Have you ever gone to bed thinking that you just had the worst parenting day ever – if you are a parent, chances are this has happened at least once in your parenting lifetime.
Parenting is a bit like dieting – you wake up and think to yourself today is going to be different but by the time 8 am rolls around, you’ve probably lost your cool, you’ve growled at one of the kids and are wishing you could deliver on the promise you made to yourself. “Today I will not yell.” Alternatively, at the very least, you want to make it all the way past getting your kids to school and yourself to work.
Come to think of it, parenting is exactly like trying to eat healthily – you know you want to do it, you know what you need to do but the cookie jar in the office kitchen seems to have your name written all over it.
How do I know this? That is easy; because this was me not so long ago.
Being a grumpy parent seems to happen despite our best efforts, because we are under so much pressure to get so many things done on a daily basis. You know the drill, there is work, there is shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, homework, sex with your partner, you know you should be exercising, eating well, looking after yourself but let’s be serious, who has got the time or the energy.
By the time 9 pm rolls around, and the kids are finally asleep, all you want to do is, put your feet up. And then you remember, you haven’t prepared school lunch yet – OMG no rest whatsoever!
For most of us, our kids seem to know exactly what to do and just how to get under our skin. The obvious result, we are totally unable to keep it together and we tend to lose the plot.
Of course none of this is news to you so here are a few ways that you can stop being a “grumpy pumpy” (also known as “aka” an unhappy, grouchy parent) and move towards being a happy chappy” (aka a smiley, optimistic, contented parent).
Stop the yo-yo parenting now.
- Figure out who you are – the minute you become a parent, it is almost as if you seem to disappear. Think about your hopes and dreams– do you even remember what they are? Being a parent is one of the most rewarding things in the world but be warned, your kids will eventually move out and you probably do not want to wait until then to lead a fulfilling life – so discover what is important to you right now. Be sure to focus on fulfilling your desires maybe you want to learn new things, connect with people, grow your skills. Just because you have become a parent, does not mean you need to stop living.
- Do something you love – When last did you do the things you absolutely love to do – read a book, go for a walk on your own, attend a yoga class, catch a movie– Whatever. If it used to make you happy, start doing it again. By taking the time to focus on you, you will be giving your soul the nourishment it needs and deserves and building up your resilience to respond positively to your kids when they display a will and desire of their own. (Encouraged by parents everywhere, except when your child is defying your parental demands).
- Notice the things you like about your kids – so often as a parent you are so absorbed with the administration of life you actually forget to live. Watch your child and notice the amazing special qualities that they have – focus on the positive of what you see and more than that, acknowledge what you see them doing well – Praise them for the behaviors you approve of no matter how immaterial they might seem. Being nice to a sibling, helping you carry the shopping (even if you have to ask them to assist). Create a love tank of all that you admire in them. They will love the recognition, walk tall with pride and you might even be able to overlook their one off behaviors that you do not approve of.
- Pick your battles – does it really matter if it takes 15 minutes to get them to start their afternoon routine? It might actually help the rest of the afternoon run smoother. If you can avoid an argument over minor things, the kids will take you more seriously because you have not been picking at them all afternoon.
- Think about saying yes before you say no – how often have you automatically responded “No?” Think back to when your kid was a toddler and their automatic reaction to everything was “No” – Do you remember? Frustrating right – so consider how your child feels if every time they ask for something your immediate reaction is no – try thinking about it first – you might realise that saying “YES” is much easier than saying “NO”.
What steps are you taking each day to stop the yo-you parenting and be a less grumpy parent?
Struggling to make it past 8 am, without losing your cool, join our 7-day free parenting on purpose challenge and discover how else you can turn your parenting frown upside down. Starts Monday 7 December 2015. Get in before the chaos of the season!