Dr. Melissa Brown has noticed a trend lately; a lot of parents are struggling.

She’s a psychologist at UPMC and also a mom, so she knows all too well that parents are feeling stressed.

“That typical burnout, just feeling withdrawn and tired and exhuasted all the time…those are indicators that you might need to take an interal look at get some support,” she said. “And that’s ok.”

Kids are home in the summer and off their routines. Balancing work and child care might be an issue. And money is probably another source of stress.

“Money is tight with everyone right now and just inflation and the cost of feeding your child all day long…parents feel that crunch,” Brown said.

And then there’s the pandemic. Getting back to a normal routine has many parents feeling like they need to do everything all at once.

“Because we missed two years and it has ramped back up again, I think a lof of parents are feeling that their kids missed out,” Brown said. “So they are really trying to play catch up and they’re exhausting themselves.”

Social media can often make matters worse. Seeing others “do it all” can make people feel like a failure.

“Unfortunately, we’ve all gotten into this cycle, this comparison, that family looks so happy and perfect and how do they do it,” Brown said. “How do they manage it all? We don’t know the behind-the-scenes of those pictures you’re seeing.”

Dr. Brown says parents should know that it’s acceptable to say “no.” You don’t have to accept every invitation or request. Reach out to your support systems like family, friends and religious communities. Getting organized can also help. Packing lunches the night before or meal prepping dinners on the weekend can take the chaos out of your routines. Finally, don’t be afraid to seek help from a mental health professional.