No matter how much you love being a parent, there may come a day when you feel like you’re overwhelmed by the demands of life, your job, and your family, but you feel like you need to soldier through rather than admit you might need to talk to someone about your anxiety. Or perhaps you’re a new parent and you’re worried that you don’t quite have the hang of this “parenting” thing; best just to struggle through and deal with it as well as you can, right?
Yet this inability to ask for help — whether it’s simple advice or support from other parents in your community — can build up to have negative results on both your own well-being and your relationship with your kids. There might come a time that you realize you need to ask for help, for both your own happiness and that of your children.
Knowing When You Need to Ask for Help
For many people who take pride in their independence and competence, it can be tough to admit that they might need help once. When you add children to this equation, the chance that you may need assistance multiplies. It can still be difficult to let go of the stubborn attitude that you can do everything, especially when you want to show your kids that you’re capable of taking care of them by yourself. And once you pile on a refusal to admit to others that you need either mental or physical support, you could be playing with fire.
“Living in a society that prides itself on self-sufficiency, the idea of asking for help can often be daunting. You mean admit that I can’t handle everything that comes my way? Not a chance!” says an article in Psychology Today. “The ability, though, to ask for help can sometimes be life saving and the inability to do so can lead to many unnecessary consequences.”
If you’re in a scenario where you have a single-parent household, you’re very likely juggling the needs of your children, your own work and activities, and anything else that might come up unexpectedly. You might not have any family close by who can lend a hand, and you might not be on the best terms with your former partner. Yet continuing to go it alone and not asking for either physical or emotional assistance could take a toll on both you and your kids. Being overly stressed about your parenting situation isn’t something to ignore – instead, it’s important to know when to ask for help.
The Benefits of Help – and Where to Get It
First, it’s important to know that you’re not weak for asking for help. It doesn’t make you a bad parent, either. Instead, it’s a positive thing to admit that you can’t handle everything yourself, and that maybe you don’t have all the answers.
For psychological help, it’s good to first admit to yourself that you don’t need to struggle through your parental anxieties alone. It can be beneficial to talk to other parents in your area (try looking for community gatherings or even parental support groups online), or even your own parents, if you have the option, communicating with people who’ve been in your position can go a long way towards helping you normalize your own fears and anxieties about parenting.
Also, in a piece from The Successful Parent, it’s suggested that you could turn to pediatricians, teachers, or counselors for assistance with parenting advice. Although the idea of seeking help from a psychiatrist could seem like an extreme measure, the article notes that “it takes strength and insight to seek out help for mental health issues, so make sure to take advantage of this if need be. Counseling is good for everyone, even those who feel they have it all together.”
For physical support, start to look into child care workers, daycare, or even part-time help around the house. “Parent support comes to us from family, friends, babysitters, daycare workers, neighbors, play date groups, parent support groups and anyone who gives us help with basic caretaking responsibilities,” says The Successful Parent. There are many resources available to you when it comes to sharing child care responsibilities, so don’t be afraid to ask for extra help. It doesn’t take away what you’re capable of as a parent; if anything, it will allow you more time and energy to be the best parent you can be.
Asking For Help May Be a Solution
It can be difficult to admit that you’re having trouble being a parent, whether it’s juggling your workload or doubting your abilities to make the right choices. But once you’re able to admit that it’s okay to ask for help — and that there are many people willing to give it — you might find that sharing the physical and emotional load can bring your family closer together.