You may be a kick-ass parent. Your kids may be model citizens. You all could live in an almost utopia and life could be grand 99% of the time. But sometimes parenting is just freaking hard. From toddler tantrums to teenage attitude, some days just blow chunks. What’s a mom to do? I have a few ideas.
1. Treat yo’ self.
Get thee to Starbucks. Or Macy’s. Or Amazon. Buy yourself something that you enjoy and love because sometimes a little pick-me-up is all you need to push through the bad day.
2. Give your kids an early bed time.
I don’t care if they’re 6 or 16. Banish them to their bedroom an hour earlier than normal and forbid them to emerge until morning. If you can’t see the problem — your offspring — then it’s not there, right?
3. Let them destroy the house.
If you have a toddler or small child, just let them go nuts. Set them loose in your makeup drawer. Give them all the pots and pans and wooden spoons you own — fingerpaint, a bowl of water, a block of cheese, whatever. Let them do something they never get to do so they can stay occupied and you can have a moment to regroup.
4. Connect with another parent.
Call a friend. Call your mom. Get on the phone with someone who will listen to your lament and tell you that it’s normal, and that it sucks but it will get better. Talk to someone who gets it. You’ll feel better getting it off your chest.
5. Plan something for you in the future.
Whether it’s a trip to the salon or a trip around the world, close your eyes and think about going there. Think about having time away from the crazy you’re currently experiencing. If you have something to look forward to — even if it’s just a fantasy — that little bit of hope can put just enough of a smile on your face to persevere.
I know it’s hokey. I know you hear it all the time. I know Daniel Tiger sings about it. But it’s true. Some deep breaths in a quiet place (like the linen closet) can relieve some of the stress you’re experiencing and help you relax a smidge. It won’t work miracles, but it can definitely help you calm down.
7. Remember it won’t last forever.
Try to recall a recent time where everyone was having a good time. The family was getting along, smiling, and even the grumpy teenager cracked a smile. Remember that time? Embrace it. Everything is fleeting including these terrible days. Cling to that.
8. Read a book.
Even if it’s just a few pages, books have the ability to transform you to another place or time, and can take your mind off of the shitty day you’re experiencing.
Just let it out, Mama. There’s no shame in having a good cry when it feels like the world is crumbling around you. It’s normal and healthy and necessary.
10. Take a nap.
If your kids are young enough to have a regular nap time, or old enough to fend for themselves for an hour, close your eyes and rest your body and mind. A nap is often a pipe dream, I know, but if it is possible, ignore your to-do list and just sleep, Mama.
They say the days are long and the years are short, and some days are just really fucking long. Remember that every parent before you and every parent after you will get through this. You will, too.