Have you ever had one of those days where it seems nothing’s going right? Especially when it comes to parenting. You’re frazzled and unsure how to place one foot in front of the other. If you’re a parent you’ve had days like these. And if you have more than one child, these day’s seem to happen more often. Or not. Maybe its just me.
On day’s when I want to pull my hair out and scream at the top of my lungs to my kids, then crawl under a rock and hibernate for the rest of my life, its important to take a breather and refocus on why I’m (you’re) feeling this way. Looking back on my own experience I can see very clearly how burned out I was. Once I had kids I pushed all of my needs aside and lost myself- so learn from my mistakes! The saying “if mom ain’t happy ain’t no one happy” couldn’t be truer. So before you (or I) get to the point where we can’t see past the hairy moment, take some simple steps to make sure you avoid parental exhaustion before it happens.
Instill a nap or quiet time– Kids need a break during the day just as much as adults do. If you have small children, try to make sure they’re taking a daily nap, and older children should have quiet time in their rooms (reading books, coloring, building blocks). When you’re children are having their quiet time- have yours! If you need to lay down for a few minutes do that, read a good book, take a bath- anything! This is a great time to refocus your energy and center yourself to be more present for your kids and yourself.
Exercise– This is a big one. Keeping up on your own physical fitness helps to elevate mood and keep anxiety at bay. No need to join a gym- walk around your neighborhood, run up and down your stairs a few times, or watch some fitness videos on Youtube. No matter what you choose to do, stay active and keep your body moving.
Sleep– Having worked at a sleep center myself, I know how important a good nights rest is- for both parent and child. Make sure your child is going down around the same time every night, and make sure you are going to sleep at a reasonable time as well. Put the electronic devises away- and just sleep.
Date nights – Its important to stay connected to your partner and a weekly date night is a great way to reconnect. Trade babysitting with a friend and get out! If you can’t set aside a date night with your partner, find a sitter and take a date night for yourself. Some alone time may be just what you needed.
Keep up with your interests– What were you interested in before you had kids? Whatever it was try to find time to do it regularly. You’re still an individual with separate interests and talents, so do them!
With some practice and a little creativity any parent can avoid getting to the point of exhaustion. Your kids and you will be so much happier for it!