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What did you think parenting would be like BEFORE you had children? Did you think it would be sleepless nights for a few months, that you would be able to take turns with your partner and that you would feel love like you have never felt before?

You may have heard of Post Natal Depression but you figured that it’s not something that you or your partner would experience. You figured everything would be rosy.

It’s tough being a parent, and it’s not a topic that is really discussed. It’s a new chapter in your life and you don’t really know how it’s going to go.

Something else that is rarely discussed is the support options that are available for parents. Helplines for mental illness are often discussed on radio and TV but parents aren’t made available of the support that is available for them when they are raising their little ones.

If you are based in Queensland or the Northern Territory in Australia, you have access to a fantastic service called Parentline. Parentline offers free confidential phone and WebChat counseling and support for parents and carers of children in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Parentline can be a safety-net for families by providing support when it’s most needed including after hours, weekends, where families may feel isolated and local services are unavailable. If all counselors are busy on calls parents are given the option to leave a voice message and a counselor will call back. 

Their website provides information from pregnancy and babies, preschoolers, kids, older kids and parents, and carers. Our lives and the world are often unpredictable and it helps to know that there is support there when we are going through tough periods in our lives.

The Raising Children Network is another Australian Parenting website. Although it is an Australian website, the information is still relevant if you are in another country. Not only do they provide information relevant to different ages of children but they also provide advice on grown-ups, autism, disability, and an A to Z health reference. They provide mental health resources where you can get material about child, teenage, and parent mental health and wellbeing.

Mental health and wellbeing is a valuable topic for parents to have access to. There is a fantastic resource on the website called ‘The First 1000 days’. Those days are probably some of the most important and toughest days. They are key to lifelong health and wellbeing. It provides tips on what children need for the best start to life. There are also tips for parents as well.

Most importantly, having a support network is key. Find out where the closest support is to you and never be afraid to tell someone how you are really feeling. While it’s very rewarding being a parent, it can also be very tough and challenging. Children do better in life when their parents feel better.

Initiatives like the Parentline option are there to provide support and reduce your family’s stress. Ultimately, my goal with anyone I speak to is to help them reduce stress… please do yourself a favor and don’t think “I’ll leave it for another day” or “x y z happening to us isn’t that bad, I don’t think we need to tie them up just for us!” or whatever excuses come to mind… connect with them, get help and reduce stress wherever you can!

– Kristan 

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