Parenting = one tough gig. An open letter to all parents... When raising kids, first place the oxygen mask over your own mouth.

 Katelyn Milevski & Jenny Henderson Tue 13 November 18


"When raising kids: first place the oxygen mask over your own mouth"  - Ed Rogers  

Parenting can be one tough gig.

The love and sacrifice that we feel for our babies and children when it comes to raising them, brings an enormity of challenges, hurdles and breakthroughs.

But as parents navigating this tricky path, our own needs will often fall to the wayside once we shift from our pre-children existence to the role of 'parent'.

It is common for us as parents to experience:

- a loss of identity

- a shift in the dynamic between their partner (parenting sure crushes spontaneity and romance!)

- difficulty adjusting to the pressures on our time and finances

- grieving for the life we once had before our bundles of joy came along.

And therefore the first step is to acknowledge that parenting is well......not always beer and skittles.

The relentless demands, the sleep deprivation, the added financial pressures and the lack of time for ourselves commonly creates a physical and mental health impact at this stage of our lives.

As mums and dads, we ALL need support and empathy as we navigate our way through. It is inevitable that at some point we stumble, that tricky parenting path we speak of is bumpy and uneven at times!

So regardless of where you are, especially if you've just been tripped up by a branch you never saw coming, there is a real comfort to be taken from acknowledging this:

- Everyone struggles, no one is immune 

- If you are struggling, it is not just OK to seek support, it is beautifully, wonderfully fabulous for you to do so. No matter what that support may look like for you

Here at Parents Guide (where we are all beautifully flawed and imperfect local parents), we would like to start this open conversation, by bringing you a list of local Illawarra-based support workers and organisations who will help you find your mojo back, perhaps your sanity. And best of all - help you to realise that you are not alone.

Remember putting your oxygen mask on first...that is how you can help your loved ones best of all.

We recognise that 'parenting oxygen support' can actually come in many forms, so here are some of the Illawarra's finest options - go deeply breathe this in and take the steps that can help support you and your unique situation...

F45 Training: Parent and female friendly group based fitness training with FREE childminding available.

Special deal for women: Grab a 7 day pass and start training with us today - become part of our family and amazing and supportive all inclusive community of members.

How we can help: Perfect for parents (flexibility of 7 different classes per week) and those returning to training or getting fit after a long absence - even if you have never exercised before. F45 is for all bodies, all ages, all levels and all abilities! Our members are friendly and supportive and while we work hard, we also have fun! You don't have to already be fit to train with us - and will support you every step of the way. F45 Training offers people an opportunity to be part of a community with life changing benefits. F45 offers FREE childminding for their 9.30am class in Corrimal and their 9.15am class in Bulli. Grab a coffee after your session with the other parents in your class.

Get in touch: Phone: 0448 598 537 / Email: or CLICK HERE for the F45 Training Corrimal Facebook Page and CLICK HERE for the F45 Bulli Facebook Page.  

Towers Counselling:  A Creative Counselling Services for parents, children and teens

How we can help: Karen Towers is a counsellor and registered psychotherapist who loves to see all family members gain the strength, tools and insight they need to overcome their personal challenges. Karen can arrange appointments Illawarra wide at various Illawarra locations, walk and talk therapy (getting moving helps to unblock us mentally and creates feel good endorphins that lift the mood), or online or phone based sessions. Towers Counselling combines 30 years of working with children and teenagers with 8 years of counselling experience."Parenting these days is tough gig; please feel free to contact me on 0412 361 008 for a no-obligations chat".

Get in touch: Helensburgh, Fairy Meadow & Shellharbour office locations / Phone: 0412 361 008  Email: / CLICK HERE for Website 

Emerge Therapy: Offering tailored therapy services for the whole family unit. Self-Care Workshops for mums.


Special deal for women: 20% of 60 minute Coaching-Focussed sessions. 

How I can help: Emerge Therapy provides comprehensive and confidential counselling support by a Registered and experienced Counsellor (PACFA) to Parents and their children of the Illawarra region and NO REFERRAL IS REQUIRED! We can assist Parents and their Children with the following concerns not limited to: developing coping strategies to manage stress and anxiety, depression, enhancing parental attunement and connection with your child, overcoming communication and disciplinary blocks with children, support through changes in your family, conflict resolution, assistance with managing difficult emotions, developing new ways of relating to other family members, separation, perinatal support, trauma, grief and loss, body image concerns, bullying, confidence, assertiveness and self-esteem plus so much more!

Get in touch: Address: Suite 2, 114 – 116 Princes Highway, Fairy Meadow, NSW 2519 (Opening days/hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9am – 7pm) / Phone: 0403 840 645  Email: CLICK HERE for Website.   

Committed to the Core: Offering Energy Healing, Massage Therapy, Reflexology, Yoga, Pilates, Core Conditioning and more to get you back on track.... 


Special deal for women: First consultation is reduced to $50 if you mention Parent's Guide Illawarra when booking. Usual first consult fee is $110. All subsequent visits are $70 per person. Discounts available for group bookings (2 or more people). 

How I can help: My name is Lillian Linsley and I teach people how to re-engage in physical activity - to re-activate the muscles in their core, to reduce pain and improve their experience in their body. I hope to help you reconnect with you pre-parent self and body, give you some 'me-time'. We are all really good at caring for people other than ourselves, this is an opportunity to give back to yourself and your body, reducing stress and tension at the same time. So much of what we do everyday is unconscious. Bringing more consciousness and intention to daily activities improves your quality of life. My aim is to help you get back on track and re-connect your physical body with your mental health and improved outlook. 

Get in touch: Address: I am mobile and can work with you in an environment you are in everyday / Email: / Phone: 0414 266 222 / CLICK HERE for Website.   

Lotus Patch: Teaching mindfulness and meditation as a powerful self-help tool for parents 

How I can help: It is a common belief that mindfullness, children and parenting are all interwined - and is a practice that parents and children can learn and practice together. Donnah Day, who's experience with mindfulness and meditation spans nearly 40 years, runs an 8 week Mindfulness-based program for anyone who is interested in learning about or deepening their practice of mindfulness meditation. The program is 8 x 1.5 hour classes.  

Get in touch: Address: I am mobile and can work with you in an environment you are in everyday / Phone: 0481 481 539  Email: CLICK HERE for Website.  

Marsden Clinical Psychology: Passionate about the emotional wellbeing of the parent and the family unit as a whole.

Special deal for women:  Specialists in Perinatal Mental Health.

How we can help:  The MCP psychology team take an individually tailored approach to treatment, developing plans to assist parents and families with their challenges and helping children to overcome problems and reach their potential. The areas of focus at MCP's Kids Clinic include (but are not limited to) behavioural difficulties, child and parent anxiety, ADHD, learning difficulties, autism, and trauma. MCP also offer family therapy through their Kids Clinic in Woonona - the aim here is to improve and maintain the emotional wellbeing for you, your child and your family if your child is struggling in emotional, behavioural and social areas.

Get in touch: Address: The Kids Clinic in Woonona (Unit 6, Lower Ground, 44 Hopetoun Street, Woonona NSW 2517); 

The Stress and Trauma Centre in Wollongong (8/70 Market St, Wollongong, NSW 2500) / Phone: 0411 542 624 / Email: / CLICK HERE for their Website.

Fernwood Woonona: Get your body moving! Supporting women with anxiety and depression 

Special deal for women: *$10 for 10 Days in November - buy a TRIAL PASS this November and all proceeds go to the Fernwood Foundation which supports women with anxiety and depression. CLICK HERE to get started!

How we can help: At Fernwood Woonona, we offer 95+ classes every week, FREE childcare, complimentary breakfast and even our very own Hair & Beauty Salon. Where else can you find everything under the one roof? Regular exercise in a supportive community has been proven to elevate your mood, get you out of a slump, increase endorphins and improve your overall emotional and mental health  - and at Fernwood Woonona, we are proud of our safe, inclusive, women-centric community. We will always work with you to achieve the fitness outcomes you are after - no matter how big or small. 

Get in touch: Address: 335 Princes Highway, Woonona / Phone: (02) 4284 5560 / Email: / CLICK HERE for their Facebook page.    

Understanding Teenagers: Offering personalised parenting coaching to parents (or carers) of teenagers.


Special Deal: Mention Parents Illawarra guide and get $50 off your first full coaching session.  

How I Can Help: My name is Chris Hudson and I am a Youth Specialist and Parent Coach specialising in helping parents overcome the more challenging aspects of raising teenagers. I help parents develop practical, positive parenting plans that enable them to build healthy relationships with their teenager. The types of issues I assist parents with include; dealing with teenage defiance and disrespect, managing challenging and risky teenage behaviour, addressing low self-esteem and lack of motivation, reducing conflict and power struggles, improving communication, managing teenage technology use and much more. I have over 25 years’ experience working teenagers and their parents and thrive on seeing parents reconnect and enjoy being with their teenagers. 

Get In Touch: Contact me on 0403 802 208 for a free no obligation chat. Coaching sessions in the Illawarra happen at a location convenient for you or via online video conference. / Email: / CLICK HERE for my Website. 

Essential Living with Dorina: Empowering Mums to improve and manage physical, mental and emotional health.  

Special deal for women: Book a Wellness Consultation with me and mention Parents Guide Illawarra to receive a 50% discount on a relaxation massage called Aromatouch Technique, which helps to lower stress (regular price $90). Free samples available also.

How I can help: Hi! My name is Dorina - I'm a mum, wife, homemaker and I run my own business. I know what it's like to be stressed out, feeling overwhelmed, struggling with depression and/or anxiety while trying to juggle family, life and a business. And therapeutic essential oils have helped me keep sane! Let me share this knowledge with you: you can take charge of your health and your family's health by using powerful pure therapeutic essential oils, which can assist with the following: reducing and managing stress at home and work, have a solution for when you or your family get unwell whether travelling or at midnight, manage moods and emotions (both for kids' and adults'!), reduce the toxic load in your body, strengthen your immune system and improve your stamina and vigour. 

Get in touch: Phone: 0432 032 629 / Email: / CLICK HERE for my Facebook page - join my support group of like-minded Mums with an interest in natural alternatives for us and our families. Receive updates on special workshops and classes.  

THANK YOU FOR READING! Please like and share this article - as parents we stand united and as isolating as parenting can feel at times, we are not alone in our struggles.

Lifeline also offer 24hour telephone crises support - call 13 11 14




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