If you’re listening during a flight attendant’s safety instructions, you’ll likely hear the phrase, “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” That works in an emergency situation, but it’s hard in day-to-day life to put your needs above others’, especially the ones that you love. Without taking time for yourself and taking care of yourself, it can become hard to enjoy the special moments that happen day to day. You can't expect to eliminate stress entirely from your life, but there are ways to build resilience so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Being able to navigate and cope with challenges as a parent is considered a protective factor, and the more protective factors a family has, the more likely the home will be a safe, loving environment. All parents want to give their children a great childhood, but it is so easy to let stress take control and influence your actions and reactions. There are several ways to combat those overwhelming feelings.
Caregivers need a few things to remain happy, healthy, and passionate to care for the ones they love. Parenting is hard, and no one should be expected to do it alone. Establishing a solid support system is a good first step in building resilience. It is important to have someone you can turn to in a time of need or for a chat, like a friend, a neighbor, a family member, or even a support group. Asking for and accepting help that is offered can give you the chance to check in with yourself and identify your needs. Second, set aside time to spend unplugged with loved ones, creating space for having intentional conversations and making special memories. If you are feeling like your stress is unmanageable, you may need to seek outside help. Support groups, clergy, counselors, and other medical professionals can be great resources for support and guidance through stressful times.
Showing a little care and attention to yourself isn't a bad or selfish thing. A healthy parent helps create a strong family, and gives you the capacity to enjoy life's many moments. We believe that parents sometimes need a little help. Parents can find social support through the Parent Leadership Initiative. Parent leaders host Community Cafes to bring parents together in the community to develop leadership skills and advocate and “be the voice” to speak on behalf of their own children and other’s families. In-home support is also offered through the Healthy Families Tennessee and Nurturing Parenting program.