When it comes to coping with parenting stress, your best bet is to be proactive. In other words, you know there are going to be times when you get stressed out, so plan ahead for them. If you realize that one thing in particular keeps stressing you out, take steps to fix it. For example, if you keep forgetting about appointments or upcoming events, start keeping a more organized calendar system and writing everything down -- no matter how trivial it seems. Then you'll be able to look at your calendar every night and know exactly what needs to happen the next day.
It's also important to take some time for yourself. Make it a point to take at least 15 minutes of alone time each day, and try to do at least one thing for yourself every day as well. It might feel selfish at first, but it should help to balance some of your stress, and in the long run, that's in your children's best interest. On a similar note, make sure you're getting enough sleep. Structure your day so that you can get to bed at a decent hour. If that seems impossible, try to eliminate or rearrange some things to make it possible. Not only could this lower your stress levels (at least temporarily), but it may help keep you healthy [source: Child Development Institute].
When you do get stressed out, don't take it out on your family, especially your children. It's normal to feel tired or angry every once in awhile. Just take a deep breath and try to relax. If the stress of being a parent starts to feel like too much, try finding a support group in your area. Discussing the issues that are bothering you with other parents who are going through the same things may be helpful [source: Better Health].
Check out the links below for more information on how to deal with the inevitable stress of being a parent.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Better Health Channel. "Parenting - coping with stress." March 2009 (Accessed 01/07/10).http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Parenting_coping_with_stress
- Broadwell, Laura. "10 Ways to Reduce Single-Parent Stress." Parents. 2002 (Accessed 01/07/10).http://www.parents.com/parenting/dynamics/single-parenting/how-to-reduce-single-parent-stress/;jsessionid=KUIMC20JDVPWYCQCEASB42Q?page=1
- Canadian Mental Health Association. "The Stress of Parenting." 2010 (Accessed 01/07/10).http://www.cmha.ca/bins/content_page.asp?cid=2-70-71
- Child Development Institute. "Stress Management For Parents." 2010 (Accessed 01/07/10).http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/parenting/stress.shtml
- Deater-Deckard, Kirby D. "Parenting Stress." Kirby Deater-Deckard, 2004 (Accessed 01/07/10).http://books.google.com/books?id=LzoFNwrt_ycC&dq=parenting+stressprintsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=u4iNDgD3cR&sig=qAiiO2YAngkvqbqY6WvHEobse1w&hl=en&ei=6dFGS4GIHI_uswP_x-X1Dw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CCYQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=&f=false
- DuPage County (Ill.) Health Department. "Parenting Stress." (Accessed 01/07/10).http://www.dupagehealth.org/health_ed/parent_stress.html
- Smith, Melinda, M.A.; Gina Kemp, M.A.; and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. "Laughter is the Best Medicine." Helpguide. May 2009 (Accessed 01/07/10).http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm
- Stress Cure. "Stress Facts." The Health Resource Network, Inc. (Accessed 01/07/10).http://www.stresscure.com/hrn/facts.html