Being a parent can be stressful. Once we become parents, we need to constantly stay vigilant and prioritize our children. All parents go through similar experiences. No matter how much we love our children, it can still mount to more stress than we can handle sometimes.
What can we do to make sure we’re not building stress while we’re taking care of our little ones?
Common Struggles Among Parents
Researchers asked 312 mothers about stressful aspects in caring for infants. Among the top were:
- General worries of parenting
- Concerns for the children’s environment
- Loss of identity
The pressure the parents feel to raise children can manifest as overwhelming stress. There’s a lot of confusion, especially when taking care of a first-born child.
A former babysitter once said, “When the child is born, a mother is born.” Everyone is a beginner when they start off. We, ourselves, learn through the process of interacting with our children and experience growth together.
As for the concerns for the child’s upbringing environment, much of this has to do with family support, financial situation, and safety. It is vital to form a community network within neighborhoods so that everyone can look out for each other.
Loss of identity is a very real matter for a parent that commits their time to care for a child full-time. Time away from work can make it seem like they’re being left behind by society and some may even have concerns about returning or finding new work after a gap. On the other hand, some feel like they are suddenly seen only as a parent and nothing more. This can cause an illusion as if they’re no longer needed or less of a part of society.
Given the increase in nuclear family households and decrease in general community networks, a parent can easily feel isolated from society nowadays. Some neighborhoods need immediate attention and improvement in their community for families to thrive.
3 Ways to Relieve Parental Stress
1. Seek Support from Someone Close
A survey asked 400 mothers of infants “who they sought support from” and the number one person was the father. Friends and family followed, but the least sought out were experts and government support. Sure, it’s far more assuring to get support from close friends and family, as opposed to experts and government workers that we don’t personally know. In that sense, the support of our parenting partner (whom we’re most close to) is essential.
Partners need to take on a supportive role where the other can ask for help when necessary. The quality of support means a lot for the person who shoulders most of the parental duties.
2. Seek Support from Different Places
Other than family and friends, some seek support from their child’s teachers or the internet. For example, some issues may resolve more productively when we speak to a teacher that understands our child’s behavior and needs at school.
As for the internet, many connect with parental networks online to seek support these days. When the child is still young, it’s easier to feel lonely without the presence of a friend or a partner. On the web, many parents share similar struggles and information to learn about better parenting. In this sense, the internet is an effective means of support.
3. Stress Relief Through Self-Help
Many parents try to brush off their parental stress factors. Make a decision: stop fearing about whether you could go back to work or not, sleep your worries off, or ask family members to babysit for a while to take a break.
This may feel as if you’re compromising, but sometimes the best way to get rid of stress is to not think about it. If you have no one to rely on or feel uncomfortable seeking support, the best way to resolve it may be to shake it off and move on. Learning self-help and coping skills are an excellent way to relieve stress.
Relieve Stress Before It Gets Too Big
Children require constant care and attention until they’re capable of taking care of themselves. We want to solve things right away if a problematic situation occurs, but it’s not always easy. Try not to feel responsible about every single thing and learn to let things go from time to time.
If you feel the need to talk to someone, you can always reach out for support. Concerns over our child, the struggles we feel, and the need to vent are all relevant. Sometimes, just talking to someone can lead to a huge relief.
Relieving stress is more important than trying to solve an issue 100%. Hopefully, we can learn how to better deal with parental stress so that we can live a life full of laughter with our family.
Kusano, E., & Ono, M. (2010). Influence of Child care-related Stress Associated with Social Factors on Mother’s Mental Health. The Journal of Child Health, 69(1), 53–62. https://www.jschild.med-all.net/Contents/private/cx3child/2010/006901/009/0053-0062.pdf
Shimizu, Y. (2007). A Mother’s Parental Stress : Support, Resolution, Reality, and It’s Relationship. The Journal of Child Health, 66(1), 54–60. https://www.jschild.med-all.net/Contents/private/cx3child/2007/006601/009/0054-0060.pdf