As a full time occupation, parenting can be a demanding job. You can’t postpone it because you feel like doing something else, you don’t get any days off, and you can expect it to keep you busy for the next two decades or so.
Here we present some tips and tricks to avert the tension and keep up your mental well-being:
Find Something to Occupy Your Free Time
Joy is where you find it, so pick something that will fill the times you aren’t busy. Learning a new language, playing chess against the computer or drawing can all stimulate your mental muscles during the minutes or hours you aren’t actively spending with the children. Ideally, especially if you have young kids, this pastime will be something you can start or stop at the drop of a hat – examine your interests and look for something that will temporarily take your mind off your domestic chores. Not having to think about these every moment of the day will help keep you out of a mental rut.
Figure out When Things Are Most Difficult
Younger children are typically raised with routine in mind: getting up, getting ready for the day, regular naptimes and bathtimes. How these are spaced and managed can keep too many things from happening all at once, and if you keep track of the times you often have your hands full, you can probably find ways to work around the worst parts. Perhaps you can start preparing dinner while the kids are resting, or tell a bedtime story during their bath.
Listen to Music
Calming, familiar music can put any of us into a better frame of mind. It can also be stimulating for the little ones, so when you are at your wits’ end as to what to do to burn off their extra energy, you can all sing along with the alphabet and maybe learn something, too.
Get Enough Exercise
Fresh air and a bump in your heart rate is good for everyone, so make it a habit for everyone to go for a walk around the block, or make time for a few yoga stretches or a couple of minutes on the treadmill every day. This will not only be beneficial to your health, but allows you a block of time which you don’t need to spend exclusively on caring for others.
Make a Weekly Schedule
It’s far easier to get out of bed when you know more or less what the day will bring and how you’re going to deal with it. Setting aside one morning a week for playdates, another for housework, a third for shopping and so forth will help you embrace each day calmly and with a plan. Trying to handle every task on Friday will just leave you frazzled, especially if something unexpected happens.
Find Independent Activities for Your Kids
Children can actually love to learn and help out (to the best of their abilities). As a stay-at-home mom, you have the opportunity to teach them a wide range of useful skills, from light cleaning to setting the table to baking cookies. See what educational toys are available for their age range; after you get them set up, they can often entertain themselves for hours while you manage to get some work done.
Occasionally, Just Take a Step Back
We can become agitated and even come close to losing our temper without even realizing it. This is a physical process: our heart rate and blood pressure increase measurably, while all the while we’re still convinced that we’re totally holding it together. Be aware of when your emotions are running away with you, and if you see that this is happening, count to ten and take a couple of deep breaths. This will help you see the situation in perspective again, and allow you to go on with your day in a purposeful yet care-free manner.