This past week was one of those weeks that felt never-ending and extra-challenging.
I believe (I think), that parents all experience weeks where our kids are just struggling, and the extra stress puts more demands on already spread thin parents. For us, it felt like a double edged sword. We were stressed, which was making our kids stressed and act out, which would amp up our own stress and short fuses.
This week was far from perfect, and as parents we struggled and fumbled while attempting to handle challenging behaviour and outbursts. I may have had my own outbursts that rivaled my kids’ this week.
My husband and I both worked together to be intentional this week when we felt like we were drowning under the weight of parenthood.
Here are a few things we discovered helped us to manage the stress and get through some difficult parenting days this week:
- Give each other self-care breaks: Last week my husband was at the end of his rope, and I quickly shooed him out the door to go for a thirty minute bike ride to cool off and get some quiet time in. He returned a totally different person, and was more calm and collected. Likewise, he’s send me out to a coffee shop to write, or up to my room to read, so that I could also decompress in moments that feel too much.
- Walk away: This is something that I am working towards. When everything becomes too challenging and I know that my response is not going to be calm, cool or collected, the best thing for everyone is for me to walk away. Go into the bathroom and lock the door, sit on the porch for five minutes, whatever it is to just cool down and collect myself before going back into the circus that is my home.
- Manage your expectations: One thing that has been causing stress is the chaos of mornings. My husband has started riding his bike to work, which leaves me to do drop off my oldest to school, and attempt to get to where I need to be on time. Some mornings I have been trying to get to a yoga class that is just a little to early to make it on time. I finally had to realize that I was not managing my expectations, and the stress of trying to get there was causing me to lose control. I wasn’t being very zen, so instead, I am letting go of that particular yoga class to regain my calm.
- Ask for help: Whether it is from paying for a babysitter so that we can go out on a date, or asking a grandparent to come over to offer relief, or getting to a therapist to talk out stress, finding help is crucial to managing particularly stressful parenting seasons. Find someone who can lend a hand, because it really does take a village!
If you’re like me and your week was particularly difficult, take a deep breath, there’s always tomorrow to try again.