Thursday, January 31, 2013

De-Stress (because this IS hard)!

Like a lot of parents, I often share the cute pics, the funny stories and typically count my blessings, but parenting is hard. It can be outrageously hard. It is one of the hardest and greatest things all bundled up into one. But with so much going on as parents, if we don't take time to de-stress we'll surely burn out.

Before kids, I always thought I'd know how to perfectly handle every situation with my children. Of course I pictured having adorably-witty, academically-gifted, chronically polite and impeccably clean children that miraculous governed themselves. My kids are sweethearts and they're complicated at the same time. Turns out, they're human. 

Kids are messy, unintentionally ungrateful and completely high-maintenance - as it should be. So what I thought was supposed to happen before having kids is less of a picture perfect process and more of a combination of power struggles and compromise. It's a ton of tantrums with plenty of sweet kisses in between. It's learning as we go and adjusting to become better. After all, us parents are humans too!

We can't be super parents and we shouldn't have to be. But for all parents, it's critical to take time to breath. When we begin to feel overwhelmed, time away from our children to de-stress is super useful. Now it can be as simple as a few quiet moments every week. Maybe take time to sit in silence, do the little things you enjoyed while childless and take care of yourself. For me, de-stressing is as simple as spending an afternoon alone at a coffee shop. There I can unwind by reading, writing, and refocusing on just how amazing motherhood is. 

With newborns, de-stressing could mean taking a longer than usual shower (and that's often all the time you'll get away from a rightfully demanding baby). As kids grow up, maybe you de-stress with a good book & bubble bath (alone), talking with other moms, skimming (for articles of support) or exercise.

Find the things that help you de-stress and refocus as a parent, heck, as a person. Because parenting can be switched out with a lot of things (i.e. profession, personal relationships). De-stressing aides all areas of your life. Choose a method that works for you and commit to doing that at least once weekly. Because motherhood, like life, will have its ups and downs, but with a little calm and self-care, those downs will feel less overwhelming while the ups come to be truly savored.

How do you de-stress and how do you know when it's time to? We want to hear your tips.

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