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Parents Panel: What one thing helps when you feel overwhelmed as a parent?

From venting in the WhatsApp group to taking ten while the kids watch TV.

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AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way.

Cooking to please both adults and kids is no easy task, particularly if you have little ones of varying ages at the table.

It’s all about trial and error, and if you’re lucky you’ll eventually happen upon the goldmine: a meal that all parties will happily gobble up.

This week we’re asking our panel…

What one thing helps when you feel overwhelmed as a parent?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly Source:

I remind myself that me-time will help me to parent better: Even though it comes with its own guilt, I think it’s important to have my own time to decompress, even just some time out to exercise. It enables me to make the most of my time with Charlie (1). If I’m overwhelmed, I can’t enjoy time with him as much or be as fun or as patient as I’d like to be.

- Kait Strickland 

Quiet time at the end of a long day: It’s very hard when you are a single parent because there’s no-one there to reassure you or to back you up when things are difficult. Curling up in bed with a good book at the end of a tough day is lovely after muddling through a tough day.

- Denise Cumiskey

I try to make sure I get enough sleep: When I get overwhelmed I try to look at *why* I am reacting to something as opposed to what I am reacting to. Tiredness levels contribute to my patience limits and coping skills so aiming for a minimum of seven hours sleep a night is a big help. I have also noticed over the years that I get overwhelmed by normal daily life on a cyclical basis, so being aware of my hormones and cycle is a big thing too – I take homeopathic remedies to help with that.

- Trina Dooley

The WhatsApp group is a great outlet: I have a WhatsApp group with fellow mothers and talking to them (or to my husband) really helps. I talk to my own mum too sometimes… but her approach to parenting differs to mine, so I wouldn’t do it all the time.

- Marta Lisiecka 

My other half will remind me to take a break: We all get overwhelmed. I know I don’t always recognise it in myself but it can be obvious to others. Myself and my wife try to recognise it in each other that we may need a break. For me, it can be a case of just heading to a cafe for a coffee and to read a book.  Going outside can be good too – we have a good big garden so our son can play away and I can potter about.

I think the key is to try and recognise it before it gets too big. Then it’s okay to say you need a break. If someone else can look after your child/children for a couple of hours, great. If not, put on a movie or the TV for them and just try to take 20 minutes to sit down and ground yourself.

- Olly Keegan

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More Parents Panel: Readers share the parenting rules they always end up breaking>

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