When Parenting Gets Overwhelming

Today I had a rough day. I was so done with my kids by ten o’clock this morning. They wouldn’t listen, they wouldn’t eat their meals, they wouldn’t play nicely with each other, anything they could dump on the floor, they did, and they kept yelling at each other and crying over their fights. I spent most of my morning raising my voice so that they could hear me.

I’m usually pretty good at keeping my calm, but with the combination of the kids, a dirty house, and the stress of trying to buy a new house (we might be moving soon!), I was at the end of my rope in terms of patience. So, it was time to go into survival mode today.

First step: Deep breaths. I know it sounds cliche, but it works. At least for a couple minutes. Once I take a couple good breaths, I can usually tackle whatever yelling/fighting or mess making is going on. I did a lot of breathing today.

Step two: Find a distraction. Try turning on the television and putting on a movie. And then switching the show because they aren’t watching it and are fighting. And then changing it again. You can also get them engaged in games, helping in the kitchen, helping you clean up their messes, or introducing new toys into their playing. Maybe some that don’t make a huge mess. Avoid blocks.

Step three: Change venue. Despite the distractions, sometimes, it is just a matter of time before you need a break. Then it’s time to try a change of scenery. You can go to the park, play in the backyard, do some shopping, just something to get the kids out of the house and can give you a little respite. If you have a baby, you can throw them in the crib for a bit. I love throwing the kids in the stroller and going for a walk. They are all tied in and separated, so usually it’s very peaceful. Today as it was a little cooler, we went for a drive. It was really nice. All the kids fell asleep, and I went and got a cheap coffee and doughnut and read a book while they slept. I can’t say how much of a life saver it was. When the kids woke up, we went to the park and they got out a bunch of energy. They were still cranky, but I was in a better head space and was able to recover the patience I usually have with my kids.

While these are my steps, I’m sure all you other parents out there have your own. The important thing is that if you get really overwhelmed, try to take a minute for yourself. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom for 15 minutes. At least you have a couple minutes for yourself.

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