Did you know that even superheroes look to parents for inspiration? That’s how strong you are!
Being a parent is hard going at times and it’s OK to struggle. You weren’t born knowing everything and neither is your child or partner. Facing a struggle will help you to grow as a parent as you adapt new skills and create space for learning. If you, your partner or someone you know is struggling with parenting, we welcome you to read the following advice. Together we can help ease any parenthood struggles and gain insight into how we can help each other.
Embrace The Goodness
By this, we mean try to surround yourself with positivity. You can do this by making time to spend with the people who make you feel good and positive about yourself and life.
Whilst it might not always be easy to spot, goodness and positivity are out there. Mindfulness exercises and positive affirmations are one way you can encourage positivity and embrace goodness. Acts of kindness, gratitude, warmth and care are a great way to appreciate the small things.
Express your feelings, share your thoughts and encourage positive communication. Spending time outdoors is proven to help boost positive feelings and to help you to feel connected with nature. You can intentionally reflect on the things that make you happy for example, with your morning coffee. Remind yourself to embrace the goodness and remember that a cuddle with your family pet and loved ones will always go a long way.
Create a Social Network for Yourself
If you’d like to build supportive relationships with new people, classes and clubs are a great way to do this. You can find online classes and workshops on Facebook, LinkedIn and in the newspaper. It is likely that there are clubs in your local area that you didn’t know existed that may interest you, such as a crochet or walking club. You can also turn to online forums if you’d like to discuss anything parenting related such as MumsNet.
Protect Yourself From Negativity
Especially online! With the increase in social media use today, it’s really important for our mental health that our online platforms reflect positivity. Protect yourself from negativity by removing, muting or unfollowing accounts that don’t bring you joy in some way. Create space and boundaries for yourself so you can thrive without the weight of negativity on your shoulders.
Use Cognitive Empathy
If you find you are struggling due to taking on too much emotion from someone that is close to you, psychologists suggest using cognitive empathy. Cognitive empathy is used as a more cerebral approach to empathy rather than a compassionate approach; where we can ‘feel the pain’ for others too much and cause over-internalization of other’s problems. Use cognitive empathy to visualise the other person’s or your child’s point of view and imagine what could they do to make themselves feel better. It is less draining to use cognitive empathy, it doesn’t increase stress hormones and studies have shown that using cognitive empathy leads to less reactive decisions and good judgement calls.
Sleep and Eat Well
As a parent, you may feel that you’ve given up good sleep and your general wellbeing for one reason or another. Most likely, because you are putting others before you. If you are struggling, it is OK. A way that you can help yourself is to make sure that you are allowing yourself time to rest, hydrate, exercise, eat well and pay attention to your overall wellbeing.
Reach out if you’re feeling unsupported. Friends, family, neighbours or those that care about you might be able to help. If you feel that you don’t have anyone you can speak to, pick up your phone and reach out to a parenting helpline such as Parent’s Helpline or Family Lives. Family Lives offer the option to talk to someone online for support. You are never alone and there are lots more parent helplines out there should you feel you need to speak to someone.
We are here to tell you that it’s OK to struggle as a parent. Try to talk with someone who can relate and share the load. Try not to blame yourself or to make yourself feel guilty in comparison to what you see online. By seeking advice and support you are already working through your struggle - and that is very much an awesome thing for a parent to do.
We hope this blog has reassured you that it’s OK to struggle as a parent and you now have some options to help when you feel that you are struggling. Support is always available.
Related blog: What To Do When “No” Is Your Toddler’s Favourite Word