Helping parents & caregivers design their own handbook for raising amazing kids.


Navigating the Storm: Mental Health Struggles Parents Face Today

By Emily Mall

Posted on October 9, 2023

Kid looking up at adult with distressed graphics behind them
Kid looking up at adult with distressed graphics behind them
Kid looking up at adult with distressed graphics behind them

Parenting and caregiving is a rewarding journey filled with love, joy, and cherished moments. However, we often dismiss or tend to breeze over the tough or negative parts of this important job. Parenthood comes with its fair share of challenges, and in today's world, many of us find ourselves struggling not just with balancing it all, but also with our mental health. If you are currently in a tough season, know that you aren’t alone!

As with all the changes we experience in life, our ability to adapt and learn from our new experiences can determine the outcome. The more we can work through the emotions and challenges listed below, the better we can enjoy our roles as caregivers.

Overwhelm and Stress

Parenting can be incredibly stressful. Juggling work, household responsibilities, a social life, and the physical and emotional needs of children can leave caregivers feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. It’s a lot! Despite the media and social platforms depicting happy, amazing family units, it’s not always sunshine, rainbows, and smiles.

Strategy: Prioritize self-care, set boundaries, and consider seeking professional support to manage stress effectively. Sometimes, the perfect family photo just isn’t worth it!

Isolation and Loneliness

The demands of parenting often limit social interactions, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially for stay-at-home parents. Raising kids can create monumental changes in your economic status, friend circle, and energy. Sometimes it’s just easier, cheaper, and more relaxing to stay home. 

Strategy: Connect with other parents through support groups or online communities. Reach out to friends and family for social support. Make sure you are taking care of yourself by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep! This goes a long way in your overall energy level, thus enabling your desire to make the extra effort to socialize and/or make new friends.

Anxiety and Worry

Concerns about children's well-being, their future, and the challenges they may face can trigger anxiety and constant worrying. It may even creep into feelings about your own worthiness as a parent. These feelings might be something you have struggled with before, but after having kids, the feelings could intensify and feel out of control. We’re often surprised by unknown childhood wounds that get triggered as we consider the way we parent and the way we were parented. 

Strategy: Take care of yourself by making yourself a priority in order to take care of someone else (you’ve heard the analogy: “put your airplane oxygen mask on first before helping someone else”). Yes, you are allowed to do this, and no, it doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. Good caregivers take care of their own needs first, and are then able to be in a better place to care for others. You can’t fill someone else’s bucket if your own bucket isn’t full! Practice mindfulness, focus on the present moment, and seek therapy or counseling for anxiety management.

Depression and Guilt

Parental depression can be triggered by sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, new lifestyle changes, or the weight of parental burdens and responsibilities. Feelings of guilt often accompany these struggles. The days are long, and sometimes the nights are, too!

With every period of exhaustion comes a period of depression. 

Strategy: Seek professional help for depression if it becomes a problem or unmanageable. Lean on a support system, make the extra-effort to make sure to get enough rest, and remind yourself that self-compassion is essential.

You got this. Just reading this article is already an indicator that you are doing a GREAT JOB. You are here because you care. A LOT.  Add it to the list of ways you are already doing a great job as a caregiver!. 

Parenthood and caregiving is a journey filled with ups and downs, and it's essential for us to recognize, normalize, and address our mental health struggles. By acknowledging these challenges, seeking support, and practicing self-care, we can not only safeguard our mental well-being, but also nurture healthy and fulfilling relationships with our children. 

Let’s give ourselves oceans of grace as we do this hard, important work of raising amazing people, and remember that it's okay to ask for help and prioritize our mental health; doing so makes us better parents and role models for the next generation. Together, we can create a healthier, more empathetic, and resilient family environment where everyone's mental health is valued and cared for.

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Helping parents & caregivers design their own handbook for raising amazing kids.

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Helping parents & caregivers design their own handbook for raising amazing kids.

© 2023–2024 Great job. All rights reserved.