Irrespective of how much you enjoy parenting, some days will come when you are overwhelmed with what life demands from you, like your family and your job. In those days, you just feel like you should keep going instead of admitting that you might need to reach out to someone for help. You might also be a new parent who is worried that you're not really getting the "parenting" thing, and are scared of asking for help because of embarrassment.
When you're hesitant to ask for help, whether it is for support or just simple advice from other people in your environment, it can build up and negatively affect your relationship with your kids as well as your well-being. A time might come when you realize that you've got no other option than to seek help for the happiness of both your children and yourself.
Why Seeking Help is Important
There are several benefits of seeking help both for you as a parent and your kids. The first thing you need to understand is that seeking help isn't a sign of weakness, and it does not mean you're a bad parent. It is totally normal to feel overwhelmed. Understanding that you need help sometimes and that you do not always have the answers, is an excellent step on the right path.
To get help psychologically, the first thing you need to admit to yourself is that you do not need to struggle through the anxieties you get as a parent alone. You'll benefit from talking to other parents who are in such a situation. If you can, you can normalize your anxieties and fears about parenting by communicating with parents who have been in your position before. If there's no one you can talk to in your area, you should try to look for online parental support groups or even community gatherings.
When you seek help:
- You will be healthier and relaxed, and what this means is that you are better able to look after your kid.
- You'll be a good inspiration for your kids. When your child sees that you're getting support, they will summon the courage to ask for help anytime they're in need of it.
- You show other individuals that they are needed and valued. Many people enjoy being asked for help often, as it makes them feel that they are special to you.
When Should You Ask for Help?
There are people who enjoy taking pride in their competence and independence, and for them, it can be difficult for them to admit that they're in need of occasional help, especially when it comes to their kids. Letting go of a stubborn attitude can be difficult as you believe that you're able to do everything, particularly when you'd like to show your children that you can take care of them all by yourself. And while you refuse to admit to needing help from other parents, either physical or mental support, there'll be an increase in stress.
If you are in a situation where you are a single parent, you'll most likely be juggling your work, children's needs, and other unexpected things. There's a chance that you don't have a family living close that can lend their hand, and you might not even be on good terms with your ex. Even at that, when you continue to do it alone and do not request either emotional or physical assistance, it'll take a toll on your kids and yourself. You shouldn't ignore being very stressed about your situation while parenting, you should rather know when to request help.
How to Get Help as A Parent
All seasoned parents can attest to the fact that you need to know when you are taking on more than your limit. To avoid burnout, we have provided some tips for you, and they include:
- Don't ignore your emotions: When you realize you are exhausted, tear up fast without any reason, have a short temper or mood swings, physical stress symptoms, or general unhappiness, make sure you seek help. Ask your friends and family to help you when they can, and if their help isn't enough, see your doctor.
- Get Introspective: Putting on a facade for other people is one thing, but what you need to ask yourself is if you are happy. Stop for a couple of minutes daily and think about everything. Take your time to listen to your inner voice and feelings, as this can help you find out where you are emotional.
Establishing a Parent Support Network
It is very good to think about the people you can reach out to for help anytime you need it and the type of support you can get from the people around you. To create a support network, here is a list of people we feel you can get support from:
- Your close family members, such as your parents or siblings
- Your partner (for those who have one)
- Professional agencies who provide parenting help
- Local community organizations such as your community support groups, community elders, or even your church
- Close fronds
- Your kid's teacher
More Support Network Choices for Parents
In some situations, you might feel you're not getting as much support as you want. For instance, the people around you are not helpful, your family lives far from you, or you are no longer together with the other parent of your child.
If you feel that the informal support you're getting isn't enough (like support from family and friends), you can seek formal support such as playgroups while building your network.
Below are some ideas you can use to get to know new people and build your support network:
- Become a member of another parents' group at your community center or family health clinic.
- Have conversations with other parents at your local playgroup or the park, play center, or kindergarten.
- If your local library has "parents and babies" sessions for storytelling, go there.
- Register on an online forum where you'll meet other parents to chat.
Try out these ideas regularly, and you'll get a solid support network.