Parenting is Hard! 8 Tips to Survive!
I remember how eager I was to begin my family and start my parenting journey. My husband and I had been married for six months when I got pregnant with my first son. I wish I could go back in time and slap myself!
“Give you yourself a break! Time to adjust to marriage because parenting is HARD!” This would be the piece of advice I would tell my younger self.
No one can prepare you for the agony of pregnancy and pains of childbirth. Better yet, the restless nights, constant crying and basically not know what the heck you are doing all the time. Oh, the joys of parenthood
Try to prepare
This is a very hard task to accomplish. No one can truly be prepared for the physical toll parenting takes on you. I remember bringing my first son home and thinking… ok… what do I do now? And yet I had minored in child development in school. I thought for sure that would prepare me.
However, whatever preparation you can get in will be more information to lean back on when you are about to rip your hair out. So, before every stage of this hard but beautiful journey you should…
No, I’m serious. There are some amazing bloggers out there that have written about each stage of this parenting process from womb to college. They can give you ideas of what they tried and their parenting style. Here is an insight of how I survived my first year with both of my boys.
Understand what is happening within your body or theirs.
From pregnancy, terrible two’s and the teenage years there are different things going on under the surface. It is easier to be patience with a two-year-old, who is thrashing and screaming on the floor because you gave them the wrong colored bottle, when you understand why they are throwing the tantrum in the first place.
When you know that developmentally your child does not know what they are feeling or how to handle their emotions then you will know that it is up to you to teach them how. Just that bit of knowledge will help you calmly react to your child. Thus, teaching them how to be calm.
Books may sound so obsolete, but you’d be surprised at the wealth of knowledge you can find from an older book. Before I became a mother, I read a book my sister gave to me called Babywise A gift of nighttime sleep. I have followed and referenced this book many times through out the first year of both of my sons lives. It helped me see that sleep is something that must be taught and how to do it. You find it below if you would like to learn the best thing I have ever done for myself and my babies.
Seek out the successful survivors.
This may sound crazy, but my own mother successfully survived SEVEN children. Five boys and two girls. I would be stupid if I did not try to learn her ways.I personally could not handle seven children and do not even have the desire to try but my mother can tell me things she tried to help her children to sleep, soothe illnesses that only hop from one child to another, and how to get kids to eat (this is a bigger struggle then you may think.)They may even consul you when you are struggling. It is easier to manage the day to day hardships with kind words of encouragement from someone who has been there. It is also fun to hear the horror stories they endured to make you feel better.
How to Cope
Everyday of parenthood is different from the last. Each day that child grows older and challenges change. Some days are infinitely harder then other for many different reasons, lack of sleep the night before, teething, tantrums, illnesses, start of school, and potty training (the bane of my existence right now). However, there are different things we can do to help us cope on these particularly bad days.
Did I mention google it?
I can not tell you how many times I have googled potty training. Which has been my challenge for the last six months. Oh yes, you read that right six months! It the poop which somehow can go everywhere other than the toilet. If you haven’t been there yet my deepest sympathies. If you have conquered what I have yet to defeat I salute you! Do not be afraid to research the challenge you are encountering and seek out what others have done that may give you relief.
Seek out mom friends.
This has been a struggle for me because I am not very social. Sometimes my anxiety gets the better of me and I only want to be in the comfort of my own home. However, this is important for everyone’s sanity.Just how addicts have support groups, mothers should have support groups as well. A means to air our grievances, receive encouragement, and just to know that we are not alone. Do not be afraid to set up play dates, go to Gymboree classes, or even reach out to mom groups on Facebook. This can give you strength because strength comes in numbers.
Now, I do not mean setting unrealistic goals like getting a baby to sleep through the night at a month old. (If you baby was doing this then I do not want to hear it, I was not so lucky). Set daily, weekly and monthly goals. Taking a shower once a day is a great goal for any new mother. Taking a nap is a must for any overly tired mother.Make them bite sized and attainable. If you set a large monthly goal, then you need to make smaller goals to help you achieve that larger goal. For example, the p word, POTTY TRAINING! If your goal is to have you child fully potty trained in a month then you need to set smaller goals to achieve that. A smaller goal for that could me get rid of diapers permanently.Every mom needs some goals to help her feel accomplished. Nothing makes you feel like a better mother then when you reach one of those goals with your child.
Me time/We Time!
This is the most important tip to remember. Out of everything that parenting entails this is one of the most vital aspects. Because If you do not maintain who you are when parenting seems to swallow everything else up then you, your mind, and your happiness will get lost. Find time to have me time. It doesn’t have to be much.
In fact, my husband works until 10:00 pm 5 days of the week. I put the kids to bed and have me time. This is my piece of heaven that rejuvenates me and helps me to know that I am still me and not just mommy.
My me time usually includes something sweet to reward myself for surviving or getting through my goals that day. Sometimes it includes a load of laundry to fold as well. But it is always time alone and something that I enjoy.
Now I say we time as well, which is husband and wife time, because there should be time that you and you husband have for each other. I only get this we time twice a week after the kids go to bed. One of those nights we try to go out and have a date night. The other is Netflix and chill.
This time is very important as well. You both need time to be happy together to remember why you fell in love and to know that you still enjoy each other. A solid marriage brings happiness to yourself and your children.
Do not lose yourself and your marriage as the demanding parenting duties keep growing. Set boundaries so that when the kids grow up and leave you can say you are happy and your happy with your spouse. This is a marathon not a sprint so try to enjoy it. It will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life if you do not let it overwhelm and break you.