Parenting stress can make your day ten times worse than it needs to be. Learn how to stop feeling like a stressed mom and start enjoying parenthood again.
There’s something about stress that makes your day ten times worse than it needs to be.
This week, I drove to the library to drop off overdue only to find that it’s closed. Great, I thought. Now I have to go back another day. I just wasted 20 minutes driving here for nothing. I’m so disorganized.
Then it filters to the rest of my day. I got frustrated with my kindergartener when we had to walk back to his classroom for a forgotten lunch bag. This extra time only made us even later to pick up my two-year-old twins from preschool.
I found myself racing through traffic, trying to beat the clock. We finally arrive at the preschool, just to have one of my twins refuse to sit in the car seat.
And this is what our patience is up against. No wonder we lose it so quickly.
How to start enjoying parenthood
But then I wondered, what if I treat these incidents like it’s no big deal?
What if, instead of stressing about a forgotten lunch bag, we say, We’ll use a different bag tomorrow.
What if, instead of racing through traffic, we say, We’re already late. What’s another five minutes?
What if, instead of flipping out about library books we didn’t return, we think, I’ll go back tomorrow. It’s really no big deal.
I’ve learned how quickly a hassle can escalate into the rest of your day. It’s tough turning a bad day around. That’s why it’s so important to be more carefree about these hassles.
Because they’re just that—hassles. Another five minutes out of your day. Another task to add to your to-do list. But at least that’s it. And they’re gone the next day, if not sooner.
Let’s say you come home to a pile of dishes that’s been sitting in the sink since breakfast. Instead of heaving a sigh of frustration, what if we just say, It’s there, we’ll deal with it at some point.
Or, say your baby didn’t take a nap, even after rocking, swinging or pushing him in a stroller. If you’re like me, your baby napping or not has been the defining factor of your day. And I get it—it’s frustrating rocking a baby to sleep for an hour and he doesn’t end up sleeping.
But how much different our outlook would be if we accepted it. If we remembered all the other times he did nap.
The other day, one of my twins wanted to use his toothbrush cup to spit water, just for fun. The kid just wanted to practice sloshing water in his mouth and spitting it out in the sink. I was about to say no, but then I thought, what’s the big deal? So he’s spitting from a cup even if it’s not time to brush his teeth yet.
Another time, his twin brother wanted to glue bits to a paper, an activity he hadn’t done in the past. Again, I was about to say no, but I asked myself why and realized I assumed he’d make a mess. I didn’t see the moment as a learning opportunity for him to apply glue and tinker with paper. And I was starting to feel a bit too uptight for my own good.
But I’ve learned the power of letting it be. How to be more carefree, and not so uptight all the time.
This isn’t a call to be permissive. Kids still have responsibilities, but only where it matters most. Hitting one another and tearing pages out of books need your attention. An upturned chair or wanting to spit out of a cup, no.
Instead, let’s focus on enjoying being a parent. We forget to do that sometimes. We’re home alone with them all afternoon and deal with their tantrums and messes.
But let’s not forget how much fun kids are, too. If we let loose, let our kids be, we remember how awesome hanging out with them is.
If you feel stressed, annoyed or angry over something trivial, try a tactic that just might work: Relax, and be more carefree.
Get more tips about parenting:
- THIS Is Why Your Child Is Testing You
- These Are the Things Your Kids Will Remember About You
- How I Failed as a Mom… and Why It Wasn’t as Bad as I Thought
- 5 Maya Angelou Quotes that Can Teach Us about Parenthood
- On Choosing to Turn a Bad Parenting Day into a Good One
Your turn: What’s a recent incident where you felt you were too uptight or stressed?
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