So you’ve gone and done it haven’t you? You’ve had a child. Congratulations to you and welcome to the dark side, keep your arms and legs in the car for the entire ride and hold on…it could get bumpy!
I suppose I sound harsh but it’s time to get real friends; parenting is stressful! When my beloved first daughter arrived 11 years ago, I had her wee socks all paired up, crib sheets folded nicely and the bottles were sterilized and ready to go. As the years have passed, my girl began to wiggle around, sleep less and demand more of me and in direct response my housekeeping has fallen apart.
Add in another beautiful daughter and my life has become a balancing act of time management, hugs, refereeing and love. It’s a daily life which I couldn’t have foreseen as we planned out our lives pre-children. I had no idea how stressful it could be and there are times when I am running so quickly that I don’t even realize how on edge I am.
Recognizing parenting stress is essential to dealing with it. As you’re living your life as a parent, check in with yourself often. Don’t fall into the trap of neglecting yourself…we all know how that one turns out. Nobody wins.
So you’ve got stress…now what?
Coping with the stress of parenting can be difficult but here are some tips I’ve learned which have helped me…
- Be Selfish! – Get back in tune with yourself, how is your physical, mental and spiritual health? Make time to nurture all of these aspects of yourself to create the strong foundation that you want for your children. It’s GOOD to take some time for yourself, it teaches a positive lesson to the children and gives you a chance to recharge!
- Family Time – When life is busy, getting back to basics as a family can bring the downtime and bonding you all need. Turn off the electronics, ignore the door and make time to just BE together. This isn’t the time to correct the children of a past issue, it’s time to build the family up! Pull out a board game, get some craft supplies or get your bake on…keep it simple and relax with it.
- Think Positive! – Take a look at your inner thoughts, which may be turning negative. Turn those around and ignore every single negative thought you’re throwing at yourself. Remember that you ARE a fantastic parent and tell yourself that repeatedly. Find something to be grateful for instead of beating yourself up.
- Get Real! – Take a look at the list of things you expect to achieve in a day. Often times we are unrealistic; a child with a winter flu can skew our schedule off completely. Don’t set a standard that is impossible, instead get real with yourself and set your goals so you can enjoy the day.
- Support System – Set yourself up with loving support in whatever way makes sense for you. Talk openly to friends about how you’re doing, find a therapist or even a spiritual advisor. It takes a village to raise a child…and a circle of support to help keep parenting challenges in perspective.
Parenting my girls is the most beautiful role I have had in my life. I really hadn’t understood how I would change with the experience and am truly thankful for the support friends have lent me along the road. The stress of parenting can overcome one very quickly so I wish anyone reading this the ability to connect with themselves and let go of any negative thoughts!
You ARE a great parent already…
I am Julie, a wife and mother who also happens to be a recovering alcoholic. I live in Southern Ontario with my fantastic husband, two daughters and our dogs who are beloved members of our family. Find me at www.soberjulie.com.