Stress caused by those close to you is hard to escape. As they say, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” Children, elderly parents, and visiting relatives all can be sources of stress.
Children bring happiness and fun, but also can be exhausting. Becoming a parent dramatically changes your daily routine and sleep pattern, bringing many new pressures.
Whether you stay at home or work, are single or married, have one child or six, the challenges are enormous. Staying calm and collected all the time is an impossible goal. Small hassles can add up until you are ready to burst.
This stress won’t just disappear, so look for ways in which you can reduce the strain:
- Remember it’s not meant to be easy, but any problems you have will have been overcome by many parents before you. Search them out to use as a sounding board.
- Adjust your priorities, including previous standards of order and neatness. Don’t take on unnecessary duties and responsibilities.
- If you’re doing your best, don’t feel guilty. Every parent gets stressed and is sometimes overwhelmed.
- Accept any help that’s offered. If you can afford it, consider paying someone to help with the cleaning, shopping or laundry, especially at busy times.
- Take advice from people whose opinion you trust, and get specific advice when issues arise.
- Set up a lockable, fireproof filing system for important documents, and use it.
- Take care of yourself. Use stress management techniques and be alert to any symptoms. Take time for relaxation. You will be setting a great example for your children.
- Plan ahead. Get as much as possible ready for the following day, and give yourself extra time to leave the house.
- Anticipate and prepare for problems before they arise.
- Write lists and use a calendar. You can’t be expected to remember everything.
- Keep communicating with your children, and take the time to ease their worries.
Balancing Work and Family
Working and bringing up children often is challenging. During the tough times, remember and focus on why you made this choice. There will inevitably be conflicts between work and family responsibilities, so prepare as much as possible. Build up your support network, emergency funds, and your own energy. Use effective coping strategies and don’t put impossible pressure on yourself. Plan ahead, get help when you need it, and look for creative solutions.