This post is about the value of social media forums to help a parent or special guardian cope with inordinate parenting stress. When we are stressed we need to be able to reach out to others. If we can’t do this the pressure mounts, and we must absorb it – there is nowhere else for it to go. This is a guest post, published with permission of the author, as we thought it would help others to appreciate how challenging it can be when small things do not go according to plan.

“It can be very hard when I try to explain to professionals how finely balanced my life is with my children’s needs. Long boring story coming up, but the point is that every line of this story contains stress associated with parenting.

Yesterday I needed to get hold of our CAMHS therapist before she goes on leave for the Xmas break. I phone while on the way to daughter’s school. She’s in a session but will call back in 10 minutes.
I arrive at daughter’s school. She is waiting outside with a risky lad when she is supposed to wait inside for me.
She gets in the car. She has a science text book with her because she needs to catch up over the holidays with lessons missed for walking out – as agreed at meeting with school last week.
The teacher was going to star which lessons needed to be covered. She hasn’t. My daughter is apparently going to ‘tell me’.
I realise I need to speak to the teacher. I go into school and wait for her to be found. As its the last day of term I have to wait for quite a while.
Teacher comes out and explains why the lessons were not ‘starred’. I wait while she stars a few things wondering what my daughter and the risky lad are getting up to.
I get back to car and start driving. My daughter says I missed a call from CAMHS.
I pull over in the freezing cold and get out so my daughter can’t hear call.
After three attempts I can’t get through.
Finally I get through but get cut off. Now we are getting late to pick up my other child.
Leave message hoping therapist will call back before she goes on leave.
We drive to pick up my son, when we get there he has had a bad day at school.
Drive home down narrow lane. CAMHS rings. Pull over sort of into muddy layby. Get out into the cold and dark with phone again.
Talking to therapist. A car comes up the road from behind me. A bl**dy coach comes from the other direction (coaches should NOT be on this road). They are now stuck because of where I am parked.
I am trying to finish conversation with therapist. She says I can’t call her back later because its the end of the day and she’s going on leave. I watch traffic beginning to queue.
Irritated man comes over and asks if I’m broken down. I ask him to wait. Traffic is getting worse.
I can’t have the conversation I need to have with the therapist because I am creating a traffic jam.
I end the conversation and get in the car and drive off. Traffic is now stuck all the way down the lane.

That is 18 examples of stress in just one hour just to get my child’s school work sorted and have just one phone call with CAMHS. I could blame the busy teacher who didn’t do what she had said she would, or the coach driver, trying to save time or getting lost, for coming down a lane that was too narrow. But this is just life and it doesn’t matter. We live lives where we cant afford to get it wrong because there is always fallout. And one person who lets us down, or a small thing that goes wrong, creates such a knock- on effect.

There’s no point to this story other than allowing me to let off steam and help me to cope with the stress, because this is a place where people understand. Thanks for being there and for being people who understand”