I think we all know that parenting is a stressful job.  Although when I call it a "job," I don't think that does the incredible dedication and sacrifice of raising a little human justice.  At most jobs you work a predetermined amount of hours, get days off, vacation, benefits - these things are not included in the compensation package for parents.  It's non-stop hours, worry, sleep deprivation, and a whole bunch of work that ends up wearing even the best moms and dads down.  To combat this inevitable fatigue, experts are now suggesting that every parent find a "Vent-Buddy" to keep their sanity!

I know vent-buddy sounds like a Black and Decker too made especially for chimney sweeps, but it's actually a friend you can count on to hear you complain.  Not judge, or give advice - just listen.  A sounding board isn't just great for working through your problems out loud, Smart Parenting claims having a sympathetic ear that lets you blast away with frustration over your husband not taking out the trash again actually reduces stress.  The key is to find a friend that exudes empathy.  The goal is to find a great listener with good advice (when asked), not a life coach.

The ideal situation is to find another parent in a like situation.  If you are stressed over planning summer activities and meals for your out-of-schooler, reach out to some of your friends moms and dads.  They are likely experiencing the same problems, and most definitely need a vent-buddy, too.  In a perfect world, your kids and their kids can play together.  As it turns out, it's not just moms and dads - kids absolutely need a friend to complain with as well.