22 Jul 6 ways to cope with stress as a single parent
Being a single parent is the reality of my life and the life of many other parents. Have you like me ever found yourself stressed out? I sometimes lash out at my daughter at every small mishap. I was feeling overwhelmed. I was unhappy. Has that happened to you? I know I had to change my mind set. It was not getting me and my daughter the happiness we deserve. Now we know that all the mommy books and advice we receive before having a family do not add up to the Cinderella story of raising a family. Here are some practical tips from my life experiences as a mother which helps me manage stress.
Step 1: You’re not alone, BE HAPPY:
Some people might be a shamed or never admit to the real stress they face with raising a family. Just know that you are not the only one stressed. Of course it is a blessing to have my family but it can also be stressful most of the time as I juggle work, nurturing them, being the one everyone desponds on always, the bad guy sometimes, the chauffeur, chef, and maid. I am the one that will get up first and the last to go to bed at night. Even with the support of a mate, sometimes I feel it is too much for me. It’s just usually expected of women to wear that parenting hat. I had to find the meaning to everything I was doing. I am not alone, there are so many like me and stress is part of life, but I made the choice to manage my stress. Just the decision to manage stress is very important as I was able to start thinking more solution focused.
Step 2: Bad seasons, not a bad Life! BREATH:
Always remember that you may have a bad day and which may spread into weeks and become a bad season. Bad seasons come with that ‘nothing could go right’ feeling. It’s a bad season and though you are feeling like giving up is the best and the easy way out, just remember: the bad season will go. I stayed grounded and I try to stay strong as God does not give me more then I can handle, right? It is important to “breathe in the positive and breathe out the negative energy.” I try to do this breathing technique for a 1-2 minutes a day or when I feel the stress rising. You can do this while driving, grocery shopping, and at anytime. If your child is having a tantrum try asking them to play a “game–of who can breathe in the most air”, but really, you are calming them too. The stresses of the days can run into each other like a “thin mint”, cookie dealer on the first day of my diet but I keep breathing until the bad season is over.
Step 3: Ask for help, help others:
I realized there’s nothing wrong with asking for help and also offering my time and talent to help others. There is a reason why we are in this world together. Whether from above, a parent, a sibling, and a trusted friend it’s ok to ask for help. Indeed the needs of my child outweighed the needs of my ego. Just know that people aren’t mind readers and they don’t know we need help. They don’t know we barely have enough to feed our family. They don’t know we could come home to find everything turned off or that our children aren’t listening to a word we say. So we have to take the chance and tell them.
It can be hard and tiring but worth it. I prayed, I fasted, I cried, I studied, and I prospered. I realized there’s nothing wrong with asking for help and changing the game plan up.
1. Let the kids go to a sleepover, with a family member or friend.
2. Turn on some music and have a little dance party with them.
3. Load some paints, brushes, waters, sandwiches, paper/canvases, and a sheet to lie on in basket and have a picnic.
4. Let them pick a date night.
5. Have a grownups night.
There might be things, you like better, and I would love to hear them. I’ve found these to be beneficial to me and my child. Children love picnics and knowing they can get dirty. When they’re happy, your children happiness makes you happy and when you’re happy, they’re happy.
Step 4: Weed out the Stress! Focus!
After 12 years of thinking I knew what would make me and my family happy and stress free, I was wrong. I found myself experiencing more stressed as I was worried that I wasn’t fulfilling my dreams, my purpose. I wanted to be in the arts. I wanted to write draw, and make music. But in life you can’t achieve everything you have planned and regrets can weigh you down even more. I had to pull at those weeds by the grace of God, and see what I was running from. I was running from me. How many times during a week or month do you just sit and reflected on what makes you happy? It’s a hard question when you’re a parent because the children come first. The way to weed out the stress is to avoid taking too many responsibilities or always on the move. Focus on what’s important and make time to relax.
Step 5: Have a Hobby, Enjoy little things
What do you do for fun? How do you relax? When was the last time you were singing in the shower or reading a good book? Do you have a hobby or is your life just work, work and more work? It is important to find out from within the source of your stress. Sometimes we cause our stress, mentally as we don’t try to enjoy little things, like smell the flowers, like join a yoga class or a dance lesson. When we have too much on a to-do-list, and not enough time in a day it becomes stressful. It is important that you make out time to stop and focus, to have a hobby, to enjoy little things. Make time to breath and think. Think of the time when you were happiest. What do people compliment you on all the time on? Is it a talent, a purpose, an easy task to you, but amazing task from others views? I’m not saying to quit your job and join a circus, however, hobbies are important.
Step 6: Be Thankful, You are special
The more at peace we can be, the more of an amazing parent we can be. To be at peace I found out that I needed to be thankful, to appreciate that the stresses I face are all part of the package, that life is never stress free. What are some things that make you happy? Can you involve your children? When your children behave in ways you don’t like you can focus your mind on the blessings of having them and on the joy of being the mother that you are so wonderfully made to be. Happiness is linked to service, so being of service to your family should not be a source of stress, teaching the children to be thankful is a wonderful way to keep the happiness candle burning. Is the thought of happiness too far gone for you? Just remember that you’re special. I had a friend once tell me, he used his bathroom breaks sometimes to pray, because that made him happy and stronger. The more thankful you are the less stress you feel as you are busy being thankful.
I know from experience that happiness is truly a state of mind, just as stress is. Arise and shine, take a break, take care of yourself and your family: eat healthy meals, smile, engage with friends and if you find out you need special help, go get it. Chose to enjoy the life you have and share your story with me.
About the Author
Anteneil Brown is an aspiring writer, joy bringer and intuitive Mother, Dental Assistant, Esthetician, and single parent. She’s passionate about creating a loving home for her family. She enjoys cooking, learning new things, and being the rock for others to lean on. Anteneil is a contributor to KachyTV Blog and believes that if we don’t share our experiences as parents with each other, we will never grow from our failures.