Uninterruped Parenting Part 2 – Coping strategies

I left off last time by saying, "I feel fortunate that not only can I handle more than I thought, but
to know what it looks like when it gets to be much. " I'd like to add that perhaps most
crucially, I know that I can handle that too. Some of the ways I handle
that include:

  • When I start to feel mad, like mad that the little one is still
    awake and not cooperatively slumbering, I can put him in the crib, leave
    the room, and call someone.  And not be mad at myself for feeling the way I do.
  • Just knowing it's okay to feed frustrated, annoyed, or downright mad, and to identify those feelings makes me less anxious, and more able to plan around my own self-care needs, even in little ways..
  • Connecting. It's hard to connect when you're exhausted and too
    exhausted to great lengths (or minor effort) to see people or call
    people. But even telling people via email, text, voicemail, or facebook-
    just reporting it, can make it feel a bit smaller. Even if it makes you feel a little whiny.
  • Making it as easy as possible: the playground that's fenced in and I can sit on my butt on a bench. A moment of dumb tv for me or the kids. Out for pizza somewhere that my son is entertained by traffic (ie outside seating on a busy street). Doing whatever activity feels easiest.
  • Being easier on myself. I don't always have to do the coolest stuff with them. I don't always have to feel great about hanging out with them. I don't always have to cook from scratch. Being lazy sometimes can make me a better functioning, aka better, parent.

Finally, I'd like you all to know that there are people who will listen if you are overwhelmed as a parent. One I keep on my fridge is this:

Parental Stress Hotline: 1-800-632-8188.

I find that knowing these folks are there is calming and comforting even though I've never needed them. And if you do, no one would ever know. But having the information is a way of taking care of yourself, your kids, and feeling a bit more in charge.

Next time: How dealing with my house changes when I am with my kids nonstop.