“When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was. Not better, necessarily; not worse, necessarily; but different. – Nora Ephron (writer)
At every stage in parenting there can be moments when you feel overwhelmed. When children are small you may be physically exhausted from the day-to-day needs of your young child. When they are older you worry at times if your child is making friends or if they are doing well in school. As your children reach the teenage years there are so many worries and you have less control. Other concerns may include financial stresses. If you stay home with your children you may feel guilt for not being able to contribute to the families finances. If you work either part or full time there are additional anxieties and responsibilities.
Most importantly as a parent you feel so ultimately responsible. “Is my son or daughter happy?”
If you are feeling overwhelmed as a parent, take some time to discover what could
help. Sometimes it could be as simple as taking better care of yourself.
Exercise, eating well and getting plenty of rest are sometimes the quickest solution to reduce stress. (Notice I didn’t say EASY solutions!) When children are young getting enough sleep is definitely a challenge for parents, so tag team with your spouse or a good friend to allow opportunities for rest. Babysitters can be wonderful as
Another way to take care of your self is to remember what makes you happy. Do you need some time alone, with a good book or a funny TV show? Or would time spent with friends help brighten your day? When my children were little I joined a playgroup with other Mom’s in my town. We all had kids around the same ages and met once a week for many, many years. It was a lifesaver. Even though we now all live in different states, some eighteen years later, we are still good friends. Those ladies and the laughter they provided during those early years gave me just what I needed and kept me sane.
A more recent discovery for happiness (as a slightly older Mom of now teenagers/ college
age children) are books on CD! I love reading but can never find the time. I need to exercise but also struggle to make this happen. Our library has lots of books on CD (or you
can download them onto your smart phone) then put on your workout shoes and
take a long walk while listening to great books! Something so simple has brought great joy these past few years. Each time if feels as though I have taken a mini vacation.
In David Nivens’ book “The 100 Simple Secrets Of Happy Families” he discusses
research on what makes happy families happy. Niven provides short stories with examples on how we can find contentment with regards to parenting. Some of the simple suggestions are; finding a community that fits your family, taking comfort from routines and seeing the big picture whenever possible. For more information on author David Nivens’ books go to http://linux.davidniven.com/books.php
Being overwhelmed happens to all of us at one time or another. Never hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Stress and sadness can lead to depression and talking to others can help remind you that you are not alone.
In many ways parenting is not so different from childhood. Making mistakes and learning from them. Finding what works for you at each stage. Actively working to create a life that brings you contentment and peace.