Pregnant, stressed and looking for advice

  • Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dear Liz,

I am working full time, have two children, ages 6 and 9, and am expecting in August. My husband says he has to “walk on eggshells” because I am so extra touchy. He says it is worse this time.

I am very emotional and somewhat reactive, but I don’t think it’s more than normal for my pregnant self. I don’t want any tension to affect the kids, my pregnancy or alienate my husband whom I love. Suggestions?

Two months to go

Dear “Two months...,”

You have both your hands AND your body full. Add to that the hormones of pregnancy, record heat this June AND a full-time job plus two kids and a hubby – well – that could make anyone a tad touchy!

I would first advise that you pace yourself and enlist the help of family and friends to balance the demands upon you.

It is vital you stay hydrated, well fed and rest whenever you get a chance.

Your children are old enough to, at the very least, pick up after themselves and help around the house.

I suggest you and your husband meet first to talk (calmly) about what each child should do, what responsibilities you each have (clearly defined) and what things you can get others to help with – and what you can let “slide.”

I always enjoy counseling expectant parents/families to ease with the current and upcoming joys (and stressors), so may I suggest some specific short-term counseling to make sure you can safely discuss what needs to be discussed – and keep tensions to a minimum.

Best wishes! And stay cool.

Dear Liz,

My middle schoolers have reading to do this summer. It is the nearing the end of June and not a page has been turned! I’ve tried reminding, threatening, removing privileges, bribery – what else is there?


Dear “Frustrated,”

Sounds like middle schoolers indeed. The first day they love school, the second they hate school, and the third day they can’t find school!

You did not mention how they usually do in school. My goal for all students is for them to learn to both “own” and value their education. That includes responsibilities of homework, schoolwork, projects and behavioral choices.

I would sit down and calmly talk about your concerns with them and ask THEM for a plan to make sure they complete this requirement at least two weeks before school resumes. You may need to help them break the reading into measurable, palatable doses and deadlines. Ask them to come up with small, meaningful rewards for completing each “dose.” Be clear that if they do not complete their assignments prior to the last two weeks of summer break, they will do NOTHING but read for the last two weeks – and mean it. Tell them it is “their CHOICE,” which gives them the power to succeed or make their own lives miserable!

One last thought, designate a reading time each day where you all take a reading break. It is contagious and provides structure.

Make it a pleasant time for yourself as well!

Please send your questions and comments to asksharpliz@ gmail.com.

Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Masters-level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health including serving as a school counselor, and as a consultant and mediator.

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