It’s time to stop trying to be a perfect parent

By Regence
May 02, 2023
Parenting stress MHM

Are you a stressed parent? Here’s what you can do.

Just like a roller coaster, parenting can be full of highs, lows and unexpected surprises. From watching your toddler’s first steps to seeing them graduate high school, parenting can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. And yet, the constant demands of raising children, combined with the pressures of work, money and life in general can leave many parents feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

Taking measures to prevent unnecessary stress is crucial to keeping a sense of balance and perspective. A recent article in Psychology Today notes, parents’ anxiety and household stress have been linked to their children’s emotional problems, including behavior issues, aggression, anxiety and depression. While parents won't always be able to stop their own stress from affecting their kids, there are ways to reduce stress and help parents cope with daily demands.

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Take care of yourself

One of the most important things parents can do to manage stress is to take time for self-care. This means getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. It's easy to neglect self-care when you're keeping up with after-school activities, but it's essential to prioritize health. When parents take care of themselves, they’re better equipped to handle family demands.

Right-size your standards

It’s time to stop trying to be a perfect parent. Many parents can feel pressure from family, friends and social media to meet every demand from breakfast to bedtime. This pressure can be particularly intense for new parents who may feel like they’re being constantly judged by others. It’s okay to let the housework wait. Being “perfect” should never be the goal. Focus on what you’re doing right.

Budget your time

Time pressure is a universal stressor, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Establishing a routine can help parents manage time more efficiently. Creating a schedule for each day allows parents to identify the most important tasks and tackle those first. This can help reduce stress and ensure certain responsibilities are met. Know that unexpected events can disrupt even the most carefully planned schedule. Be prepared to adjust plans as need and reprioritize what is most important.

Reach out to others

Seeking support from others can also be a helpful strategy for managing stress. Having someone to listen and provide guidance can help you manage feelings of stress and anxiety. Imagine sitting down with a close friend or family member and sharing your feelings of stress and overwhelm. They listen attentively and offer words of support and encouragement, leaving you feeling understood and less alone.

Seek professional help

Any parent who is worried about uncontrollable stressors, such as a divorce or sick family member, may consider seeking help from their doctor, a psychologist or a psychiatrist. If stress and anxiety are getting in the way of daily activities, it’s essential to pause and prioritize emotional well-being.

We’re here to help

If you or your loved one needs emotional support or mental health care, we can help you find the behavioral health care option that fits your needs. Most of our health plans offer virtual mental health treatment options from providers such as AbleTo Therapy+, Doctor on Demand, Talkspace, Charlie Health and more. No referral is needed – you can visit the provider website and fill out their intake form for an appointment.

In addition to the broad range of traditional and virtual mental health providers, most Regence members have access to specialized behavioral health care for those seeking help for eating disorders (Equip) and obsessive-compulsive disorders (nOCD). 

Regence also offers access to traditional and virtual substance use disorder treatment providers such as Boulder Care, Eleanor Health (WA only) and Hazelden Betty Ford. If your employer has an employee assistance program (EAP), your use of the program is confidential and at low or no cost. 

We encourage you to visit these providers’ websites or call our customer service team at the number listed on your member ID card to verify which virtual care and traditional behavioral health options are available through your health plan.

Remember 988 – the new National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors who will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if needed.