All parents struggle from time to time. It’s normal. It’s just part of raising kids.
But sometimes that struggle can send us into survival mode, or maybe even parenting burnout.
It’s kind of like driving down the road and an indicator light comes on saying that you need gas. But instead of refueling, you just keep going. And then eventually you end up burnt out on the side of the road without any gas.
The same thing happens to us as parents, we’re driving along, things are great.
Then we end up in survival mode, where we are struggling, where life is just kind of hard. If we don’t take some time to refuel and to work on getting out of that survival mode, then we’re going to end up in parenting, burnout.
I explain more in the video below…
So let’s jump right into those eight ways that you might be parenting in survival mode.
8 Signs That You’re Parenting In Survival Mode
#1. You’re constantly stressed
Now, we all feel stress, stress is normal.
When we’re stressed out usually we’re stressed about a certain situation that’s happening or a certain something that you’re worried about.
But if you’re feeling stressed, and you can’t really pinpointed on one certain thing, then that could be a sign that you’re parenting in survival mode.
#2. You’re triggered all the time
If you find yourself getting triggered a lot and you’re just jumping to anger, or the smallest thing send you over the edge, then you might be parenting in survival mode.
#3. Everything feels urgent
If all the things feel important, you have a hard time prioritizing, or you blow up something small into something really big, you might be parenting in survival mode.
#4. Feeling apathy or like nothing matters
Apathy means feeling “meh” or just not caring about things you used to care about.
Before, you’d care if youre kids were jumping on the couch. And now you’re like, “whatever, it’s not worth the battle”.
Or you don’t really care what your kids are eating or the things that you used to really care about, you don’t care about anymore…could mean you’re parenting in survival mode.
Now the strange thing about the apathy, plus all this drama and stress and triggering is that you can feel both! One moment, you’re stressed and everything’s dramatic. And the next, you’re like, whatever, I don’t care about any of it.
And so you might flip flop back and forth.
#5. You stop taking care of your basic needs.
Another really big sign that you’re in survival mode is when you stop taking care of your own basic needs, even showering or eating or getting dressed for the day.
…it’s just too hard or you don’t care enough.
#6. You’re overwhelmed with negative thoughts.
The negative thoughts start swirling in your head…
You start feeling bad about yourself because you’re not really taking care of yourself physically, but you’re also not taking care of yourself mentally.
And you start thinking about how…
- you’re a bad parent,
- you’re failing,
- no one understands you
- everyone else is parenting better than you are
- you can’t do it all…
You end up in this negative swirl of negative thoughts.
#7. You feel isolated or like no one gets it.
It’s almost like you’re on this island all by yourself.
And you’re like…
“Hey, everyone, I’m over here, and I’m really struggling.”
But nobody really sees the struggle.
#8. You feel resentful
Then you start feeling resentful that…
- Nobody gets it,
- You’re the only one who’s doing all the things,
- No one else seems to be struggling,
- That you even have kids and you miss your old life…etc.
But if you feel that resentment and frustration towards everyone in everything, that’s a good sign that you may be in survival mode.
Now, if you aren’t showing all of these signs, that doesn’t mean you’re not parenting in survival mode.
Even if you have a handful of these, it could be a sign that you may be parenting in survival mode and you may need some help to get out of it.
We are all individuals and the signs that I show may not be the signs that you show.
But…even if you’re showing some of these signs, it’s a good idea to start working on taking care of you before you end up burning out!
The first thing that most people think we need is more self-care.
We should be doing taking time away from our kids and getting that bubble bath, a pedicure, or watching some Netflix on the couch eating some popcorn.
But the truth is, self-care isn’t going to fix at all.
Find out more about my feelings about self-care here –> Why Self-Care Sucks…and what to do instead.
Self Care is not evil. It’s not horrible, but it’s not going to fix everything like we oftentimes thinks it will.
So let me give you some actual tangible things you can do today to pull yourself out of survival mode.
What Can You Do If You’re Parenting In Survival Mode?
- go through your calendar and take off the things that don’t matter very much keep the things that do.
- simplify your meals have cereal for dinner one night. That’s okay.
- Can you do a few fewer chores?
- Are there fewer errands that you can run?
- Can you get groceries delivered this week because you can’t seem to get out of the house to get there?
What can you do to make things more simple for you?
#2. Lower your expectations.
Lower the expectations you have for yourself, especially when you’re in survival mode, you’re not running at the top of your game.
Stop expecting you’re going to be able to get everything done that you can possibly get done, when you’re feeling great and wonderful.
Imagine looking at your to do list and you have 15 things on there that you want to get done and you can only get three of them done, you’re going to feel like a failure.
Instead, just pick two or three things you want to get done that day. And when you get them done, you’re going to feel successful!
Lower your expectations and be okay with that. Give yourself a little bit of grace.
#3. Use Mantras and Positive Self-Talk
Find some good mantras, talk to yourself and start using these positive thoughts to help you pull yourself out of that negativity.
Pick a few like….
- I am capable
- I can do hard things
- I’m not a failure
But the key is that you need to prove it to yourself so you believe it.
Find specific ways that you ARE succeeding.
- Recognize the great things your kids do and take some credit for parenting them well.
- See that you are capable of doing hard things by looking back at your struggles and how you’ve come through them.
- Find one thing to be grateful for and see that you played a part in that…whatever it is!
Using some of those positive thoughts will help you move out of that negative energy that Survival Mode brings.
#4. Ask for help…and take it
I know for myself, this is a hard thing for me to do.
I believe that I’m a strong, independent person, I don’t need help. I can do it all myself!!
But the truth is, there are times that I need help.
If you’re anything like me, you have to learn how to advocate for yourself and say, “Hey, I’m struggling over here, someone helped me, please.”
HINT: When you ask for help you actually strengthen the bond between you and the person you’re asking.
More often than not, people WANT to help when you’re struggling.
#5. Find The GOOD!
Find gratitude every single day!
When you’re in this negative spiral, it’s like you put on negativity glasses that only allow you to see the bad things in your life.
It’s so easy to see all the bad things and how we’re failing.
Finding gratitude and looking for the ways that things are going well is going to help replace those negative glasses with more positive glasses.
So every day find just a couple two or three things that bring you joy that you’re grateful for, whether that be a roof over your head and the food in your fridge.
#6. Be Okay With Taking Care of YOU!
It’s a good thing to take the time to do the things you need to do in order to be a happier better person
Think about the trajectory of where you’re going, if you choose to stay in this negative place, if you choose to keep going down the road, that indicator light flashing, and not do anything about it, you will end up burnout on the side of the road.
So when you make the choice to be okay with doing something for yourself, you’re choosing to do something different, you’re choosing to be a happier, better parent, for your kids.
It may be hard in the moment, you may feel that guilt but when you say this is what I need to do to do better for my kids in the long run, that it takes away some of that guilt.
Because the more that you are in survival mode, the more strife there will be between the people in your life, including your kids.
When you’re in survival mode, you’re not going to be the best parent that you can be because you’re triggered and you’re more emotional.
In Survival Mode, you’re reacting out of emotion.
So when we get out of survival mode, that’s when we can actually use those parenting tools that we have…instead of just reacting.
This is something that I talk more in-depth about in my workshop called The Three Mistakes Parents Make When Trying To Get Their Kids To Listen.
Hint, one of the mistakes is not taking care of yourself.
And I explained exactly why not taking care of you can cause kids not to listen.
It’s free and you can watch it whenever you’re ready….and yes, it has a pause button.
Just sign up below!