There’s no doubt about it: parenting can be one of the most rewarding and beautiful experiences in the world. However, on the flip side of all that joy comes a lot of stress, frustration and fear – parenting is a really hard job! When our children struggle, it becomes even harder. However, we as parents tend to put our own needs on the back burner and try to white-knuckle our way through the stress and hard times, hoping to get to our own issues once our children’s are resolved. But here’s a secret: we can strike a balance with our mental health and parenting. 

Parental burnout is real

If you are one of those parents who are feeling overwhelmed, you are in good company. A study carried out in 2022 by Ohio State University found that 66% of working parents feel burned out. Most parents juggle a multitude of responsibilities and worries in all facets of their lives. And, unfortunately, most parents do not have adequate resources to deal with their mental health and parenting. 

The problem is that parents who struggle with mental health issues have children who are affected by these issues. Prioritizing our mental health as parents can also support the mental health of our children.

Mental health and parenting 

Easier said than done, right? We’ve all got lists to check off as we run errands, deal with homework and work at jobs inside and outside of our homes. It would be great to take time out for our own mental health, but that takes time we don’t have, right?

Well, not necessarily. Mental health and parenting can co-exist. Clearly, it must coexist. Here are a few strategies to support your own mental health as a parent:

  1. Check your commitments. It’s okay to say no to that extra after-school class or weekend social event. When our children see us set clear boundaries, they learn how to set their own. This is proactive, healthy parenting.
  2. Get some daily family time. Not everyone has time to sit down to dinner every day with their families. But there should be a point, every single day, where you check in with each loved one and give them undivided attention. It feels great to be connected.
  3. Find a network. Make sure you have people around you who care. If you worry about the ability to be completely honest without being judged, find a support group where you can feel safe to unburden yourself.

Other Parents Like Me is a parent-to-parent support community for families whose children struggle with mental health or substance use issues. Join an online community of caring where you are supported. You don’t have to go through this alone. Reach out today.