Leigh Campbell's honest parenting 'tool kit ' for when mum-life gets hard.

Parenting is called 'the hardest job in the world' for good reason. 

Our babies and kids are our greatest loves, but raising small humans is a tough gig and we parents or carers need to make sure we find some time to look after ourselves too.

Research shows that caring for little kids is one of the most stressful occupations when compared with nursing, teaching or taxi driving which is why it might be time to think about what's in your parenting 'tool kit'.

On this week's episode of This Glorious Mess podcast, Leigh Campbell and Tegan Natoli discuss all the ways they cope and use their tool kits after a challenging week of parenting.

Listen to This Glorious Mess with Leigh and Tegan. Post continues below.

"I'm just overwhelmed; the adrenalin has run out, and I am exhausted," Leigh tells Tegan.

"I'm definitely finding the age of four to be the hardest phase of parenting so far. Boys have a testosterone surge around this time and they're obviously finding their boundaries, and asserting their authority and learning who they are. And while it's joyful, I'm just finding this stage really tricky."

While both Leigh and Tegan try to keep alcohol to a minimum during the working week, both confess to an occasional glass of wine after a difficult day.

 "I asked my psychiatrist who said it depends on the intent behind it. He said that drinking is not a great stress relief. It's fine for a birthday or a celebration, but if it's a bit of a band-aid, then it's not going to fix the problem.

"One thing I do which is much healthier is to have a nightly bath. Just for five or ten minutes, not too long but it signifies the end of the craziness of the day and is a form of meditation I can do alone."


Tegan says a bit of trashy TV is helpful to unwind after a stressful day of parenting and Leigh confesses to some online shopping for a hit of dopamine.

"I also spoke to my psychiatrist about this, because you know, I love to shop when things get stressful. He explained that my brain wants that little dopamine hit because mum-life can be hard and stressful. 

"He told me rather than purchasing mindlessly to add the items to my cart and then come back 24 hours later and review to see if I still wanted the thing. Your brain still apparently gets the same hit of dopamine just from browsing and putting items into your cart.

"As a little bonus, you might even get a little 10 per cent off voucher from the retailer who notices you have added some items to your cart, but not yet purchased!"


Leigh and Tegan agree that getting outdoors and breathing in the fresh air is hugely important for their mental health as mums.

"I'm getting back to my regular walks thanks to my husband who has absolutely helped me because I'm such a martyr. 

"He will say to me, "I'm working late today, go and enjoy a walk," and when I come back, he'll notice my improved mood, and he's so right - it's the endorphins!

"There's something about being in green space and nature that really does help me regulate my mood."

Finally, Leigh says that spending time with her loved ones is a non-negotiable part of her tool kit.

"I think when you become a parent, particularly as a mother, you get a lot of judgement if you make time for your friends away from your kids.

"But nothing makes your soul feel better than if you have that silly laugh with your friends that makes you cry."

What is in your parenting tool kit? Join Leigh, Tegan and the whole Mamamia family in the Mamamia Family Facebook group and tell us! 

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Senior Lifestyle Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Instagram @leighacampbell

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