How to Stop Yourself From Freaking Out as a Parent
Parenting is never an easy task. In fact, sometimes parenting can be downright stressful. To help ease some of that parenting stress, we’ve got a guest post from Jennifer Mackay, outlining some of the ways to help stop you from freaking out. You can do it!
Numerous studies have shown that parental stress can have a negative affect on the way we interact with our kids, causing us to become more authoritarian, negative, and harsh. How can we control this stress so it doesn't interfere with our families? The job of being a parent is not easy, especially for new moms and dads. It's only natural to worry about whether our kiddos are hitting their developmental milestones and how they will do in school. For some of us, we have to be concerned about how we can afford the costs of raising a family -- and of course, we worry when children get those first illnesses. How can we control our anxious responses to the normal milestones of parenting, so that our anxiety doesn't interfere with parenting itself?
One of the best ways to stave off that new parent anxiety is to get as ready as you can before the baby arrives. Read up on what you will need and how to get prepped. New babies need a lot of stuff, from diapers and clothing to sound machines to help them sleep. Get advice from friends and family who've had babies themselves, and stock the nursery well before the baby comes home. You're probably going to find that at some point during the pregnancy, you'll have the urge to clean and organize, a phase known as nesting.
Take Care of Yourself
It's actually quite healthy for you and can be beneficial for your child as well for you to take rests and take care of your own needs. Just a short break to take a shower and a nap can have a tremendous effect on your well being and mood. It can be difficult to find time, but that's where our support networks come in. If you don't already have a social group of mom and dad friends, it's important to reach out to other parents during this time to build that fabric of support in your life. Other parents can help when you need some time to yourself, and they can offer you advice about the best ways to balance your own needs and your new baby's.
Seek Professional Help
If you're truly feeling overwhelming stress and anxiety toward your new role as a parent, and especially if you feel depressed or unable to care for your baby, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. Obviously, some anxiety is normal for new parents, but if you find that you are severely depressed or having trouble bonding with your baby, it might be time to seek professional assistance from a trained psychotherapist. Just remember that it's not a sign of weakness if you need help.