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Parenting is hard. Today was an especially hard day. During this pandemic, our jobs are changing from moment-to-moment and stress levels are higher than ever. While we try to maintain our cool around the children, they can sense that things are different. They are missing their friends from school, their family, going to parks and enjoying adventures out on the town. Parenting is hard anyway, but throw in a pandemic, and “normal” is thrown out the window, even when we are on the precipice of venturing out into the world to figure out what our new normal will become.
Being the parent in situations of high-stress is difficult in otherwise normal situations, but with these added challenges parenting is hard, maybe harder than ever. Stress is unhealthy, and prolonged stress can cause long-term mental and physical health problems if it is not handled properly. When one is met with long-term stressful situations, feeling “stuck” is a familiar feeling, and when that’s combined with actually being physically limited, finding a way to soothe your mind and body must become a part of your daily schedule.
Read More: How Stressed Parents Impact A Child
Schedule Time For Yourself Every Day
There is a belief that once you become a parent, it’s not about “you” anymore. In many ways, this is true, but if you don’t take care of the caretaker, then who will do the “caring”? Decide how you recharge. Do you need quiet time to be alone in nature or the dark? Do you need to spend time with your friends on a video chat? Do you need to go on a long run, or do 100 jumping jacks in the garage? Do whatever you need to do to recharge and then be intentional about it.
When you are blocking off your day, block that time first. Prioritize your mental health and take control of it. Then, do whatever it takes to make it happen and don’t feel guilty about it. Do you need to park your kids on the sofa to watch a movie for an hour? Do it. Need to send them out back with a bottle of water and a bag of chips so you can get your work done? Great. Sure, they don’t need those empty calories or an extra hour (or two) of Netflix, but they need a healthy parent even more, and remember, (not that a reminder is necessary) parenting is hard.
Create A Sacred Space For Yourself
Creating a sacred space doesn’t require anything religious, or even that much room. Creating this space can be as little as clearing a spot on a shelf for a favorite photo or as much as putting your favorite chair in a different corner of another room. What makes it sacred is what it means to you, and the intention that is behind creating it.
Once you have decided on your space, make sure that it stays just yours. Use that space to recharge and only use it for its designated purpose. Like all things, it doesn’t have to last forever, but it is best for everything and every person in the home to have an intention.
Parenting Is Hard: Ask For Help
It’s important for parents to have a support system in place. If you don’t have parents or relatives that live close by, then finding a way to secure a trusted sitter should become a top priority, and your second priority should be finding a second trusted sitter. Yes, it’s that important. Yes, your mental health deserves it. YES, parenting is hard-THAT hard. If your budget allows, budget in an hour or two for yourself weekly or monthly.
If your budget doesn’t allow any wiggle room for a sitter, then getting creative to find a way to nab yourself a free hour is in order! For example, a gym membership may offer a discount or free subscription to their child care center while you work out or read a book in a sauna. IKEA offers child care while you shop, and there’s even a restaurant indoors, so you could score some cute interior decor and enjoy a Swedish meatball meal. Win-win!
You spend every second of every day giving love and care to your children. Get through your hard parenting days by carving out time for yourself. A parent who makes their health (physical and mental) a priority will become better in other areas of their life, and that includes parenting.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Seven Ways To Prevent The Stress Of Being A WAHM.
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