Stress Less and Parent at Your Best

posted in: Motivation, Parenting | 0

Written by Jennifer Henderson

Parenthood is no doubt one of the most rewarding opportunities a person can be given. The joy of observing a life evolve into its own creative, self-sufficient being is undeniably an amazing gift.

It’s challenging, yet beautiful at the same time. Raising children in the society we have today is much different than previous eras. There is such a demand for perfection and the milestone requirements are set so high that most parents end up stretching themselves so thin they are left a stressed out mess. Mothers are no longer able to stay at home and take care of the children and manage household obligations. It is now damn near impossible to pull off. With sky-rocketing prices on EVERYTHING that we consume and use, our world has become a two-income world at best. With both parents working, or even just one in a single parent household, the workload increases at home. Thus, leading to the parent or parents becoming overwhelmed with pressure and stress. They are then left to find the time to juggle all of their adult obligations and provide their children with enough love and support in the process.
Parenting is a tough job!
I became a mom early in life, right about the time I turned 20. Although I wouldn’t change a thing in terms of my beautiful boys, I would’ve done some things differently to ease the load now to allow me to relax a bit and enjoy this crucial time in their development. At 30, I’m now divorced, in college, working and running a household. Parental stress is at its max and I’ve had to learn to take it down a few notches in order to survive. The number one thing I have learned in my 12 years of parenthood is: The well-being of your child(ren) takes precedence over everything else.
This is tricky because well-being is not limited to providing food, shelter and clothing.
Although, those necessities are imperative, you must also factor in the time and nurturing a child requires to thrive. For example, my school work load is extremely hefty this week, but, I know my sons are itching to spend some quality time with me. What do I do? I place my books to the side. I may be increasing my load later on, but, I know they need this time with me and it won’t benefit them in the least bit to see mom poured over a stack of books without giving them the time they need. Granted, it helps to have your children witness what hard work entails, but, you can’t allow it to take over your lives.
If all else fails, make sure they know just how important they are to you. Parenting is stressful, but, it’s not their fault.

Here are some other suggestions that I find particularly helpful:

1.  One thing we have nowadays that perhaps our parents did not have it an array of ways to reduce stress. USE THEM! Reducing stressFind the one that best suits you and engage yourself in calming your mind and body. Consider regular exercise, meditation techniques, yoga, outings with friends where you can be who you used to be before you had your kids. Taking time out for yourself is of huge value and it doesn’t take long before you can feel the value in your life and your parenting.
2.  Reach out and grab hold of the wonderful information that is out there to assist you in being a good parent, and help you through tough times in raising kids. Other moms and dads have lots to share and you will find that they alone, have more to offer in information than just the professionals.  Don’t let this information go to waste.  Milk it for all it’s worth.
3.  Feeling overwhelmed is a common trait of parenting. Do not ignore it – instead get help to conquer it before it gets out of control.  Forget what people might think, those people are going through the same thing you are and like you, they don’t want anyone to know how hard they find parenting – this is a very common human trait.  The smart parents are the ones who get the help when they need it and they are better parents and partners because of it.
4.  When you feel the anger mode coming in – take a breathe, count to ten while slowly releasing your air. Breath slowly and controlled.
5. Take time every day to have a conversation with your child and build on good communication. This helps prevent conflicts, and aids in a better all around behaved child, thus preventing parental stress.
6.  Keep your passions in your life.  Do not let go of the things you love and need to keep smiling and thriving.  Having children doesn’t mean neglecting yourself or your needs.
7.  Keep a social life with and without your partner. Having people you can relate to in your life is a gift. People need other people to share and rely on for whatever reasons. Do not close yourself off from the world and live only in mommy or daddy land. You are an adult, with wants and needs.
8.  Be realistic in your expectations of your children. Have an awareness of raising children, the areas of maturity that encompass tough times and get a head start on them so that you don’t feel overwhelmed and surprised when they fall upon you. Being prepared helps a person feel in control.
9.  Get proper sleep. If you aren’t sleeping well take appropriate measure to deal with the problem. Don’t just leave it and figure it’s a part of parenting. It isn’t. Getting proper sleep is of major consequence to the way the brain functions throughout the day. Not getting enough sleep is a stress causing factor on its own.
10.  Do not ignore your health.  If you have a recurring physical problem, or illness, no matter how afraid you might be you must bite the bullet, face your fear and address the problem. Remember that not everything is life threatening and most illnesses can be dealt with and fixed.  In the back of your mind you will stress about an illness of health problem that you are not addressing.  By addressing it you will be fixing it and dealing with it which is still better than ignoring it and then really having something to worry about later down the road.
11.  Do not take on more than you can handle.  If you are feeling overwhelmed with one child make an educated decision on when or if you will have another.  Don’t let your pregnancies pile up on you if you are not inclined that way.  Take your time and don’t let anyone or anything push you in a direction you are not ready for.
12.  If you are having marital problems address them.  Do not let them pile up and do not let them get the best of you.  Remember also that your kids will learn how to be a partner themselves from the examples you and your partner set so address marital issues and get them sorted out. Do not be afraid to get professional help if you feel you need it. Professional marital assistance is extremely common and you may feel alone but trust me you are not. It’s simply one of those things everyone hides.
225513.  Do not compare yourself to other parents and families. Everyone has different circumstances.  What you may think looks so great in another family could very well simply be an act because everyone wants to look like the perfect parent in front of other parents. Every couple has their problems and every parent has their strengths and weaknesses.  In society today, people don’t want to share their shortcomings they just want to appear perfect.
14.  Be aware of the areas of childhood that cause problems in a child’s behavior, such as a poor diet, poor sleeping habits and too much television watching to name a few.  These poor behavior causing areas will only add stress to your life and cause unnecessary friction as you try and get behavior under control.  There are already plenty of time when as a parent you will have to deal with poor behavior from your children, there is no need to add anymore.”

*Parenting Page

15.  Get a handle on finances. Raising a family on one income, or relying on an ex-spouse for child support, can be one of the hardest aspects of parenting alone. That’s why it’s important to take steps to budget your money, learn about long-term investments, plan for college and retirement, and, if possible, enhance your earning power by going back to school or getting additional job training.
16. Set up a support system. If you feel your breaking point approaching, you’ve already waited too long. A stress-free parent is a better parent!
17. Maintain a daily routine. Try to schedule meals, chores, bedtimes, and other family functions at regular hours so that your child knows exactly what to expect each day. A consistent routine will help your child feel more secure and help you feel more organized.
18. Abolish “guilt” from your vocabulary, It’s always easy for parents to feel guilty about the time they don’t have or the things they can’t do or provide for their children. But for your own sense of well-being, it’s better to focus on all the things you do accomplish on a daily basis and on all the things you do provide – and don’t forget about all the love, attention, and comfort you’re responsible for! (If you ever question your day-to-day achievements, just make a list.)”
19. Plan on moving as a single parent? Good Call has many great pieces of advice to help you prepare for the before, during and after your move. Check out their tips here.
* Excerpts from Parents.com
The best advice I have ever gotten is simple. Breathe.
Stress and being worried aren’t going to provide you with a better outcome. Patience and persistence are the solution to a more peaceful, beneficial environment for you and your children.

“Worry is worthless. It can’t change the past or control the future. It only spoils the moment.”
― Darrin Patrick

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