I love my kids. On most days, I would watch my kids play, pile on top of their dad, and be filled with warmth as I think about how amazing my family is.
But then there are weeks like last week. No matter how careful we are or how many precautions we would take, a virus would hit us. Our kids’ daycare got hit with a series of positive COVID cases and had to shut down for 2 weeks. Then, it started with my eldest, Amaryllis – she caught a stomach bug which caused her to puke her guts out for the whole night. The rest of the family wasn’t spared. My husband, I and my youngest, Seraphina, were affected as well. We were in full-blown quarantine even though it was not COVID. Despite being sick, I still had to take care of my family.
Laundry piled up at the corner of the room and toys were all over the floor. Not to mention the ton of dishes to do. Life does not stop even though I was sick.
I was exhausted and stressed. I needed a break ASAP.
So here’s the thing. Even without sickness plaguing our family, on a daily basis, taking care of my kids is tiring. On top of that, we constantly worry about our kids – are they eating enough? Will they grow up healthy? Will we have enough money to send them to good schools? Are they getting bullied at school? It does not get any easier. How do you cope with parenting stress?
Today, I’m here to talk about parenting stress and some strategies to help you, as a parent, on how to cope with parenting stress. Let’s be real, these issues are never going away. Parents with high stress tend to have a less positive outlook on parenting and have less satisfaction when it comes to parenting. This in turns leads to more negative mood and emotional distress, which can have a negative impact on children.
It is important to manage the frustration and anger so that you can enjoy your parenting journey and maintain a happy and safe home for your kids. I hope you will find the following stress management tips for parents useful.
1. Take good care of yourself
Eat well, sleep well (easier said than done!), and try to exercise whenever you can. Self care is important.
Remind yourself that it’s ok to want a break from your kids
Do not feel guilty at all when you have thoughts about being away from your kids. It doesn’t mean you love them any less. We all need breaks once in a while.
2. Call a friend or talk to other parents
It’s important to have a friend or family member that you can lean on. Chances are, they might be facing the same issues or things that you are anxious about. Simply knowing that you are not alone is important. Share your thoughts and discuss strategies that have worked for them, or just call to vent.
3. Take deep breaths when the going gets rough
You hear this a lot, but does it really work? Breathe. Studies have shown that taking deep breaths can help calm the nervous system and bring your heart rate down.
4. Talk to your partner or spouse
Hey, you are not in this alone! You and your partner share equal responsibilities in this whole parenting thing. It will be good to get your partner on the same page on issues that are worrying you.
5. Find a peaceful spot at home
Sometimes the noise coming from your kids can be overwhelming. I know I can’t hear myself think sometimes when my loud kids are around me. Find a quiet spot at home and explain to your kids that mummy needs a 5-minute break. They will understand that a chill mom is better than a flared-up mom. Meditate in your quiet spot, or just sit there in silence while you gather your thoughts again.
6. Go for a walk
Take off your shoes, walk on grass and breathe in the fresh air outside. Sometimes, all we need is that different sensory activity to bring you back into your own body.
7. Focus on the good feelings
Negativity and unnecessary exposure to bad signals can drag us down. The reverse is also true. We can induce good feelings in us when we surround ourselves with positivity. Seek out something as simple as your kid’s smile or hug your kids when the going gets tough. Think about the happy memories that you have or watch an uplifting movie. All these positive thoughts can slowly nudge our brain away from the negativity and alleviate the stress level.
8. Allow yourself more time to get things done
Believe it or not, but the more time we give ourselves to complete a task, the less stressful we feel about it. Kids are known to slow parents down. For example, it usually took us 10 minutes to get ready and out of the house, but with 2 kids in tow now, it takes us at least twice the time to gather the troops and have everyone out the door. Why impose the unnecessary time pressure on yourself? Budget enough time so that everyone can benefit from adjusted expectations. There is less screaming on your part, and your kids are also happier.
9. Help your children when they need it
Many parents don’t realize this, but by listening to your child and validating their feelings, you are teaching them to better children. This is not easy, especially if you are under a lot of stress, but they will soon realize that “mummy and daddy are here to help me”, and will start to display better behavior. Trust me, this will make your life so much easier! Just the other day, my eldest was throwing a big tantrum. She could not stop crying, and when I asked her what’s wrong, she said “mummy, you are making me cry”. Ohhh, I was about to lose it when she accused me of that, but I just held it all in, consoled her and helped her with whatever she needed to do. When all is said and done, she immediately became her usual self and my sweet little angel is back! My point here is, if you help your child, it will help with your stress level too!
10. Finally, consider getting professional help if you need it
If it comes to a point where you can’t sleep, can’t eat and can’t function, please consider getting some professional help. It is not a shameful thing to admit that you need help.
Always remember, there is no strict formula to follow when it comes to parenting. Do whatever that fits your style. The most important thing is to take care of yourself so that you can raise your kids in a loving home, and make sure they are happy and healthy.
What are some strategies that you have adopted to cope with your parenting stress? Share your comments below!
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