It’s hard to be happy when the strained peas that you were trying to get into your toddler’s mouth are now in your hair. It’s equally difficult when your terrible-two-year-old has refused to put on clothing and is running around the backyard naked during your family dinner party.
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While there are many joys associated with parenthood, the day-to-day often produces a decidedly different emotion. Instead of pulling your hair out in frustration or eating your way through a half-gallon of ice cream in an attempt to calm your nerves, try some of these tried and true tips for maintaining your sanity while raising your little ones.
1. Accept Imperfections
Repeat the following mantra: “I don’t have to be perfect. The kids don’t have to be perfect. The house doesn’t have to be perfect.” Tell yourself this often. Striving for perfection isn’t bad, but driving yourself to insanity while doing so is.
It’s okay if your kids’ clothes don’t match or your counter top isn’t wiped down before you take the kids to school. If you accept life’s imperfections, you will likely find them less stress-inducing.
2. Get Sleep
True, it’s easier said than done, but getting quality sleep is so vital to your stamina and happiness that you should make this a priority.
Take naps with your kids. When they go down to bed at night, don’t linger in the family room too long indulging in rare adult alone time. Head to bed so you can get the sleep your body needs.
3. Admit That You’re Stressed
Lots of super-moms try to make it look like they’ve got it all under control while, instead, they are virtually drowning in a sea of duties and obligations. It’s okay to say you need help. When your friends, family member or partner ask you how it’s going, be honest.
You aren’t going to accomplish anything by lying about it. Let these people support you, mentally if in no other way. They may be able to offer some ideas to make your life a bit easier.
4. Lean On Your Partner
If you’re lucky enough to have a co-parent in your life, take advantage of this asset. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to vent to this partner often.
Take time alone with them to keep your relationship strong and healthy to ensure that it flourishes despite the rigors associated with raising kids.
5. Focus On Organization
Having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place can make your never-ending quest to keep the house tidy so much easier to accomplish.
Invest in shelving and storage boxes and spend some time organizing the odds and ends that fill your house. Once the clutter is tamed, you will probably feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.
6. Lighten Your Load
Yes, it would be adorable to have a chevron accent wall in your tot’s nursery or a hand-crafted Halloween costume to slip onto your little goblin come trick-or-treat, but the world won’t stop spinning if you can’t do these things.
If you have the time to do extras, go ahead. If you’re overwhelmed to the point of frustration, prioritize and let the extraneous tasks go. Your kid won’t love you any less because you didn’t have time to make them a piece of melted-crayon wall art.
7. Stop Trying To Force It
You can make your life as a mom much easier if you simply go with the flow. If your munchkin wakes up grumpy as can be, don’t try to push ahead with your planned zoo trip. Be open to modifying your plans to suit your kids’ moods and preferences and you will most likely find yourself engaging in less conflict and feeling decidedly less stressed.
8. Let Yourself Laugh
While it may be frustrating to clean up the trail of pee your potty training tot left as they chased their sister down the hallways, in a decade or so you’ll be laughing about the incident as you share the story with family.
Allow yourself to see the humor in the situations in which you find yourself. As a parent, you’ll end up in loads of them. Remember that your little one will be all too big, all too fast.
9. Treat Yourself
Recharge your battery with a dinner and drinks with friends or a solo trip to a cool and quiet movie theater. These little luxuries can make getting through the most difficult periods of parenting so much easier.