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Parent Wellbeing

Written by Billie Pursglove at Billie Rose Therapy

Billie is a BACP accredited counsellor offering private counselling online self-help courses and wellbeing workshops.


Becoming a parent is an exciting new chapter in life but inevitably brings a lot of change.

It can understandably make life feel hectic when you have new responsibilities to incorporate into daily life and an extra person in your world who you have a duty of care for. When life becomes more to juggle, it can feel like the easiest way to free up time is to compromise on self-care. However, this can create a vicious cycle because not making the time to look after yourself causes your overall health and wellbeing to decline. In turn, this makes everyday tasks more difficult, lowers your energy levels and leads to difficulties keeping on top of everything and a sense of overwhelm.

Your wellbeing as a parent is as important now as it was before you entered parenthood, and is as important as your child’s too. So, when looking after you own wellbeing feels like an impossible task, what is important to remember? Fortunately, it’s actually very simple: it’s about focusing on the basics, which needn’t take too much time. And when time feels like a luxury, the following can make it feel achievable.



Retaining your identity

Being a mum or a dad doesn’t redefine your purpose. It is a new role that brings a lot of responsibility, but you are still you! Your role as a parent is a new part of you. You still have the right to do the things you enjoy, whatever your hobbies and interests are. It may take a little more planning and coordination around your children, but it isn’t something you have to feel guilty about. Taking an hour or two out for yourself is so important and will leave you feeling fulfilled and refreshed. Talk to your partner about this; work out together how you can each have the opportunity to take some time to do something you enjoy.


Communicating

Communication is a big part of any relationship, whether there are children involved or not. Being parents can affect communication and can lead to the things you talk about focusing on the practical day to day stuff: who’s doing the school run, who’s making the school lunches or who’s turn it is to do bath time? Remember, we can’t read minds so don’t fall into the trap of thinking your partner knows how you are feeling: tell them and ask one another. I encourage all clients I work with to have a daily check-in with their partner, time that you set aside specifically to talk to one another about your thoughts and feelings. Perhaps this could be when your children have gone to bed or before they wake up. Work out when will be convenient for you both. It is also important to be honest with your partner. You are in relationship to support one another so don’t protect them from how you’re feeling if you’re finding things difficult. A few creative ways to open up include using a traffic light system (red for ‘not good’, amber ‘OK’ and green being ‘good’), giving it a score out of ten or using an animal to describe your emotions.


Believing in yourself

Every mum or dad was a new parent for the first time at some point and it’s understandable to find it difficult, just like anything new. Comparison can lead to low self-esteem and self-doubt. Focus on yourself and your own situation, remembering that the advice others may share with you is their opinion. It doesn’t mean you should question how you’re doing something or make changes to your parenting style. What might have worked for them and their child won’t necessarily work for you. There are many ways to do everything and it’s about finding what fits best for you. In addition, be kind to yourself when times get more difficult or more tiring and, if something doesn’t go to plan or a mistake is made, that’s OK. Everyone makes mistakes but so few talk about them which can make you feel like a failure. When a mistake feels like a challenge, see it as an opportunity to learn.


Seeking support

Lastly, you don’t have to do everything alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or failure. You aren’t invincible and you don’t have to be. The sooner you ask for it, the easier it will be and the less support you will need.




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