Being a parent is a full-time job. In fact, it is a number of different full-time jobs. You are called upon to look after so many different aspects of your children’s lives that it is no wonder busy mums and dads are always searching for how to cope with parenting stress.
During a typical day, you are a chef, attending to at least one meal but sometimes three meals plus snacks. You’re a butler, organising your children’s lives, a cleaner trying to reorganise the chaos, a nurse to attend to their ailments and a judge to preside over disputes. You take on the roles of a taxi driver and party planner, as well as collaborator, helping their dreams to come true, and teacher feeding their curiosity.
In the list of stressful jobs, it beats being a lawyer, pilot, doctor and the rest. But the pay is not only worse but actually non-existent. And the holidays are a figment of the imagination too. You have to be on call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It can take its toll. So, you want to know how to cope with parenting stress? This article explores this question and offers practical advice to help.
The reason parenting is so stressful is that it is such a responsibility. You are charged with moulding these tiny people into the best humans they can be. But there is no instruction book and it is easy to pay attention to those who warn you how easy it is to get it wrong. And these people play into the fears you already have.
We all worry about getting it wrong. About doing something that will damage these beautiful beings, about not being the best parent we can be. And we will all get some things wrong. It happens. We’re human. But as long as you have good intentions that is the base you need to be that positive influence they need in their lives.
The relentless nature of parenting is another aspect that makes it stressful. You spend all day either looking after them or thinking about how you will feed, clothe, transport them or any of the other 1,001 considerations you have to make.
And when you’re not planning, you’re worrying. It never stops. It is easy to feel consumed by parenting and that increases stress levels considerably.
Communication is key to coping with parenting stress. Whether it is with your child or with others, talking is important.
Letting your children know what is expected of them helps them to understand their responsibilities. So many parents complain about the behaviour of their kids, but they haven’t actually outlined their boundaries so how would they know? Children are experiencing many things for the first time, so let them know how it should work.
And don’t worry about them not understanding. Kids are smart. Even at a young age, they pick up on what you say and get the gist of what you mean. Communicate with them and life can be more smooth.
Communication and consistency with your support network are important too. If you are struggling, ask for help. Talking helps and they might be able to take some of the load from your shoulders.
You might spend all day with your children, but are you present? Get down to their level and play, chat and laugh with them. Give them your undivided attention and let yourself enjoy the wonder of being a child again.
We can all be distracted by work, household chores, our phones and more, but giving your child that time to spend with you at the moment is invaluable for creating a strong bond.
In addition to building connections with your children, you should work on the connections with your partner, if you have one. Parenting is much easier if you can work as a team to back each other up and relieve the other when they need it. It takes an understanding between you to work, so talk about what you want and how you want to achieve it.
Then, be there for each other. Give each other that undivided attention too. Put the phones down and really talk without distractions.
For more advice on how to cope with parenting stress, book a free discovery call and call on my many years of experience in bringing parents and children together. I will listen to your primary concerns and discuss things you may be struggling with as a parent. This is an opportunity to ask questions and for me to establish exactly how I can support you on this journey.