Staying sane as a parent – I won’t lie, I have had some seriously BAD times in my first two and half years of parenthood. Times when I thought I might just go a little cuckoo (hey, haven’t we all?). But somehow, it hasn’t been all in vain because I have actually learnt something along the way. How to stay sane AND be a parent at the same time. Holy moly! Does that cocktail of parenting advice even exist? Yes, I actually think it is possible….it only took me to get down to the rock bottom to discover it though…but these are the 10 rules I am now living by in order to hold on very tightly to my sanity, and sweat a few less bullets along the way….
1. Switch off (some of the time)
You will notice that conveniently, this features at number one on my list of ways of staying sane as a parent. Seriously, there is only so much total insanity you can be tuned into all day long. Imagine you are a total mindless idiot, with just a bunch of tumbleweed careering through your cortex. Oh and that you have a hearing problem too. This really is better than waiting on a hill top waiting for lightening to strike you, which you may end up doing otherwise.
What’s that I can hear? BAHAHAHAH!!! Yes yes I know, sleep does tend to evade you when you are a parent, but that is why I highly recommend the tried and tested reverse lie-in, so coined by yours truly whilst deep in a valley of hell. Find out more about perfecting the art of the reverse lie-in here.
3. Switch it up
Unless you are a single parent, which is in my mind the hardest job in the world, if there are two of you have an incredible asset at your disposal when staying sane as a parent…it’s called…TWO OF YOU! In case you hadn’t realised, you don’t need to do it all by yourself. Pass the buck at every conceivable opportunity, and clock off at weekends.
4. Get away
This means more than just hiding in a cupboard crying into your coffee (not strictly getting away now is it?). But seriously, a night or two away for the kids is not going to lead to the end of the world, and you will be on immense form as a result. Now how can they but not thank you for that?
If you can’t get away from the kids, getting away WITH the kids it still better than a poke in the eye – a change of scenary can do wonders for our bemuddled minds! And if you can’t get away in any shape or form, just taking the time out for a couple of hours to do something you love to do is a pretty good compromise.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
This relates somewhat to number one, but as soon as you realise that in the grand scheme of things, most of the stuff you are freaking about doesn’t really matter, the world is a much more beautiful place. It may be your circus, and it may be your monkeys, but who can reason with monkeys anyway?
6. See it from their perspective
We adults tend to have all of these annoying control freaky ways which to kids, is just a massive bore. The best thing I ever did was to get inside the head of my toddler, and basically, sort of submit to them and be there to facilitate whatever it is they need to do (when they need me to, without being a wet blanket of course). I had this epiphany after a really bad patch when I started listening to these parenting affirmations – a bit hippy I know, but it really worked!
7. Have fun
Let’s face it, having kids is STRESSSSSSSFUL! So if you get all the bad stuff with no good stuff, then frankly, what is the point? Once I relaxed a bit on all the boring things that needed doing (again, the world didn’t end when they didn’t get done) and spent more time larking around with the little critter, then suddenly, things became a whole lot more enjoyable, and larking around is actually…very therapeutic. Just think of it as your daily dose of endorphins.
8. Ditch the perfection
Perfection – totally pointless, meaningless, waste of time nonsense. For more on why I think striving for perfection is like having a bath in setting concrete, read what I have to say about it here.
9. Ask for help
In this life, if you need something, you better shout for it – and loud. That goes for a lot of things, including being a parent. It took for me to almost lose the plot entirely until I realised I had to ASK for help (because you know, people stop offering once they are no longer babies but things are hard in other ways). Better ask for it until people notice you are falling apart and then offer. They are still usually only too happy to help – it’s just our silly pride and befuddled brains that tend to get in the way.
10. Love the daddy
Remember that guy you fell in love with before the little blighters appeared on the scene? Well although you might feel like poking him in the eye a fair bit, this parenting gig is generally a whole lot less insane if you…well, show him the love. With chaos descending around you, if you guys hold on tightly to each other rather than chewing each other’s forearms off in despair, it generally makes tuning into that tricky frequency of Parenting FM a little easier.
What would your rules to staying sane as a parent be? The above, or perhaps you have some other strategies up your sleeve? Do share in a little comment…
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