Tag Archive for: stressed out parents

By Sarah Elrod, LMHC – February 28, 2024

If you are a working parent, whether it’s full or part time, this article is for you. Have you ever just felt so overwhelmed that you couldn’t breathe? Is it difficult to find a minute for yourself each day after taking care of others? Are there days you get off work and just don’t want to talk to anyone or even take care of your kids? Or maybe you’ve had a day where you just want to sit on the couch and binge your favorite Netflix show without being bothered.

If you answered yes to any of these, you are not alone, and I am here to validate you. You are doing an amazing job. For most parents, there are days where we push ourselves to the limit and feel like we have nothing left to give.

In addition to working and taking care of a family, many parents choose to take time for hobbies, workouts or coaching their child’s sports team. Then, when you finally convince yourself to do something you enjoy, you might feel guilty for not spending the spare time you have with your family.

I want you to know is that it is okay to take a break. It is okay to not get everything done in one day. That’s what tomorrow is for. Personally, I am not immune to feeling guilty when I believe I haven’t done enough. It’s a completely normal feeling.

Working as a mental health professional for the past 6 years has taught me that we are all fighting our own battles, no matter how big or small we may think they are. We all have our own ways of adjusting or getting through the hard times. I have come up with some steps to follow during those times to help focus on you.

  1. Acknowledge how you feel. Take at least 30 seconds each day to check in with yourself. Assess how your body is feeling. Pay attention to the thoughts you’re having. Once you have taken the time to focus on yourself for just a moment, move on to the next step. 
  2. Validate yourself. Validate feelings of guilt, anger, sadness, satisfaction or happiness. Per Dictionary.com, the definition of validation is, “recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.”  Give yourself some credit for all that you’re able to accomplish and give yourself grace. 
  3. Identify what soothes you or how you can cope effectively with the stress you are experiencing. A coping skill is a behavior or activity that one might use to decrease stress or manage difficult emotions. So when you’re trying to cook dinner after a long and stressful day, the kids are fighting for your attention and you feel stressed out, a coping skill is your best friend. Some examples of coping skills include listening to music, exercising, smelling a candle, interacting with your pet, hanging out with friends, or deep breathing and meditation. A great resource is Positivepsychology.com, where there’s a long list of coping skills. See what works best for you. The goal is to get to a level of functioning where you don’t feel like you’re going to self-implode. 
  4. Remember that you are capable and strong. If you feel as though taking steps on your own is not working, I highly recommend seeking out a mental health professional so you can talk in a comfortable and supportive environment. Additionally, most employers offer an Employee Assistance Program, where they collaborate with a local mental health facility and offer a designated number of therapy sessions free of charge.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you are not alone. Your feelings are valid and you have the right to take care of yourself along with everyone else. Give yourself permission to focus on you and be the best version of yourself you can be!

By Laura Keys, LCSW – April 15, 2020 –

I have been a parent for more than a couple of decades. I’ve scolded, hugged, corrected, and loved two wonderful boys.

When they were very young their father died from cancer, which left me to sail the ship on my own. In all those years of being a single mom I learned a few lessons that I would like to impart to parents trying to raise their children in the midst of the current pandemic.

If being cooped up in a house or apartment while managing a child’s education, living with the anxiety of a health scare, conducting Zoom meetings while working from home or heading to work under uncertain conditions so you have a paycheck to cover the grocery bill all seems a bit overwhelming…that’s because it is.

I’ve listened to, cried with, and given advice to a lot of very stressed-out parents in the past few weeks. If you are one of them, you are not alone. Despite what your Facebook or Instagram feed may tell you, everyone is struggling.

Positive self-talk and advice from elders got me through parenting two very wonderful, yet imperfect humans in the midst of what some would call hardship. I hope these words of wisdom help you the way they’ve helped me.

  1. TV moms June Cleaver, Carol Brady and Clair Huxtable are fictional parents. So is Peggy Bundy. Scrolling through others’ filtered social media posts can make you feel inadequate as a parent. Remember, the “social media highlight reel” is not exactly a fair representation of a person’s life. Some days you may be Carol Brady and others you’re Peggy Bundy. No one is perfect, so why should you expect to be?
  2. EVERY parent has lost patience with their child. These days I think we are all more aware of how trauma can affect a child. It speaks to the evolving knowledge we have about the developing brain and what we’ve learned about raising our children. I also think, however, that it puts a lot of pressure on parents to do everything perfectly. We can’t raise our children in a bubble. We can’t always be fair or democratic. That certainly doesn’t raise a prepared human. If you mute yourself and snap at your child because they have been whining for 30 minutes while you are trying to finish a phone conference, you have not damaged your child. Beating yourself up over small parenting “fails” only brings your self-worth down; it doesn’t lift your child up. Give yourself a break.
  3. If you don’t get everything done it’s not the end of the world. Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that will happen if I don’t get this done?” If the answer is, “It just won’t get done,” then give yourself permission to let it go. The expectations we put on ourselves are often much higher than the expectations of others. Be honest with yourself about what you are capable of and stick to that. Parents are told they can have it all. While I certainly think we can have careers and families and do both well, it’s okay to acknowledge that we need help sometimes – especially when you’re trying to “have it all” under one roof during a pandemic. 
  4. Lastly, give yourself and your child a little grace. Now is not the time to expect more from them – or from yourself. It’s ok to just get through the day sometimes. If you put your kids in front of a movie so you can get some work done, it’s okay. Watching Disney every day is not going to stop them from getting into a good college.

We mustn’t judge our parenting abilities by what we do to get by during a pandemic. As long as you can laugh with your kids and make them feel loved, the rest will be forgiven, I promise. Take it from a mom who made plenty of mistakes with her children. They are resilient and capable, and as long as they feel loved at the end of the day they will turn out just fine.