One quick search on the internet on why parents need support and you find tons of articles on why
From being a first-time parent, special needs parent, teenage parent, single parent, partnered parent, working parent, stay-at-home-parent and the list goes on and on.
And no matter where you are in your parenthood journey, taking care of yourself, getting rest, eating food that sustains you and having the support to lean on can often fall to the side.
When you become a parent it can feel like the weight of raising your children falls solely on you. And I suppose in some ways that is true. But I also believe it doesn’t have to be that way.
When I was going through a custody battle when the boys were younger, I leaned on friends albeit cautiously. Who do you trust in that situation?
When my youngest was diagnosed with his rare genetic disorder, who could I trust to care for him while I get a reprieve, you know parent’s
When he was facing his liver transplants, who again could I lean on because it felt like no one in my circle understood what I was going through.
When my teenager ran away, who could I share the thoughts and feelings going through my head that I wasn’t
When I went to work and my kids were sick who could I call to care for them so that I didn’t have to miss a days pay?
These and many more situations are not only what I’ve faced but many parents, perhaps you, face too. All the time. Every day someone is facing a challenge when being a parent.
Being a parent is not a burden. It’s not something I regret. And I can’t speak for everyone, but there have been joyful, sweet and funny moments in the journey of being a parent.
I am often awestruck that I made it through with the kids in some not so pleasant situations and the neat little, or rather big people they’ve turned out to be.
But I’m grateful that during various times of maneuvering being a parent that I had support.
So if you find yourself having little support, it’s time to change that.
Be open and honest with your current circle of friends. Tell them how you feel, invite them in, allow them to support you. Start having open and honest conversations, and if they happen to be parents too, I’ll bet you will find that you’re not alone.
And if that seems impossible then:
You can find support groups in your community.
Check out mental health organizations or go on meet-up.
You can find groups closed Facebook groups pending your needs.
You can find play dates at the park, or reading events at the library.
And then go and find yourself in activities that do not include your children. You’re not just a mother or a father. You’re also an individual with interests and needs.
Whether you enjoy dancing, writing, hiking, creating art, there’s a community out there waiting for you to join them.
Don’t feel like you have to do this alone. And don’t think for a moment that you’re alone with your thoughts and feelings and that you’re the only one that doesn’t have it all together. I promise that when you open the dialogue you will find that you’re definitely not alone. And I suspect you are going to deepen your friendships even more.