I had a little chuckle today when I was going through my blog’s statistics. There, listed under “search terms” of how folks find this blog, was the search term “signs of stress of parenting.” It was sort of funny to me, I don’t know why, but I thought, “If you are looking up for signs of stress in parenting then either you are not a parent and you are doing a research paper, or if you are a parent and you are looking this up, then …well, you probably are stressed!” It seems like most of us who are parents know all too well the signs of being stressed and harried!
But then I turned myself to a serious note, and thought about this person. Maybe it was someone who really is feeling on the edge and was searching for ways to combat that awful feeling. I have talked to a lot of mothers lately, and this time of year does tend to make many mothers feel on edge – finishing up school, lots of competitions and performances for those children involved in outside activities.
So, here are my top ten signs of parenting stress:
1. You feel harried and hurried.
2. There is never enough time.
3. You are irritable with your spouse.
4. You feel resentful your spouse gets to go to work, leaving you ALONE to do everything.
5. You are so tired that you could check yourself into a hotel and sleep for a month.
6. The usual stash of hidden chocolate (don’t all mothers have this somewhere?) is not working.
7. You are yelling at everyone.
8. There is absolutely no time, not even fifteen minutes, for just you and you alone.
9. The house is a disaster.
10. You are crying a lot.
Sigh, What to do? Here are few suggestions, do take what resonates with you:
Pray: “Dear Lord, I am in this big mess of too many things to do and too many places to be. Please help me discern what you want me to do!”
Slow Down and Prioritize – what absolutely has to be done? Where do your children absolutely HAVE to be? Do that and no more! Can you take a day off of practice or rehearsal or a day off of something and just be home?
Get Your House In Order – I think many women cannot function if their house is not in order. It is good to use some time to do that, even if you have to “miss” a morning of homeschooling to do it.
Get Sleep! Are you going to bed and getting up a consistent time? Are you getting enough sleep? Where is your after-quiet-time lunch?
Diet: Are you living on coffee, caffeine, sugar? Getting your diet in order will make you feel better before, during and after your menstrual cycle and make you just plain nicer to be around. Of course, doing this will no longer help you mask the fact you are doing TOO MUCH.
Lower Your Expectations: I talk to mothers all the time who have four or five children (or more) under the age of 7. Please, please, lower your expectations! You are doing great if all the children are fed and playing with no emergency room visits by the end of the day!
For Chronic Anger, try this back post (remember this post, long time readers?): http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/05/an-emergency-how-to-how-to-parent-peacefully-with-children-under-age-9/
Fit in fifteen minutes of exercise.
Ask your spouse for help if you have a spouse or partner available; if you are single parenting, round up your resources and ask for help as well.
Be easy with yourself as much as possible.
Know when to cut your losses. For example, at times you just need a day to get out of the house, and take all the children to the park instead of doing school.
Hope you all are having a sunny day!