Article 27 January 2023

Parents Mental Health Day

Today, 27 January marks Parents Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness of the impact being a parent can have on our mental health.

Being a parent is often a positive experience and good for our mental wellbeing, but it can also bring challenges that can have a negative impact on our mental health.  Being a parent or carer often means that we have to juggle many anxieties and concerns, as well as other pressures such as financial strain and relationships. Parenting and caring goes through different stages as your child grows or through experiencing life events, some of which are more difficult and harder to deal with. It can seem taboo to say that parenting is challenging or impacting our mental health, but it is reality. 

Our Mitie parents agree:

“As a mum, I’m lucky to be a working parent, and to have both my family and my job. But it can be hard to balance both. It’s good to remember that all working mums and dads have these worries.Having a chat with another working parent often helps me feel more supported and less stressed”. Alice Woodwark Managing Director Communities (Exec sponsor of the Parent and Carers network)

“Parenting is hard, really hard. Every parent feels overwhelmed at times, as raising kids is never simple. It is 100% normal to admit that being a parent is not always sunshine and rainbows! It is really important to remember, we as parents are not alone and we must talk to people when we are struggling.” Russell Trent, Care and Custody (Co-Chair of the Parents and Carers network)

“As a recently new parent, you find there is no manual. There is lots of Ideas and advice, but no child is the same. I found that by listening I have learned a lot, but by ‘doing’ I have learned more. Don’t always trust google, they tend to go to worst case scenario first. Trying to strike a healthy work life balance in such a demanding industry can be difficult. Do not feel guilty for taking a lunch break. Do not feel guilty for finishing on time, we normally tend to do our hours and more, especially after hours when little one is asleep. Just make sure you make time for your family and especially your other half and yourself.” Lee Smith, Acting Head of Performance and Compliance 

“The struggle to juggle is real! As much as I’m grateful to work from home most days, I miss the commute, the 30 mins decompression time and sing-a-long with the radio to clear my thoughts and shake off the day.  The shouts for ‘Mommy’ or ‘What’s for tea’ start before I’ve left my desk…and on top of an already demanding day, it’s overwhelming. Comfort comes from knowing you’re not the only one – everyone is doing the best they can and, if like me, winging it. Just a few minutes chat with another parent and the knowing smile and eye roll tells me there’s common ground and it’s ok to admit that some days are hard and give yourself a break.” Mel Reid, Internal Communications Business Partner, Lloyds

A common feeling is of parental guilt can come from constantly juggling and feeling that you are not able to give enough time to your children, your work, your friends. Or parental guilt can be because you feel that you are not doing a good enough job as a parent. Whilst parental guilt is common, it can often make us feel anxious and unhappy.

Here are some tips to help you cope with parental guilt:
  1. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. Learning to accept this can help you manage feelings of guilt
  2. Stop comparing yourself to other parents. It is easy to look at other parents and think that they are doing a better job but remember that we all often portray ‘our best selves’ that is not quite reality, particularly on social media.  All children are different and need different things, you are the best parent for your child.
  3. Speak openly to other parents. Other parents will be feeling the same as you, it is surprising when we share how things really are how others will also open up.  It helps us to understand that what we are experiencing is absolutely normal and that it’s okay
  4. There are only so many hours in a day. Setting realistic plans for your day and allowing yourself to focus on one thing can help you feel more in control.If possible, have clear boundaries of when you will work, when is time for your children and when is time for other commitments rather than constantly juggling, try to make time for you too.
  5. Take time for you. Giving yourself time to look after your wellbeing allows you to be the best to look after others. Don’t put yourself at the bottom of the pile.  Your wellbeing matters too.
  6. Focus on the little wins try focusing on the things that have gone well rather than the things that haven’t.

    The Parent and Carers Network brings together parents and carers, so that we can support each other through common experiences and also to help Mitie to understand some of the challenges we face being a parent or a carer. Find out more about the network and join here.

    Jade Clarke one of the steer-co of the Parents and Carers network says: 

    ​​​​​​​“Having been raised in a family where one of my parents suffered significantly with mental health issues, I can say the issues can affect and radiate throughout family life without the right kind of help and selfcare for the parent and any other members of the family. Thankfully now, there is more help available than there used to be, and the awareness has increased so a parent’s mental health can be managed better than it once was. Seek help if needed and have the important conversations’’

    Where else can you go for support? 

    The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides support and advice from trained counsellors, they have specialists who can advise on family care.  To access the EAP, call the telephone helpline: 0800 111 6387 (UK and Northern Ireland) 1850 718 888 (Republic of Ireland) +44 (0)845 330 5132 (from abroad) You can also access the online portal for further guidance and support: (Organisation code: mitiewell). Mental Health First aiders, our mental health first aiders are there to listen and help you find support, and many of them will also be parents or carers. You can find a list of mental health first aiders here.

    Institute of Health visitors top tips for parents