Feeling frustrated with parenthood? Accept your current moment as the most important and be where you need to be. This mindset will change your outlook.
Babies, toddlers and even older kids don’t follow our schedule.
As babies, my kids woke up many times a night, sometimes a half hour after I’d just put them down. They nursed just as often, leaving me rooted to the couch or bed with not much else to do.
Growing up isn’t much help, either. As toddlers, they insisted on collecting every leaf around the block. Once back home, they’d explode in a tantrum because I told them they couldn’t stay outside all day.
Even my six-year-old learning to tie his shoes on himself takes 10 minutes to do so. Ten minutes I don’t exactly have.
Once our kids are born, we’re forced to abandon all we’ve known about our old lifestyle. It’s not just big things like our social life or careers. Even little things like sipping a cup of tea as slowly as we want. Staying up at 11pm to watch a late night show. (Read about the real reasons motherhood is hard.)
Things we took for granted before kids.
When you feel frustrated with parenthood
Having kids, no matter their age, forces me to slow down whether I want to or not. I’ve spent long hours added up nursing, rocking or tending to all three as babies. I can’t just buckle myself in the car and speed off—I have to strap them in and load their gear as well.
It’s not the pace we’re used to. We’re not “productive.” And it’s easy to get frustrated or hurry things along, thinking about all the other things we could be doing.
But what if, instead, we learn to accept this moment as the most important?
Instead of thinking about all the other things we have to do, we can focus on this moment only. Set aside all the schedules and plans and simply be where we are.
So yes, the baby has been nursing for 45 minutes when it usually takes her 20. But accept those extra minutes as where you need to be, not a hassle keeping you from something else.
Inspecting every leaf with your toddler has extended your play time. But maybe for today, play time can be longer than usual.
And cooking dinner while your five-year-old chatters with stories galore isn’t quick or easy. But it’s where you both are at the moment. Simply be where your kids are calling you to be.
Fighting the moment makes you feel like you’re always rushing, whether to some place or stage. The next time you feel rushed, ask yourself the harm in letting go of the pressure to be on time. You might realize being late isn’t even that big of a deal.
Fighting the moment also means you’re more likely to feel frustrated. Tell yourself you don’t need to wash the dishes because the baby needs comfort right now. Give yourself permission to be there for your child, and not succumb to a schedule or list of tasks.
And not being present means you’re always looking for the next milestone or stage as the answer. As a first-time mom I’d think myself, If only he can walk, then that will make my life easier. Or I can’t wait until he can drink milk so I don’t have to nurse as often.
To be fully present, we need to put other demands on hold, if possible. Ask yourself whether what you’re doing right now can wait so you can be present for your child.
The beauty is, we discover how awesome these simple moments can be. How much we take for granted or overlook in our busy lives. Parenthood forces us to be still and slow down. And we see how much more pleasant it is when we can be where we need to be.
Get more tips on parenthood:
- On Accepting Your Children for Who They Are
- The Working Mom Pep Talk: What Do You Tell Yourself to Keep Going?
- How to Get Things Done with a Baby
- How to Practice Mindful Parenting
- 15 Principles on Effective Parenting
Tell me in the comments: When have you felt rushed with your kids? What helps you slow down and be in the moment?
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