Moms – this one is for you! Ever been at the grocery store enjoying your little ‘vacation’ from a house full of kids, whining and negotiations when the hubby calls and jolts you out of your few stolen moments of heaven (yes, a kid free grocery outing can feel like heaven), and you hear the kids screaming in the background and a desperate daddy asking “when are you coming home?” Yes, we have all been there, and most of us have even rushed home to save daddy and the kids! Next time…tell daddy you’ll be home when you’re finished and remind him that he is their very capable father. Then stroll around leisurely between the aisles until YOU are ready to return. Daddy and the kids will survive and neither will be scarred for life. Taking care of you is equally important for your sanity!
What else can you do to maintain your sanity?
Create and stick to routines: Just as the new baby benefits from consistent eating, sleeping and bed time routines, so do older children and adults benefit from knowing what comes next. Routines provide an element of knowing, a sense of comfort, a feeling of safety. We don’t have to guess or fight about or negotiate what comes next, we just know, and we stick to it. Routines bring a sense of flow to our ever-hectic days and help us all stay a little saner. Create as many routines as you can for you and your kids so that there is less guess work and less to negotiate in the day to day.
Family rest-time: Downtime is important for everyone, time to be with our thoughts or at least not be negotiating or threatening or nagging. Kids need some down time every day to unwind from the day, to practice self-soothing, to be with their thoughts, to listen to their inner voice, to be creative, to self-talk and to simply rest their going and going developing brains. Moms need down time to stay sane! So let the laundry or the dishes sit a little while longer and take a few minutes of downtime every day to recharge. You can lay down with your kids and read a story or quietly look at books or each go to your own corners for some alone time. However you do it, just do it! You will all benefit.
Make time for yourself and rely on others: Be it a few minutes a day for a long shower all by yourself or a kid-free run to the grocery store or a yoga class or a lunch with grownups, you need time for you. Utilize daddy when he is around or enlist the help of a babysitter, a good friend or grandparents. Nothing will happen to your kids if they are separated from you for a few minutes or a few hours as long as they are with someone you trust. Get some mommy-time in to rejuvenate and recharge and refill your emotional energy tank so that you can continue to give-give-give to your kids without blowing up! Rely on those you trust and remind daddy that he is as capable as you are! (Ouch, I know that is hard to say, but it will buy you some more time to aimlessly roam round the grocery store by yourself and that might be worth it!)
Galit Birk, PhD is a PCI Certified Parent Coach® and Owner of CORE Parent Coaching based in Dallas, Texas. She writes regularly for the CORE blog and is a contributing guest to DFW Child’s various blogs and publications.