I’ve had some pretty intense professional jobs over the years, but I’ve got to say that none has been as tough or as rewarding as being a mom. The highs are spectacular, but the lows can be rough. Sometimes the highs outweigh the lows, and sometimes the opposite is true.
What do you do when the lows start to get the best of you? Lots of cliché sayings fit here…quotes about “happiness” and “joy” and “parenthood is the best thing ever” and blah blah blah. (These quotes are pretty accurate though)
The truth is parenthood isn’t always rainbows and unicorns.
Sometimes it is overwhelmingly colicky babies, dirty clothes, sleepless nights, messy cars, destroyed rooms, broken dishes, clogged toilets, and lost toothbrushes. Add your own anxiety, depression, or stresses and these low times can feel like the perfect storm.
I’ve found two things can drive substantial changes to perception and actions.
-First, identify those things you can and cannot control.
-Second, identify the rules you live by…and figure out which of those can be broken.
For me, understanding what I can and cannot control is usually pretty easy. Identifying rules that can be broken and being ok breaking them is a lot harder.
semi-strict home+Christianity+military influence+liking rules=Difficulty in breaking “rules”
The “Rules” I Break
I’ve been working on this, and I’ve found a few things that fit this category and have made normal home-life a little easier. They seem like small things, but over time they add up.
1-Socks: I no longer match my kids’ socks. I make pairs, but I don’t care if they wear different colored socks. Same for my workout socks—I need them to be the same type but not the same color.
2-Pajamas: I don’t fold my kids’ pajamas. I throw them in the kids’ underwear drawers and forget about them. The kids are going to pull them all out anyways, right?
3-Dishwasher: I read this on a post somewhere and it hit me like a brick. Who says you can’t run a dishwasher twice (other than my mom)? It’s not ideal, and I try to limit wasting water, but if I have to choose between an emotional breakdown and running the dishwasher twice, hand me that soap!
4-Baths: Kids going ape-shit crazy and you can’t calm them down? Put them in the tub. Still acting a little wild? Put them in the tub, turn out the light, and setup the tablet with a movie for them to watch. Magic! Stay nearby obviously, but you can setup with some wine and your phone, or a book, and hopefully they chill for you long enough for you to catch your breath.
So many things we think are “rules” are really just “suggestions” driven by society or our upbringing. Is it legal? Do the benefits of not doing it outweigh the consequences of the inverse? It’s all about balance. Taking care of your children, your family, your home, your job, AND yourself…and that order will change on a daily basis.
Love others. Love self. Love coffee.
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