Being a parent is hard. It does not matter whether you’re a mom or dad, single parent, step parent or whatever else category you fit into, it’s a tough job. It pulls on all your emotions at one point or another. Every stage challenges a parent for various reasons.
Caleb and I fit most of the parenting categories. We both have been single parents; both currently step parents; and together we deal with co-parenting. We also have kiddos in different stages of life. And me, being a middle school/high school teacher, have seen it all.
So how do we stay sane? Because we do, most days, and not just that: We LOVE our children and enjoy being around them.
1.) Change perspective. Children can be crazy, both in the good and bad sense of the word. But they are little and do not always know what they are really doing. If you start to look at the world through their eyes, you’ll be amazed at how much more patient and calm you can be. Poop flying across the bedroom could send anyone on high alert, but stopping for a moment and trying to see what they see will change your emotions. Yes this happened! I could’ve let a loose cannon go, but then I realized Harv accidentally got his hand stuck on the diaper sticker and was trying to free himself. Do you blame him? Nope. I know he doesn’t like stickers. He was afraid, confused, and did all he knew how.
2.) Laugh. This isn’t new. Kids are hilarious! Even when they are being naughty, they still can be funny. Laugh at them – just be warned, don’t actually laugh at them, it can be damaging to their egos and self worth & don’t do it in front of them when they really need to see right from wrong. You’ll lose all your authority at that moment.
3.) Take five. Seriously. Some times 5 minutes or less is all you need to recoup from the chaos. So take it! If you have someone else around, great, have them watch the kids and walk away. Mommy and Daddy time outs are the best. IF you don’t have someone else around, find a way to take 5. A baby will be ok in a crib or rocker, little kids can play in a safe environment, even just step into a different room for a minute is refreshing. It may not completely reset yourself, but it will help bring your sanity back. **disclaimer, if the baby is crying and you’re anything like me (who can’t destress while listening). Putting him down isn’t going to actually help. Well then, good luck with that.
4.) Change environments. If their mood is blah and it’s turning to cranky too fast, move. That’s it. Move. If you’re inside, go out. If you’re upstairs, go down. You get the idea. Try playing in a new room – parent’s rooms are thee best – most kids aren’t allowed to play in there, so use that to your advantage! Read in a book in bed or play cards/puzzles on the floor. It’ll be such a novelty, the blah mood will change.
5.) If you can’t beat them, join them! Sometimes the chaos is just too much and there is singing, and screaming, and crying and everyone is running in every which way. Instead of going crazy from the chaos, embrace it! Turn on some music and dance, go outside and play tag, increase your energy and theirs will level off – I promise! Works every time. Also works for the older ones, because then you “scare” them and they’ll calm down and run away. Ha. Seriously though.
6.) Make time for yourself. This is not an “in the moment” tip. This is ongoing. Creating time for yourself and for your marriage is extremely vital to being a sane person. It is not selfish. It’s needed for everyone. You will feel so much better and more refreshed when you make an effort to do things that will rejuvenate yourself. For everyone, what it takes will be different. For Caleb and I – it’s working on our house to do list. We feel so much better when we know we are productive and working on our goal to move. It makes us better, happier, and more patient. The kids win when we are in that mood!
There you go, that’s it! Our best tips. Have any more to add to the list? I’d love to know your sure fire ways to stay sane!