Researchers at Kansas State University recently published . The study reaffirmed a lot of what those of us living the life already know: single motherhood is hard and frequently stressful.
The study also found that stress levels remain about the same for the first years of a child's life, and the more difficult a child is during their first year, the less likely the mother is to engage with them as they grow older. One of the key points that came out of the study, however, was the discovery that higher levels of parent engagement result in lower levels of parental stress. In other words, the more you include yourself in your kid's activities, or bring them into yours, the less stress you'll have and the more energized you'll feel.
This was a surprise to researchers - single parenting is quite honestly exhausting sometimes. Spending time with your kids on a regular basis makes you feel more like you're doing your job as a parent. The study further concluded:
"Often times mothers are encouraged to engage with their children for the positive impact it has on the child. The findings show there is long-term positive impact for the mother as well."
This isn't news to me. I've said it before and I'll say it many times again, I'm sure. If it weren't for my kids, this whole new life of mine would be a thousand times less bearable. They keep me grounded, and they keep me sane - even though they're frequently driving me nuts! Spending time with them is often the high point of my whole day and can turn a bad mood around in a minute.
What about you? Do your kids help you de-stress?