- Not wanting to open your heavy eyes and wake up in the morning, because the day ahead of you will be full of really tough situations that you have no clue how to deal with successfully…
- Avoiding going to bed at night because you know that the few hours sleep that you might get will be too short, and then you will have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning exhausted, answering heaps of difficult questions that you do not have the answers for, and wishing that you could just take a day off…
- Regretting so many circumstances that have happened in your life, too many bad decisions that you have made, and (beyond counting) the number of times that you have lost control of yourself…
- So weighted down that you literally feel like you have a fully-loaded backpack on your back all day long, and that your cloudy-mind cannot remember how to focus and think clearly anymore…
Have you ever felt any of these feelings as a mother or father?
Had any of these thoughts before?
Have you been so hopelessly depressed at the state of your life that you wondered why you thought you could ever be a parent in the first place?
How about hating every single minute of your housework and / or cooking, but not telling anyone because as a parent, you are meant to be so good at keeping a home, with it all coming to you so naturally, as well as making the most of it, all at the same time?
Well, whether you have been through these desperate times described, are going through them now, or perhaps might encounter them in the future, I am hoping that this article will be a real encouragement to you (and for you to keep very close in your heart for the future).
Also knowing that there are way too many parents out there that think the same way as you do, will help you to not feel so alone in this world that is full of terrible unnecessary pressures.
It is okay to have those feelings:
I did and still have many days of doubting my abilities and choices. That is why I decided to put together this message of hope, to let you know that it is okay to have those feelings in your situation, there is nothing wrong with you as a person and as a mother, and that there is a way to make your life much better, more enjoyable and worth living.
I am still putting it all into practice, but I can see clearly now (“I can see clearly now the rain has gone…”) that as I remember to do the things that I will discuss with you, I notice a huge positive difference in my life and that of my family. When I focus on the negative situation instead, things fall apart very fast and cyclone into a terrible heap of a mess.
Mothers are not taught the really important things
I think that it is totally crazy that with every other occupation in the world, people are required to study masses of information for very long periods, and then are expected to pass difficult exams before they are accepted and able to start that particular career, but when it comes to motherhood or being a parent, (which is a very definite “occupation” and so incredibly important) mothers are only told a few things by their mothers or grandmothers or sisters and maybe friends, and sometimes in the hospital where they give birth.
We are given basic information on how to perform a few tedious jobs with our babies such as: how to burp, wrap, hold correctly and change a baby’s nappy; what to do when he/she gets a temperature; how to bath the little one safely; or how to know whether the baby has enough layers of clothes on.
We are never taught about the really important things that affect the child for the rest of his/her life, like:
- Their emotional and social development;
- How to recognize the signs of SPD (Sensory Perception Disorder), and then how to handle your child when you discover that they do have SPD or other forms of autism;
- What to do and not to do if you have a Strong-Willed Child;
- How to deal with an emergency situation when your child falls and breaks a piece of their front tooth off, or their nose starts to bleed;
- How to get your toddler to agree to put on, and then keep their jacket on when it is a freezing cold winters day;
- How to deal with days and days (or months and months) of lack of sleep…
These and many more issues like them, take:
- learning to listen to your little voice inside (your intuitions), and
- knowing where to research the answers or who to safely confide in (forming a great trustworthy circle of support around yourself).
Coping with everyday life with children
When it comes to managing to cope with everyday life with children, and the ups and downs that this brings, I have learnt a few lessons and tricks to making this journey easier. I have stumbled upon most of them the very hard way (over the last eleven years with raising four children), and these are the ones that I feel are the most important (for me) to remember constantly:
- Always ask your child permission before you do anything to or for them, such as wiping their hands and face, putting their jacket on, picking them up, cutting their food for them etc. This can prevent a heap load of screaming, tears, negativity, misunderstanding and unhappiness, as the child then feels that they have a say as to what happens to their little bodies and their belongings. I have seen a massive change in my children when I do this. The child learns to trust you and express themselves in this safe environment. If they say “no” to any of these, then you can suggest that they do the task themselves, or explain in a quick, concise and assertive way the reason for the task – and possible consequences of doing it or not doing it.
- Praise your children passionately and honestly as often as you can. Their little faces light up and it softens any atmosphere very quickly. It also makes you notice their hard work and efforts more regularly.
- And along those same lines, look your child in the eyes whenever they are talking to you and when you talk to them. This forces you to concentrate on what they are saying, and to listen properly without being distracted.
- Give your children as many choices as possible. Whenever you can, and whenever it is safe, let them take responsibility for their little lives which will take a lot off of you later when they are older, and it will teach them to make good decisions at an early age. You can ask them things such as: would you like apple juice or orange juice; would you like your hair tied up in a ponytail or in plaits; would you like to wear the blue jacket or the red one…
- Touch your children in a loving manner at every possible opportunity. Hold their hand warmly when they are next to you, touch their shoulder firmly but gently when they are talking to you, put them on your lap during reading time etc. This strengthens your bond with them and helps you to remember how special they truly are, no matter what is happening or has happened, and it reminds them that you are their mommy or daddy, and not just their disciplinarian.
- Make sure that you are as healthy as you can be. Yes, you read that correctly. Not your kids, not your family (although that is very important too), but you need to be super healthy first, so that you are able to look after your family:
- Take the right supplements (such as vitamin B complex high in Vitamin B6 which helps with fatigue and balancing hormones),
- Eat wholesome energy food,
- Keep yourself sufficiently hydrated,
- And look after your own happiness (listening to music that you love, treating yourself to your favorite food once a week, have a hobby you enjoy…)
This might sound and feel selfish, but if you are not holistically strong then you cannot focus on your family (with a clear mind) in the way that you should, as you will be focusing on how terrible you feel or look all the time instead. Enough sleep is too often not possible as a parent with small or sick children, but accurate food, hydration and supplements can help you to get through those rough sleep-deprived times more easily. They can put the colour back in your life:
My tip off to you, my suggestion, is to read over the six topics that I discuss above, and then choose one of the positive actions to work on every day this week. Write it down and place it somewhere within easy view, and every day when you wake up, remind yourself to focus on that action at every chance that you can.
To summarize, these are the actions:
- Asking Permission;
- Praising passionately;
- Looking in the eyes;
- Giving choices;
- Touching lovingly;
- Being a healthy parent.
Try to get into a habit of asking permission, praising, looking directly at your child, giving choices, touching lovingly and being healthy. Every week for six weeks put into practice one of the actions and focus on that one until you have done each action in the list, and have then turned them all into a lifelong habit. Doing this will lead to you being more at peace within yourself, and able to cope with your days, looking forward to them in a positive way instead of dreading them.
None of the above actions take finances, anyone else’s help, a lot of time, or a degree to make them work. They just take focus, patience, a clear mind and an open heart.
Take each day one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. Do not let life escape you!
Take back the control (and happiness) of your life. Fight for it, because you can do it!