Here we are! We have officially entered what I lovingly (?!) call the 90 days of May. If you have children in school, you know what I’m talking about. There are concerts and performances, last minute projects due, special ceremonies, end of school year events, all in between the regular practices, lessons, games and meetings. And don’t forget Teacher Appreciation Week or Mother’s Day! Or the groceries or the garbage that needs to go out!
It can be very overwhelming. You will have days where you feel like you are a horrible parent. We all do! It’s hard when you are exhausted, stretched to the max and everybody needs something from you.
Remember to BREATHE!
It is likely that you will snap once or twice at your children, at your spouse, even at yourself. That is OK. It happens to all of us. The trick is to not let it happen too often. The ideal, is to get to a point where the exhaustion and snapping happens less and less. When I work with my One on One clients, we create simple systems to get to that point where you can get through the 90 days of May and actually enjoy most of the activities and the chaos.
As parents, we think everyone else expects us to be Super Mom or Super Dad. Sometimes, we put more pressure on ourselves than anyone else. When you have one of those moments when the world seems to be falling apart, take 30 seconds – that’s it, 30 seconds – to stop and BREATHE. For some folks, deep breathing for 30 seconds can work wonders. For the rest of us, or those of us who need to quiet our mind from racing, here’s another option:
In just 30 seconds, pay attention to all 5 of your senses.
– What do you hear right now? Even if it’s a crying, screaming child, remember that the child has lungs healthy enough to let you know something is not right. In the future, those lungs might power a solo in the choir or a musical instrument.
– What do you see? What is something within view that brings you pleasure? It could be a picture of your family or a bird on the tree outside. Look for something that makes you smile.
– What do you smell? If you are changing a diaper (Hey, life happens!) can you think of something that smells nice? A flower, a candle, the honeysuckle bush outside, or hot chocolate?
– What do you taste? If you are not currently eating, can you plan to eat something that makes your taste buds happy today?
– What do you notice about touch? Are you holding a sweet little hand? Do you have fuzzy socks on that you enjoy? Can you pet your dog/cat?
Taking 30 seconds amid the chaos can help ground you.
And what happens when you do snap? Think about what you would say to your child if he/she was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed? Think about what your child was feeling to cause the actions or the behavior that just happened. What would you do? Say these things to yourself. Take care of yourself first. Then you can go apologize to the person you snapped at earlier.
When you are ready to apologize for snapping, you can start by saying “Boy, I was pretty awful at being a parent/spouse earlier.” You can explain why, or you can jump to talking about how you will try to avoid this happening again in the future. By doing so, you are being human. You are being real. You are also teaching your children/spouse that they might have “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” days (to quote Alexander from a book by Judith Viorst) and that’s OK. It’s what they do with these days, what they learn from them, how they survive and get through them that counts!
It is OK to ask for help. Email me at DrRenee@HelpingParentsParent.com to set up a 20 minute strategy session. I make time in my schedule to offer 5 of these strategy sessions for free each month. This could be your month to get out of overwhelm and back into enjoying parenting.
I anticipate a few “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” moments, but I wish you many more “happy and healthy” days during the upcoming 90 Days of May!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.- JK Rowling
I like to think of a theme for each year. It helps give me focus and something bigger to aim for in all areas of my life. My theme for 2016 was “Take Care of the Caretaker“. For 2017, my theme is “Anything’s Possible!”
Like most of you, my 2016 had its ups and downs, and yes, even some upside-downs. However, I choose not to beat myself up about things I had hoped to accomplish but didn’t or about things that didn’t go exactly as planned. I prefer to focus on the things I got right and how I have a chance to get more things right. I love to think about what new and exciting things will happen in my life this year.
Getting into a mindset of “Anything’s Possible!”, I have a New Year’s Wish for you:
My wish for you is lots of fun time with your family- anything’s possible.
More time playing with your children and less time yelling at them – anything’s possible!
More time when your child is well-behaved and less time when he is challenging or defiant – anything’s possible.
More time when your children will be playing nicely together and less time fighting with each other – anything’s possible.
More time connecting with your children and less time in power struggles – anything’s possible.
And my New Year’s wish is for you to spend more time in “Positive Parent” mode and less time in the “I Didn’t Sign Up for This” or “Help! Things are Out of Control” mode because – anything’s possible!
Here’s to a great 2017-
a new year full of possibilities.
I am here to help you on your parenting journey. Whether you gain insights from my blogs or (almost) weekly tips (hey, I’m a parent, too!), or you are looking for more personalized parenting advice and direction, I am excited to welcome you. Sometimes it takes a bit of courage, or nerve, to ask for help, but it usually ends up saving a lot of time and frustration in the long run. My goal is to encourage and support you being the best possible parent you can be.