Why Are You So Stressed As a Parent?

Today’s post is a guest post from my friend, Dr. Meg Meeker. Dr. Meeker has the wisdom of a pediatrician and the heart of a mother.

She’s the best-selling author of six book and has appeared on The Today Show, Today with Kathie-Lee and Hoda, Dateline with Katie Couric, The O’Reilly Factor, Fox and Friends, The Dave Ramsey Show, and more. Dr. Meg also serves as the co-host for Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk radio show.

Today she shares a simple, yet profound principle, we parents need to understand.


megAfter 30 years practicing pediatrics, I had a huge revelation. I figured out exactly why parents are so stressed all the time! While talking to a mother of three children and chatting about how to implement one of the principles in my new online program, a light went off.

You are stressed because you are micro-parenting not macro-parenting.

What does this mean? Simply put, you spend so much time, energy and money on a multitude of small things with your child, that you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture.

If you stand back and tell yourself to look at the 25 year span of your child’s life, ask yourself what you really want to teach him. Who do you want him to become? When you do this, you’ll come up with a few things and I”ll bet you aren’t focused on any of them right now because you’re so busy!

Here’s the truth: when you work hard at fewer big things in your child’s life (macro-parent)  you don’t have to worry about  the small stuff that keeps you aboard the Crazy Train. What kinds of things am I talking about?

For instance, a macro-parenting principle is teaching your child to be compassionate and empathetic. You do this by teaching him to be grateful and to serve others. How are you doing that right now? If you focus on things like this, he’ll become a much happier adult than by doing travel hockey 12 months of the year.

I also know why you micro-parent: because your friends do and you don’t want your child to feel left behind. I get it. But let me tell you something else. If you shift your perspective from micro-parenting to macro-parenting, you are almost guaranteed to raise a happy, successful child.


Dr. Meg offers a popular online parenting course, The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids, where she teaches parents how to move from micro-parenting to macro-parenting and today she is giving away one complimentary membership ($149 value!) to one of my blog readers!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment stating one of two things: 1)what stresses you out the most about parenting, or 2) what is one stress-relieving strategy you use to de-stress.

What about you? What stresses you out the most about parenting? What do you do to de-stress from parenting?


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29 thoughts on “Why Are You So Stressed As a Parent?

  1. Decision making is my #1 stressor right now. There are SO many decisions to make as a mom, from the mundane to the very important! Macro-parenting sounds so freeing, thank you for this post!

  2. The thing that most stresses me about being a parent is getting the right nutrition in my kids. Both on the autism spectrum with sensory issues that challenge us all in choosing healthy foods. We’re working on baby steps to make progress.

  3. I struggle with “perfectionism” and although I know what it has done for me and I struggle to put away what was ingrained in me, I seem to miss the boat with my daughter. Oh, I’m better, but……, I just want the vicious cycle to stop with me and not transfer this legacy to future generations.

  4. When my kids (girl, 8 & boy, 7) are in YET another argument, it stresses me out. Even though this isn’t always happening, it can SO seem like it is. To calm down, I usually pray, asking for HELP, and wisdom. Typically, this helps. Unfortunately, I lose it sometimes and yell at them about it. Just two days ago I yelled at both of them to SHUT UP (words we don’t use around here)….. & to stop being jerks to each other. SO difficult to keep it all together and give them a good example. Afterwards, the enemy is all over that outburst & the “You’re a failure as a MOM thoughts come” Deep breath, more prayers & a reminder to myself that it is important to let them know I make mistakes too (so much for keeping it all together), apologize, and ask for forgiveness.

  5. I get stressed because I feel like I dint have enough support systems. Grandparents, church clubs, etc all teach valuable things to kids. And because I don’t have a lot of access to those, I feel like it falls on me.

  6. I struggle most with my limited capacity for repeating myself. I get so tired of saying the same things to my kids over and over. This post is making me wonder if some of that is the result of too much micro-parenting. Good food for thought!

  7. What stresses me out about parenting is feeling like I have to be “on” all the time.
    I find wine helps. And good girlfriends. ????

  8. I definitely become stressed by allowing myself to feel like I have to hold everything. The mental energy expended trying to be everything for everyone. Maintaining our home, our homeschool, my whole family’s schedule. It makes me tired and stressed just thinking about it!

  9. I struggle the most with Co parenting with my husband. We come from similar backgrounds of self employed Dads and stay at home moms and parents that stayed together. However he is an only child and I’m the oldest of 4. His family never spoke of anything, not even an I love you, and my family talks about everything loudly!

  10. I tried to enter yesterday, and just got the email confirming that it was a glitch causing it to not work properly. I now can see others, for which I wish there was a quick “Like” (or “like all”) button ;-). Great thoughts ladies; “me2”!

    I would have to say, dealing with judgments from relatives, and the ramifications of the vile “ickyness” that ranges to the downright toxic.

  11. great read. Right now I need all the help I can get with an extremely smart defiant strong willed 3 year old I feel like every day I’m at my whits end and wonder how I could ever manage more when I can’t handle one. My biggest stress is feeling like I’m doing it all wrong but not knowing how to change. Getting her dressed and out the door in less than 30 minutes seems almost impossible and bed time not taking an hour long is another huge stress. I’m diving in knowing that I need to change my ways too

  12. My kids’ health is definitely a stressor – our oldest was born with a congenital defect that’s been repaired, but there’s always a risk of a major issue happening (we know the warning signs, thankfully!), so even when they’re healthy, I’m on the lookout for the warning signs. My best de-stressing strategy right now is to spend time with my husband….talking through the issues of the day, reading together, or watching a movie while he gives me a foot rub. 🙂

  13. I am so stressed because of the macro-decisions! We are not only raising children, we are raising future adults. It’s a great deal of responsibility knowing that what I do with them now is shaping them to become good adults who are loving, kind, responsible with integrity.
    How do I try and de-stress? I try to work out 1 hour 4 times a week. I also take mommy time-outs, when my husband is home, and go pleasure read for 20-30 minutes????

  14. Being consistent is a stressful part of parenting to me. And having to cover the same topic (behavior) over and over and over again. To destress drink a lot of wine (just kidding!) exercise helps, just some time to myself watching TV or reading a book.

  15. One of the best ways to reduce my stress as a mom is to journal my prayers to God and have my quiet time daily. Frequently, when I find myself most frazzled as a mom is when I realize that I haven’t been in the Word recently. God’s truths help me recenter my soul and get grounded in what really matters. He helps me to receive peace in the most chaotic circumstances. I am so thankful to have a faith that truly is life changing!!!

  16. Fear – that is my biggest stressor. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of messing up this parenting thing. Fear of not nurturing my marriage enough. And, to distress, I run and do yoga.

  17. Right now the most stressful part of parenting is getting my almost 5 year old ready in the mornings without all the whining. Destress??? What’s that?? Every couple weeks I go to lunch with a girlfriend.

  18. Trying to get the children to do things they don’t want to do but you know is good for them, eg drinking more water, eating less sugar, going to sleep! I find reward charts help a lot, when I’m organised enough to use them that is.

  19. I destress from living with 6 children by taking a walk in the park with a friend . good conversation,being outside in Gods creation and moving my body are so refreshing and calming. If that’s not feasable ,then a walk around the block with the dog will do .

  20. My number one stressor with parenting currently is dealing with my extremely strong willed middle son. He is 10 and I swear has emotions worse then his teenager sister!

  21. # 1 stress – giving each kid (Ive got four little people) individual time – making sure nobody slips through the cracks! To “de-stress” I TURN OFF SOCIAL MEDIA – and pick up a good book – grab some coffee and curl up with whoever needs some quiet time 🙂

  22. My biggest stress is my 8yr old son. He is a smart kid with lots of energy! He is strong willed and we are constantly butting heads. Another stressor is balancing being wife, mom (to both kids 5 and 8), working outside the home, and helping with elderly parents. I feel there is not enough of me to go around.