing anything of value and pushing all his work onto other people. Just sending late emails and messages to look as if he was busy.

I do wonder if there’s a way to set something like an out of office on Teams. I don’t see anything off the bat on my mobile app, but I’ll check the full one on my laptop on Monday. Maybe setting status to “Offline”? But I’m lazy, so I’ll see if I can find a way to do that automatically instead of manually. :)

JJ-

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #63 on: October 24, 2021, 07:08:51 AM »
there’s always That One Guy who keeps sending “urgent” Teams messages questions at 6:30 pm.

That just screams "look at me look at me look at me I'm working at 630pm". SMH.
Yuuuup. I’m this case, That One Guy was fired recently for not producing anything of value and pushing all his work onto other people. Just sending late emails and messages to look as if he was busy.

I do wonder if there’s a way to set something like an out of office on Teams. I don’t see anything off the bat on my mobile app, but I’ll check the full one on my laptop on Monday. Maybe setting status to “Offline”? But I’m lazy, so I’ll see if I can find a way to do that automatically instead of manually. :)

Do you have an Android? You can set do not disturb schedules.

Bolder move is to uninstall from personal devices and respond to business on business hours on business devices.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2021, 08:07:39 AM by JJ- »

c-kat

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #64 on: October 24, 2021, 09:25:41 AM »
there’s always That One Guy who keeps sending “urgent” Teams messages questions at 6:30 pm.

That just screams "look at me look at me look at me I'm working at 630pm". SMH.
Can you do "out of office" messages on Teams?  As in "messages received after Xpm will be responded to the next day"?

I always thought that teams switched your status to offline once you signed off. Is that note the case?

Britan

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #65 on: October 25, 2021, 02:07:38 AM »
Do you have an Android? You can set do not disturb schedules.

Bolder move is to uninstall from personal devices and respond to business on business hours on business devices.
The real power move. :)

I only keep teams on my phone because it allows me to do things like take the dog for a walk or go to the grocery store when work is slow but still be available to answer questions or check my calendar if needed or take a work call from a walk. Overall so far (for me) the pros outweighs the cons. But yeah, it’s getting uninstalled if I’m ever expected to worth with or for a That One Guy again. I was really fortunate that my boss was very understanding and did not expect me to in any way respond to him after 3 pm.

@c-kat I think on your computer yes. If it’s on your phone too though, I’m not as sure.

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #66 on: October 25, 2021, 07:28:31 AM »
Do you have an Android? You can set do not disturb schedules.

Bolder move is to uninstall from personal devices and respond to business on business hours on business devices.
The real power move. :)

I only keep teams on my phone because it allows me to do things like take the dog for a walk or go to the grocery store when work is slow but still be available to answer questions or check my calendar if needed or take a work call from a walk. Overall so far (for me) the pros outweighs the cons. But yeah, it’s getting uninstalled if I’m ever expected to worth with or for a That One Guy again. I was really fortunate that my boss was very understanding and did not expect me to in any way respond to him after 3 pm.

@c-kat I think on your computer yes. If it’s on your phone too though, I’m not as sure.

When I went cold on work outside of work hours, I found myself missing the work calendar for scheduling kid appts and other life things. For personal email I use Gmail, and the Microsoft / Google exchange server is horrible that often takes days to sync. I re-downloaded outlook, created a personal outlook email and shared my work calendar read only with that one. Now i just check outlook for work calendar stuff.

Doesn't help with mobile teams calls or grocery stores but if you get there that's one of your pros worked around.

mrs sideways

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #67 on: October 26, 2021, 08:40:21 PM »
OP - best of luck and I hope it gets better for you soon.

For other parents following this thread for advice, I was also in the "woken up 5 times a night" club for several months. I was drinking myself back to sleep on the regular. But what got us down from 5 wake-ups a night to 2 or fewer was finding a sleep buddy he really liked, something he could hug all night long. He'd been given lots of cuddly toys, but I think it made a difference that we went to the store and let him pick one out himself, and that was his friend after that.

As far as kids pushing you to the edge... I called it The Dark Place. When you're sleep deprived, and you're burned out and used up, something shifts in your brain. Parenting feels like an abusive relationship. In The Dark Place, it seems like all your kid does is hurt you, over and over again, and you start wanting to hurt them back.

The good news is that your kids do grow up, and grow out of the worst phases. I have absolutely no idea why some parents are nostalgic for the baby and toddler years. They have either forgotten the trauma or they got VERY lucky with their babies.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #68 on: October 27, 2021, 12:35:50 AM »
Re-reading this thread reminded me of this blog post I read a while ago. It's not exactly the same issue as your kids waking you up every hour all night or being total turds all day, but it's related. Even if you're not religious, I think it is helpful to think about how much you can really expect to accomplish in a day/week without burning out: https://jenniferfulwiler.com/2008/01/admitting-that-i-cant-do-it-allor-even/

c-kat

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #69 on: October 28, 2021, 03:59:41 PM »
Thought I'd post an update.

Just finished my first week back. I.T. didn't give me access until the second day so my first day was spent waiting for them to call.  Second day met with my boss about expectations and started doing some work today.  All in all, it was a nice non-stressful way to ease back in.

Work confirmed I can continue to work part time for a while and they don't expect me to be forced back to work full time.  They did take away some of my files and adjusted my performance agreement accordingly.  This made me a bit nervous but should mean I won't have to work extra hours.

Daughter's behaviour has improved by 30% already following the psychologist's recommendations. She didn't even wake up last night and has had no tantrums so far today.  We plan to keep going and hope things improve further.  We also found out she has a dairy intolerance.  Hubby and I do too but it manifests differently in her so we missed it.  Avoiding dairy has also contributed to her positive behaviour change.

I am still exhausted and taking things one day at a time.  Might start a journal.

shelivesthedream thanks for posting that article. It really made me realize how important it is to look after oneself and feed the soul in order to be able to do work.

JJ-

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #70 on: October 28, 2021, 07:17:54 PM »
Thought I'd post an update.

Glad you got a smooth entrance back to work and will get to stick with PT for a while.

Re-reading this thread reminded me of this blog post I read a while ago. It's not exactly the same issue as your kids waking you up every hour all night or being total turds all day, but it's related. Even if you're not religious, I think it is helpful to think about how much you can really expect to accomplish in a day/week without burning out: https://jenniferfulwiler.com/2008/01/admitting-that-i-cant-do-it-allor-even/

Reading this and seeing the ~7 hours/day dedicated to work that a group of folks is undoubtedly called to do calls in to mind just the expectations of working parents of dependent children. If you take this as the model of an ideal day to do something the rest of your life where you have 7 hours dedicated to that cause, it puts into perspective how much a full time job plus parenthood puts weight onto you.

Britan

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Re: Burnout when you have kids
« Reply #71 on: October 29, 2021, 07:03:27 AM »
Work confirmed I can continue to work part time for a while and they don't expect me to be forced back to work full time.  They did take away some of my files and adjusted my performance agreement accordingly.  This made me a bit nervous but should mean I won't have to work extra hours.
Yay I’m glad they aren’t putting pressure on you. I know you had said that was something you felt. I definitely understand… my boss would love to have me full time, and it’s hard to not hear that and think they are subtly saying I *should* be full time…I’ve had to learn to take things people say at face value when they say part time is ok. And as for workload and performance, I definitely understand that nervous feeling. At the same time, now you know you won’t be held to performance goals that are unreasonable on part time though.

Also I’m glad the intervention has helped with the youngest one. An old coworker of mine had a kid who needed extensive speech therapy, and she said that even for kids without a “need” for a psychologist, having some form of therapy was one of the best things she did for her son, as it helped him to be very emotionally aware and articulate and adaptable even at a young age.

As far as kids pushing you to the edge... I called it The Dark Place.
Yyyup, been there. Accurate description, though mostly directed at myself. Midwife told me at a visit that she couldn’t let me leave unless I started Zoloft or checked into the hospital. I picked Zoloft. Along with sleep training, those were the best two decisions I made in those early days for my parenting. I’ve already started the Zoloft in anticipation of baby 2.

I think it is helpful to think about how much you can really expect to accomplish in a day/week without burning out: https://jenniferfulwiler.com/2008/01/admitting-that-i-cant-do-it-allor-even/
Thanks, this is timely for me. Yesterday I had a realization: I had a laundry list of things to do, but laid up on the couch with a cold+COVID booster+pregnant, I could only do ONE THING. So I made dinner and gave up on the rest. Today I have: two loads of laundry downstairs to wash dry fold and put away, a kitchen to tidy and clean, a living room to tidy and clean, a hospital bag to pack, dinner to make… and more. But this reminded me… I can probably only pick one or two of those to do.