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Who looks after the parent?

Updated: May 1

Sometimes being a parent can be hard.

Psychologist Dr Rick Hansen says ‘Based on cortisol* levels, parenting is more stressful than most paid jobs’

This May, with maternal mental health awareness week and mental health awareness week, we want people to be #ParentAware. Parenting is an underrated job, yet it is the most important job you will ever do. It is one of the hardest jobs, yet nobody pays us to do it. It is life-changing and yet life goes on. 

Parents need support, in years past we would have had family and communities physically living around us to help us do this. Now a lot of parents are trying to do it on their own, often sleep deprived and often working and balancing other responsibilities too. We haven’t necessarily got the support and resources that can help us do it.  

This can be more difficult for parents who face existing stress such as poverty or abusive relationships or for parents who have faced difficulties related to having a baby such as fertility problems, illness in pregnancy, birth trauma or premature birth.

When you have a baby life changes, with the challenges (and the amazing bits) of looking after your little one, sometimes we can feel like we don’t even know who we are anymore. It can feel like you are ‘losing yourself’ and it can also feel like you are ‘finding yourself’.

At Close-Knit we are passionate about helping parents to take care of themselves so that they can take care of their little ones.

We like to think of it like how on an aeroplane in case of emergency we are instructed to put on our own oxygen masks before putting on anyone else’s.

The same goes for parenting, you need to be getting what you need, to help your baby get what they need.

When you are looking after a small human 24/7 taking time for yourself is certainly easier said than done, sometimes you are lucky if you remember to feed yourself let alone do something for yourself.

So how can you do something for you, and what could it be?

Well, first of all, it doesn’t need to be a big thing, just something little and manageable that helps you rest or helps you have fun.

Sometimes when we spend so much time looking after someone else, we can find it hard to remember things that we enjoy.

Small things can help with this like voice noting a friend with a funny memory, reading a few pages of an old favourite book or putting on some nostalgic tunes and having a good old dance.

Finding little ways to incorporate things you have found fun in your life can boost your mood and help you feel more like you again, check out our parent well-being video which we made with parents for more tips on how you can take care of yourself. Watch video here

It’s ok to find parenting hard and sometimes we need specific support to help us cope. It is important to ask for help, check out our ‘Your Support’ page for information on where you can get support. Click here for support.

If you are a parent reading this, what is something that you have enjoyed in the past that you can do today?

And if you know a parent, what small thing could you do to support them?

*Cortisol is also known as ‘the stress hormone’

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more tips and information -@close.knit.families  and sign up to our mailing list for more updates, blogs and resources from the Close-Knit team

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