Chantal Hofstee, a clinical psychologist and author of Renew Your Mind, says modern mums are doing it a lot tougher than they were a few decades ago.
“Most mums are working a part-time or full-time job plus research shows they still do the majority of the housework and childcare. Plus the support network of stay-at-home mums that used to be an integral part of raising kids together as a community is no longer there," she says.
“We might not be able to eliminate stress but we can learn how to manage stress better so it doesn't impact us and our parenting so strongly,” she adds. Here are six tips to help ease the squeeze.
1 Make your partner a partner. “If the balance isn't working talk about it and find a better way together,” Chantal says. Communication is key.
2 Ditch the perfectionism. “On days that my husband has the kids, he counts it as a successful day when they are alive and fed by the end of the day even if they are in bed in their clothes, the dishes haven't been done and he let them watch a cartoon so he could cook dinner,” Chantal says. “By being more realistic and less perfectionistic you can stay positive, energetic and in a good mood which will make you a better, less stressed parent.”
3 Make time for a cuppa and relax. The dishes can wait another five minutes. Make the kids a hot chocolate and have a little tea party.
4 Stop checking social media. “Put your phone away when you are with the kids, checking your phone a lot will increase stress,” Chantal says. Hard to do, but worth it. Maybe allocate a time to check social media, like relaxing on the couch for an hour when the kids have gone to bed.
5 Make time for exercise. “Even if it is a run around the block,” Chantal says. ”It has been proven that regular exercise reduces stress. Most mornings I get up early and go for a short morning run during which I practice mindfulness, gratitude and set 1-3 clear intentions for the day."
6 Be consistent with your kids. “Have clear rules and consequences that don't depend on your mood or stress levels. This predictability will reduce stress for both you and your children.”
Renew your Mind is available from Exisle Publishing.
Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.