We know that children are a blessing from God, but that doesn’t make the day-to-day life of parenting any easier. Parenting can feel like the loneliest job in the world, and not just for single parents. Moms and dads can face feelings of isolation for many reasons, including geography, lack of financial resources, a partner’s work schedule, fatigue, and a lack of opportunities to connect with people experiencing similar stages of parenting. Those with younger children may feel like others have “moved on,” leaving them in the dust with diapers, nap schedules, and a shortage of engaging adult conversations.
Although isolation is often a normal part of parenting, it does not have to wholly define your experience. Here are a few ways you can take the initiative to bring some sparks of connection and joy into your daily life, which will benefit not only you, but your kids.
Even if you’re feeling especially lonely, you can probably think back on a time when someone said, “If you ever need anything, call me.” Take them up on it! Some people would love to hold a baby for an hour while you get your hair cut or share their cooking talents by bringing over some homemade soup. Our culture teaches us to say, “It’s okay; I’m fine.” But what if you aren’t? And what if the people reaching out to you need to serve as much as you need to be served?
One day your children will be out of the house, a thought which may make you feel happy or sad, depending on the day! What interests and talents will define you then? How will you spend your time? If you can’t think of an answer, that’s a sign that you’ve neglected nurturing your own identity. Often parents feel guilty when they devote time to their own interests, but in doing so, you not only bring satisfaction to your own life, but model creativity and drive to your children. You shouldn’t have to wait to be an empty nester to spend time doing things you enjoy.
As much as we all love pajamas and yoga pants, spending too much time in them can actually have a soporific effect. Sometimes, throwing on a scarf or pair of earrings is enough to give you that surge of energy you need to go out to a park, grocery store, or kid-friendly eating spot and feel more connected to the world around you. By attending programs at the local library, bookstore, church, or community center, you and your kids may even make some friends you can meet for future play dates.
When Jesus left the earth, he promised a faithful companion—the Holy Spirit. While sometimes the noise, fatigue, and just plain mess of parenting can make it hard to feel God’s presence, we can take comfort in the fact that He is with us and will never forsake us, even when a toddler is lying on the floor screaming. Joining with other parents in Christian community, whether on Sunday morning or during a midweek ministry activity, can help you feel less alone as you express your fears, doubts, and victories to one another and recognize the Spirit’s work.
No matter what parenting phase you’re in, you don’t have to go it alone. At Main Street United Methodist we stand ready to welcome you with grace and hospitality. To learn more about who we are, visit our site>>.« Back to Blog