Addressing Fear and Stress as a Parent
Part of being a parent includes a constant awareness for our children. We juggle their daily needs and schedules, which can seem ever-changing. We reflect on how we can teach our kids and lead by being a good human. Most importantly, we want to let our children know that they are safe, loved, and supported. In my experience as a mama of three, if I become consumed in the negativity going on in the world around me, fear becomes a block. Fearing what is out of my control can be paralyzing. With news and personal stories available at our fingertips 24/7, we can be well informed. We can also be intentional about not going down the rabbit hole of fearing life. I have found writing, mindfulness practice, and communication to be impactful in my life for managing stress and looking at fear as a parent with a different lens.
Write. Get out of your head. Just put pen to paper and write. It may be a list or a jumble of words that doesn’t even make sense later. Seeing our worries or stressors in a different form and processing through writing can be a stress management tool. We can learn more about ourselves and allow fear to be a teacher for us. We can lean into the discomfort a bit easier when we bring fear out of our mind. What would life look like if we let go of the fear? We can choose to be powerful over our fears.
Mindfulness Practice. In the hustle of the day, mindfulness is essential. This is a practice that can evolve and meet the needs of each individual. Simply put, being mindful is to be aware in the present moment. How often do we connect to ourselves and the present moment? Examples of mindful practice include breathing, body scanning, making a gratitude list, doing nothing and allowing ourselves to just be, noticing our thoughts without judgment, mindful eating, movement meditation, grounding, and pausing to use all our senses. Part of BIRTHFIT’s definition of mindset is to “create space between a stimulus and a response.” By practicing regularly and changing how we choose to be in the present, we will help create space before our responses when life stressors arise.
Communicate. The first communication needs to come from within. Yes, have regular meetings with yourself to address needs of all types. Take the time to do an honest personal scan of mind, body, and soul. We can consider how we are fueling our bodies, and what words we are saying to ourselves. We can also take time to just feel. A self check-in can help us take action, ask for help, and evolve. Without self-awareness how will we, as parents, recognize if our unmet needs are spilling over into how we are parenting or communicating with our children? We are not alone in this parenting gig. All of our stories are different, yet talking with the people in our circle of support including other parents (once we have conversed with ourselves) reminds us we need the connection that comes from communication.
As parents, we all experience fear and stress. We can choose to navigate what comes up for us as an individual and as a parent with a variety of tools. You are not alone and the BIRTHFIT Community always supports you.
Jess Brown, MSWBIRTHFIT Logan @birthfit_logan
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