As we begin to go full force with 2022 in front of us, I hope that your year has started out on a positive note and that any obstacles you have encountered are simple reminders of how resilient you really are. With an ongoing pandemic, and constant suggestions on how to deal with our new norms, there are many reasons we all may be amid a few stressors. One might say taking care of ourselves is a difficult task on its own, but when you add to that, the responsibility of precious little jewels, the bar seems to rise a few notches.

When we become parents, our whole world changes and our thought process evolves to include 10 different scenarios before we give the go ahead for our little ones. There are many times we second, triple and quadruple check ourselves because as parents, we now are responsible for another little human being. Some decisions are endless, exhausting and sometimes strenuous as we strive to make the right choices for our children. Wouldn’t it be great if the doctor handed you a book about your child as you walked out of the hospital? A best seller on your child alone, with all of the answers to the many questions you might have until adulthood. Unfortunately, there is no such luck and we have to rely on our instincts as parents and the ability to do the best we can.

There in comes our added anxiety and stressors for all that could go wrong, for all that might go wrong and for all of the “what if” situations. For all of the new parents out there who might be reaching for a brown bag to inhale and exhale out of, let me just say that it is perfectly normal to feel anxiety over the unfamiliar non-stop decisions you are making for your children. It is ok to question whether you are doing the best for your child or if an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. You will have all of the “firsts” that you will encounter but know that this too shall commence and you will pass with flying colors. Whether you are dropping off your child at school for the first time or experiencing their first play date, know that the anxiety you might feel is expected and very common.

Every parent might experience anxiety in their own way as it doesn’t always appear the same in everyone’s demeanor. Some parents who experience anxiety might actually look very calm and collective on the outside, but be very stressed on the inside. Every situation is different, and as every child may be different, so are parents. Acknowledging that it’s ok to feel the way we do is half the battle. Keep in mind that no one truly has all of the answers and that there are many practices in place to help reduce the anxiety and stress related to Parenting101. Taking slow, deep breaths can often provide immediate relief with anxiety. Proactively solving the issue that gives you anxiety is definitely another strategy. For example, if you are concerned about your toddler falling down the stairs, a staircase safety gate might make you feel better with preventing those accidents.

Remember that you are not alone when it comes to facing these challenges. Encompass yourself with other parents in your circle so that you can discuss similar situations and maybe even vent to one another. No one said this parenting thing would be easy, but it is definitely filled with smiles, laughter and experiences that are second to none. Believe in your abilities as a parent and trust your instincts as we continue to raise kind and respectful leaders.

Stay positive and continue creating memories with your children. Stay safe and healthy.   

Rita Lewis

VP of Education & Training