If you’re a parent, you know parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a lifetime gig, a full-time job, and there will never be a day that goes by that you don’t think about your child and their wellbeing—even when they’re all grown up and out on their own.
The Truth About Parenting Stress
This type of love and concern comes with the territory of a parent. But what about the stress?
What about the sleepless nights when they’re a baby and having to tend to their needs constantly, so much so that even a trip to the restroom feels rushed? What about the terrible twos, messes, temper tantrums, whining, and fights between siblings? What about the back-talk, rebelliousness, arguments, and attitude as they become teenagers?
Being a parent is beautiful and rewarding, but we often don’t talk about the tough side of raising kids. It’s stressful, it’s real, and it’s raw. And it’s all ours to handle.
Studies show that new parents can have a tough time integrating into their new lifestyle as parents. Lack of sleep, intimacy, personal time, and freedom they were used to are replaced with sleepless nights, diaper changes, operating on “baby time” and new stressors around finances, maintaining the relationship, and managing self-care. Taking care of kids is hard work, and it’s easy to put yourself and your health on the back burner while you tend to your kids’ needs. However, this can lead to chronic stress, weight gain, and other mental health issues as a result.
And that’s no good for you or your kids!
Wanting to be there 100% for your kids is a noble desire. You want what’s best for them and understandably will always put them first on your priority list. But, you can’t give from an empty cup, and if you’re chronically stressed, it can actually have a negative effect because you’ll be less capable of tuning into their thoughts, feelings, and needs.
How to Manage Parenting Stress
Stress makes you less attuned to your kids, and they can see and feel it. Instead of sacrificing yourself and your wellbeing for your kids (even though you’ve got the best intentions), take steps to reduce your stress so you can show up better for yourself and for them. That way, you’ll be better equipped to handle any challenge thrown your way and your kids will be able to observe and learn what looks like to healthily manage stress.
Because you’re busy, here are a few easy ways to deal with parenting stress that can be easily incorporated into your daily life:
- Breathe. Take three deep belly breaths whenever you feel overwhelmed. This can be in the car, outside, before lunch, whenever!
- Journal. It can be easy to focus on the negative when you’re in the thick of it. Take a few minutes to jot down everything you’re grateful for as a reminder of everything that’s good.
- Practice visualization. Need a healthy escape? Close your eyes and visualize a relaxing place. Get detailed! What do you see, hear, smell, taste, touch?
- Meditate. Take a few minutes to quiet your mind and relax your body, starting from your toes and moving all the way up to your eyebrows.
If you’d like to learn more ways to practice healthy stress management, my signature course Less Stress Now, is an excellent place to start. It’s full of easy and clinically proven tips and techniques for reducing stress in less than 5 minutes a day!