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3 Powerhouse Parents on How They Avoid Working-Parent Burnout

Anna Halkidis

Burnout was officially recognized as a condition earlier this year by the World Health Organization (WHO). So no, those feelings of exhaustion and negativism when it comes to work aren't all in your head! But couple that work-related stress with a rugrat running around at home, and burnout can be taken to another level. (If you're a working parent, you're probably nodding your head right about now.)

Don't worry, you're not alone. While no working parent is immune to burnout, learning how to manage it is challenging yet possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has long studied workplace stress, has a few suggestions like finding a support network of friends and coworkers and having a relaxed and positive outlook. But that might all be easier said than done for some of the busiest parents out there.  

Some of those busy parents who have dealt with burnout head-on have some suggestions, too. While sharing inspirational insight on how they built their successful brands, three powerhouse parents spoke with Parents.com about how they avoid burnout while attending the fifth annual Social Media on the Sand conference at the family-friendly Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages and Spa in October. Here's what they had to say.

Rebecca Minkoff, mom of three and co-founder of the eponymous fashion brand

It's about trying to figure out your own personal boundaries and then making sure that you have a partner on board.

John Parra/Getty Images for Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff

How do you avoid burnout?

I have to sleep eight hours or more. I go to bed usually shortly after the kids go to bed—that’s the only way I could do it. And it’s also about trying to figure out your own personal boundaries and then making sure that you have a partner on board. My husband and I are both 100 percent parents. I meet a lot of women who are left with a lot of the heavy lifting, but we share it and I think that makes it a lot easier. I would say have that conversation if you don’t have that equal divide with your spouse.

How do make sure you have quality family time?

One thing we started adopting recently that has been really helpful—because there are three and they don’t all get attention that they need—one of us takes one out and says, “For the next two hours, no screens, no treats, no toys, whatever you want to do outside of those things, you tell me, you lead.” We call it “Own Time.” And there’s been a transformation in our daughter (the middle child) since she’s gotten that attention—her outbursts are 50 percent less. Everything is better because we set aside time.

Do you factor in parenting breaks?

I don't take them as often as I need to. Back to guilt. I haven't figured out how to do that yet. For instance, I've been traveling a lot for work so when I get home, I'm not going to take a break even though I'm exhausted from the travel. For me, I guess I take my breaks when I'm traveling. If there's an hour I can squeeze in a massage. I try and do it on work time.

Jamie Kern Lima, mom of one and co-founder of IT Cosmetics

One of the ways to help burnout is to shift the expectations that we have on ourselves because we are all doing the best we can when it comes to parenting.

John Parra/Getty Images for Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa IT Cosmetics co-founder Jamie Kern Lima

How do you avoid burnout?

I feel like being a mom is harder than being a CEO. Being a mom is harder than running a billion-dollar company. I would have never thought that before I was a mom. You never shut off being a parent. I feel like the hardest thing to adjust to is all of a sudden you have this unremitting, 24/7 responsibility.

What it really comes down to is the expectations I have on myself as a mom. There’s a famous saying that, “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” One of the ways to help prevent burnout is to shift the expectations that we have on ourselves because we are all doing the best we can when it comes to parenting.

Have your views on work changed since having a baby?

I will say I don't want my daughter to see a workaholic...For me, I realized my workaholism is an addiction and it took the place of so many other parts of my life. I want to change that for me but I also want my daughter to see healthy, intentional choices with my time and my passion and the impact I feel I'm supposed to make on the world versus a mom in any form of addiction.

Daymond John, dad of three, founder of FUBU apparel company, and investor on the ABC's Shark Tank

I say no as much as possible so I can stay focused on what I’m doing as well as stay focused on having some time for me and my family.

John Parra/Getty Images for Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa Shark Tank's Daymond John

How do you avoid burnout?

I travel a lot. However, every place I go, I have a day or two in that area to be a tourist, to relax. The first 10 years of my career, I traveled the world three times and the entire world was a boardroom, an airport, a restaurant, and a hotel…Now I carve out a little bit anywhere I go.

Do you find yourself having to say no to things just to avoid burnout?

I just read a great quote by Warren Buffet that said, "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything." It’s not often the deals you miss, it’s the deals you take that take up your time. I say no as much as possible so I can stay focused on what I’m doing as well as stay focused on having some time for me and my family.

Any rules you set for yourself to make that time for your family?

Set the time aside for your family first before you set your other schedule because I’ve been there where we kept saying we are going to get to vacation and it never came. Set the vacation and then set work later. And wherever the vacation may be; a vacation can be an hour, a day, or two days, but set it first.

Anna Halkidis is the features editor at Parents.com. Keep up with her on Twitter and Instagram.