You heard it growing up all the time: “Being a parent is the hardest job in the world!” By now, you know it’s true. For those of you needing support and fellowship in your parenting journey, there are plenty of shared struggles between you and your parents around the world. Let’s talk about the most common struggles faced by parents both new and old.
It’s normal to feel frustrated or angry towards your extended family, in-laws, spouse, and kids when they’re getting on your nerves. How many stories have you heard about toxic mothers-in-law or awful unsolicited advice from a loved one driving someone to the brink? Your children won’t always be perfect angels, and your spouse won’t always be as supportive as you believe they should be.
When you find yourself at the end of your rope, absolutely fuming, remind yourself that this is a common problem for others. Set the baby down in the crib or leave your child or spouse in the other room before taking a minute to yourself for a deep breath. Chilling out before you re-enter the room to take care of whatever set you off will keep you from saying or doing anything you’ll regret later.
Listening and Obedience
It’s no secret that kids have selective hearing. Getting your child to listen when it’s time to clean up the playroom, get dressed for the day, or even simple day-to-day chores can be a hot point of contention. So, what do you do?
The answer is simple: figure out what works. Sometimes, children need incentives to get chores done like a treat, an extra thirty minutes of playtime, and so on. Other children need praise and recognition for their work or extra instructions and supervision from you if you’re particularly nervous. All-in-all, figure out what makes your child excited to get their work done instead of continually asking (and being ignored).
“One thing we’ve struggled with as parents is getting our kids to do something the first time we ask. Rather than constantly asking and causing tension we have created a solution to help them understand. We now say, for example, ‘in two minutes it’s time to clean up.’ How often do you have to convince yourself to start a new task as a parent when you ‘don’t feel like it?’ Kids are the same; they need preparation and a plan for their next move as well,” says Amanda H.
Being fearful as a parent is probably the most common issue there is. When you have a baby, you feel like you’re driving down a dark road without headlights, especially if you don’t have a support system to help you or have much experience with children. At first, every little thing scares you. Baby’s first cold, first doctor’s visit, first haircut, first bath, teething… all of it is overwhelming, and it’s normal to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing at first.
However, while the responsibility of being a parent is scary, you’re going to grow more confident with time.
Self-doubt goes hand-in-hand with feeling fearful, but it can be very different, too. It’s very normal to worry that you aren’t good enough as a mom or dad.
If you recently had to go back to work after having a baby, you probably are feeling like you aren’t there enough for your baby or spouse. When your toddler has their first meltdown at the grocery store, you’re going to feel completely helpless and maybe think everyone is judging you. That kind of pressure can really bog you down and pull you away from what’s really important: your and your family’s health and happiness.
Many new parents think too far ahead and worry about how what they do now will affect how their children behave when they’re older. The most important thing to remember is that if your child is fed and happy, you’re doing an amazing job. Don’t pay too close attention to what other parents are doing with their children. All you have to do is try your best for yours.
“My biggest struggle as a parent is doubting that I’m doing a good job in teaching my kids to have good values, be respectful, and just be all-around good kids. We aren’t perfect by any means and kids are kids (little sponges) is my daily reminder,” says Hollie P.
Perhaps this is the problem that most parents can relate to. It’s hard to juggle kids, school, work, relationships, housekeeping, and day-to-day craziness. With everything going on, it’s easy to forget to run important errands or feel too tired to do simple tasks. Often, it feels like there simply isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.
Keeping a chores list to delegate out tasks and a weekly schedule can help you and your family manage time best. Having your day broken down into tasks that you can check off a chalkboard, whiteboard, spreadsheet, or paper will show you how much you’ve accomplished. Don’t forget to reward yourself for a job well done and try to include at least 15 minutes of self-care in your daily schedule to round it all out.
With any luck, this list of common problems has helped you see that you’re doing a lot better than you thought at this whole parenting thing. It’s tough to raise a family and keep them on the straight and narrow while also balancing life’s battles. Keep your chin up and try your best each day. You’ve got this!