How to manage parent guilt, burn-out & fatigue

In this podcast (episode #499) and blog, I talk to Hettie, a concerned mother, about balancing work and play time with her children, especially as a homeschooling mom. This is part of a series I am doing on questions you submitted for my new book on children’s mental health. 

This was Hettie’s question:  

I'm part of an avid homeschooling community. Homeschooling moms like me tend to be "always on; always teaching." It can lead to schooling burnout, and it does! How can we give ourselves and our children a better balance between working our brain, resting our brain, and letting our brain play?”

First, it is important to understand that, as parents and guardians, we deserve to rest! This is especially the case if we are homeschooling our children as — in this case, we are not just parents but educators as well.  

Work-life balance is not just important for our children. We cannot give our best and be there for our children if we are overwhelmed, burnt out and running on empty. This is something I have spoken of on my podcast before, which I call the “oxygen mask principle”. As parents, we need to help ourselves before we can effectively help our children, which includes scheduling in periods of self-care so that our minds, brains and bodies have time to rest and recharge. 

We need to recognize that although the mind is infinite, the brain is finite, and it needs rest to function well. We can only give our best when we are rested, which is why it is so important that we learn how to be okay with doing nothing as parents. (This takes some practice, especially if you constantly feel the need to do something!)  

It is important to remember that our children pick up on our emotions and behaviors. If we are stressed out, overwhelmed or upset because we have not given ourselves enough time to rest and reboot, then this can affect our children’s mental health and performance. On the other hand, when we take the time to invest in our self-care as parents, and we explain to our children why this is important, we teach them an invaluable life-skill. This, in turn, will help them learn how to build and maintain their own resilience as both children and adults. 

Finding the right work-play-rest balance is not just something we should teach our children. It is something we need to model in our own lives. As mentioned, children observe us and pick up on our feelings and behaviors. This means that we do and say, or what we don’t do or say, can affect their wellbeing as well. So, taking care of ourselves and our mental health is not just a “nice” thing to do. It is imperative if we want our children to grow up understanding that life is about balance and that their health is important.  

For more on parenting and children’s mental health, listen to my podcast (episode #499). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).    

Preorder my new book How to Help Your Child Clean Up Their Mental Mess before August 7th, 2023 to receive exclusive bonuses, including access to a 1-hour webinar + Q&A session on back-to-school tips and strategies to help your child mentally prepare for the year ahead! You can preorder here.     

This podcast is sponsored by:   

Magnesium Breakthrough by BiOptimizers. You all know that I love Magnesium Breakthrough by BiOptimizers—it’s been a life changer for my sleep as well as mood and relaxation, and has become an important part of my daily mind management routine. And, this month only, you can get a FREE bottle of this best-selling full spectrum supplement that contains all 7 forms of magnesium your body craves in exactly the right balance as part of Bioptimizers’ 14 Day Sleep challenge! All you have to do is pay a nominal shipping fee. No other strings attached, no other purchases required. The challenge is simple - try Magnesium Breakthrough for 14 days and see all of the positive changes I just mentioned. And, if your sleep and energy are not absolutely rocking by the end of 14 days, you’ve lost nothing. To get your free bottle just go to and enter coupon code drleaf10. 

Podcast Highlights 

3:36 The challenges of homeschooling & balancing work and rest 

4:35, 6:47 The importance of self-care as a parent  

7:45 How burnout affects the mind-brain-body connection 

13:34 How our mood & emotions can affect our children

18:00 Tips to maintain a good work-life balance as a parent  

21:30 The importance of teaching our children about mental health & self-care from youth

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.


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