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Parenting Guide Sheets
10. Looking After Yourself

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Page 10A
Introducing this Page
The purpose of this page is to step aside for a moment from the matter of your child to the matter of you. In this page we consider why parenting is sometimes stressful and then various things we can do to cope.
Again the style of this page will be short paragraph or ‘bullet-point' style to separate out individual things for you to think about with plenty of white space around to make it easy to read. Each individual bit needs thinking about.
Most of the things on this page are more likely to apply to the mother at home, yet fathers also need to be aware of these things, especially house-fathers.
1. Why is Parenting Stressful?
a) You are an imperfect human being
b) Your child is an imperfect child
c) You've never walked this path before
d) Life is sometimes just difficult
e) Homemaker mothers have unique difficulties
2. Handling Stress
a) Things I can do on my own in the short-term
b) Things I can do with help
c) Long-term more general issues
d) Breaking into the Stress
3. Planning as a way of heading off stress
a) Take a course of positively thinking about yourself
b) Decide to positively work through some of the things on this site about parenting
c) Start to plan days so you control what happens rather than have to react to crises.
4. Recap
1. Why is Parenting Stressful?
There are some very simple and obvious reasons why parenting is sometimes stressful and you need to be aware of them if you are to prepare yourself as much as you can to counter them. The following are the basic, primary ones:
a) You are an imperfect human being
· On a good day you can have good resolves – but every day isn't necessarily a good day!
· You get tired, ill, stressed by circumstances.
· Your resources run low
b) Your child is an imperfect child
· On a good day they can be wonderful – but every day isn't necessarily a good day
· They get tired, cranky and stressed by life.
· Their resources run low
c) You've never walked this path before
· It starts from the moment you come home with the new baby!
· Every year your child is a year older and will have changed.
· Different ages bring different abilities – and problems
d) Life is just sometimes difficult  
· ill-health bringing worries and weariness
· accidents / infirmities doing the same
· promotion at work placing additional burdens on you
· things going wrong that bring questions over your judgment
· financial difficulties arising
· the arrival of your first and subsequent children
· inability to have children
· death of a loved one
· aging
· just the general stresses of life.
e) Homemaker Mothers have unique difficulties  
· Mothers who decide to stay at home caring for their children, especially in the early years face particular difficulties – because you are alone with your child
· Once your child cuts back on daytime sleep, in the period before they go off to nursery- playschool, you are their primary company and vice-versa.
· If they are ill the main burden of nursing falls on you, etc.
For all these reasons there WILL come times when, as a parent, you will feel under severe pressure. What follows should, hopefully, help you in those times.

2. Handling Stress
It would be nice to think that we could be so in control that we avoid all stress, but as we've indicated above there will be things that cause us stress and so the following are ways we can deal with this:
i) Things I can do on my own in the short term
a) Breathe deeply
    Sitting down and breathing deeply and slowly for half a minute will calm your mind and your body
b) Put on some calming and soothing music and sit still for five minutes
    If you have longer take longer. You can buy CDs of the sound over waves on a beach – a good ‘white sound' alternative.
c) Sit in front of a log fire or a tropical fish tank (if you have either)
     Watching flames or the movement of fish are both very calming
d) Change your thinking by talking out loud positively to yourself  
   “This is OK, I can handle this!”  
    “I'm in control, I will do this.”  
e) Change your thinking by turning a negative into a positive (see also P.9 part 2)  
   Think how you can turn a trying situation into a learning situation.  
    Look at the situation as a challenge and not a difficulty.  
f) Be Prepared  
  If there is a regular situation that causes you stress, consider beforehand alternative ways of dealing with it, possible ways of heading it off before it becomes a stress
g) Have a hot bath with lots of bubbles  
   Pamper yourself in the time you have
Continue to Part 2 of this Page

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