It’s common to hit hurdles at every stage of parenting that can be discouraging, whether that be dealing with exhaustion and parent shaming, or the tantrums of toddlerhood and arguing siblings.
In the middle of the chaotic times, it’s important to have a support system in place of fellow parents you can count on. This will allow you to lift one another up and encourage each other when parenthood gets rough.
Here are some ways you can be there for one another:
Exchange babysitting hours
If you know a mom or dad who could use some time off for a date night with their spouse or just a day of self care, offer to exchange babysitting hours with them. That way, you will both get a much-needed break and feel re-energized when you reunite with your children.
Use the time to do things you love. Watch a movie, get a massage, write, paint, or exercise. Just do things that make you happy, and help you relax and leave the stress of daily life behind.
This can be good for your well-being and that of your fellow parents, as it gives you both an opportunity to feel refreshed and ready to take on anything life brings your way.
Listen to one another’s concerns
Make time to listen to the concerns of your parent friends, so they, in turn, will do the same for you. This can be during a playdate, by phone or just whenever your friend needs someone to listen. You will know from experience how to handle different situations in parenting, and be able to give advice based on it.
It’s also refreshing to hear when someone else has gone through the same things in parenthood, and listen to how they got through it — from teaching babies to walk or talk, or tackling potty training and helping older kids with challenges in school or daycare. This will ensure that you never feel alone, and have someone to turn to when you need to talk.
Share the parenting qualities you admire about one another
Let the parents in your support system know the parenting qualities you admire about them every once in a while. If you like the way they do certain things for their kids, let them know. You never know if this is something they may be insecure about, and you just gave them the confidence boost they needed.
But most importantly — whether they breastfeed or bottle-feed, cloth diaper or use disposable diapers, baby wear or use a stroller — let them know they are good parents.
There’s no single way to parent. Everyone has different methods that work for their families. But when the going gets tough, we are all in this parenting journey together.