“I can’t do it all”: An open letter to exhausted parents

“I can’t do it all”: An open letter to exhausted parents

Psychologist Dr. Colleen Long shares through a touching open letter that no parent should try to do it all. Full story here.

Psychologist Dr. Colleen Long shares through a touching open letter that no parent should try to do it all. Full story here.

Dr. Colleen Long is a licensed clinical psychologist with a practice in Boston, Massachusetts as well as Los Angeles, CA. She’s also a proud mother and loving wife. From time to time, this busy mum contributes informative pieces to Psychology Today, and recently she shared an amazing piece that can truly assist any parent who feels exhausted.

According to Dr. Long, it’s all about admitting to yourself the simple fact that no matter how many hats you wear, or responsibilities you hold, parents simply can’t do it all.

While many Psychology Today entries are research based papers that offer insight on a new concept or discovery, Dr. Long’s newest assertion (or realisation, rather) come sin the form of an open letter.

Mother With Baby Suffering From Post Natal Depression

In this open letter, this overworked, tired mother discusses the stress that’s associated with parenting and how it can put on a damper on your once easily completed to-do list. Not to mention the emotional distress of financial stability, dealing with her marriage, and trying to manage every facet of her own family.

Of course, this mother’s problems and concerns are far from a happy story, but don’t give her your pity. This empowered mother knows exactly where she stands physically and emotionally; she just needed an outlet through which she could speak her mind. And, quite frankly, it’s refreshing to hear a clinical psychologist open up in a similar fashion to one of her patients.

As I said, Dr. Long’s story isn’t one that will leave you joyful or happy. However, it will leave you enlightened and encouraged to set your limitations and help you to realise that you shouldn’t try to do it all. Your family needs you to be a rock of stability and by taking it all on, you run the risk of doing too much.

Heed this mother and psychologist’s words and learn how you too can embrace the reality that doing too much is causing more harm than good.

Read Dr. Colleen Long’s intriguing open letter to exhausted parents by visiting the next page

As I write this post, I'm coming off the heels of an email from the PT.com crew warning that my blog is quickly becoming an endangered species as I have not set foot in here for months. The email was just another patent reminder that I was wrong: I can't do it all.

Maria Shriver eloquently stated that the idea that women can have it all is a myth and her view is that we should pick a few things and aim to be really good at them. I think this is a more realistic pursuit and a psychologically healthier one at that.


Before I had children, I checked off my to-do lists at the end of the week. My house was clean, I didn't have roots, my toenails were polished, my dog was walked, my friends had been contacted and properly connected with, my hobbies had been dabbled, my husband's existence was acknowledged and even nurtured at times, my passions were perused and pondered, and I felt an inner sense of forward movement and personal growth.

Now I feel like I'm barely hanging on. Please keep in mind that it is part of my job to help others lasso their lives into manageable pieces. Meanwhile, on Mondays I feel as if I hop on the bull and try to just stay on until Sunday—rinse, wash, repeat.

I have not come to acceptance. I am not okay with just letting things go. I go to bed each night with an ongoing mental "itch." The itch of financial burdens extending far beyond our reach at the moment; the itch of twin toddlers in the heart of their terrible two's—who both coincidentally seem to be developing into sociopaths in front of our very eyes (what are the odds?)—the itch of a constantly greasy floor that despite multiple go's of the steam mop, will one day be the reason my husband is able to cash out on that life insurance policy of mine; the itch of that person in the mirror that keeps staring back at me who I no longer recognise; the itch of a marriage that if not for a pretty rock-solid foundation of friendship, might otherwise be simply a contract (he could actually be carrying out a complete double life at the moment and I honestly don't have the time, desire, or the energy to pursue the truth); the itch of voicemails from friends and family that have gone unanswered (god I'm a terrible daughter, friend, etc...).

Continue Dr. Colleen Long's intriguing open letter to exhausted parents by visiting the next page

I have no profound words of wisdom. I am not becoming a better person as the result of all this. In fact, I'm pretty sure I am becoming worse. I am getting more grey, more doughy, more wrinkly, more tired, more irritated, more disenchanted by the moment.


The only thing I can do at the moment is psychologically hold all of this in a different frame. There is no Friday checking off of the list anymore. There is no paying off the credit cards each month and putting a little in savings. There is no more "me time." There currently is not any oasis in the desert or dry land in these rough waters in sight. I know that there is no break, and many women like to remind me that on a daily basis. I have heard the same old "it doesn't get easier, it just gets harder in different ways," over and over again. White flag. I surrender. I give up.

The frame that I try and hold is that of a block of wood. In this process, while uncomfortable, I am slowly being chipped away at and made into something different. I don't know what that thing will be at the end. I don't even know if it will be better, but I am quickly becoming accustomed to having to just sit right in the midst of a "life storm" I don't have the answers to. What is that saying about "smooth waters never make for strong sailors"?

Mums, this is not a suicide note. Just my letter from the depths, an attempt at trying to pursue a couple things (eh hem...writing) and be halfway good at them. Dear PT.com, I'm not extinct, just out to sea for a while.
Dr. Colleen Long's original blog post originally appeared on Psychology Today
Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. 

Got a parenting concern? Read articles or ask away and get instant answers on our app. Download theAsianparent Community on iOS or Android now!

app info
get app banner