2016 Jun 28
Parenting with Joanne
Burnout, in parenting can be best described as a feeling of utter helplessness, fatigue, and frustration. We have all been in that place at least once if not many times and we all know that it’s a place often challenging to rise from. Whether you have an ‘easy’ child or a child with significant behavioral concerns, being a parent, comes with stress. I want to suggest to you, 6 ways of thinking that can help our everyday life as a parent and keep us from reaching a point of extreme stress. Look at them, as promises, if you may. Promises that you need to make to yourself.
“I am my child’s parent”
Too often, parents; especially first time mothers, get into the unconscious habit of comparing their own parenting strategies with those of other parents. While this may be done with a genuine intention of making progress, many times the result can be a feeling of exasperation. Here’s what I have to come to understand as a fact. You cannot be someone else! Your parenting will never be completely like someone else’s. Therefore, embrace the fact that YOU ARE YOUR CHILD”S PARENT and be confident in that truth. Whatever you do, with your child’s best interest at heart, can never really go wrong. Be willing to allow your own parenting to surface without crowding it by making one too many comparisons along the way.
“I choose to look at the positives”
When times become demanding and there seems absolutely no way out but through, make up your mind to focus on all the positives about your child, your relationship with him, and anything that is to do with your child. This is a mental strategy that works like a pill in situations where hope seems too far away. This isn’t to say that you turn a blind eye to whatever needs to be fixed, but it definitely implies that you are going to have a more positive outlook on how you handle trying times. Cherishing the fact that your child has been successfully potty-trained, can, although seemingly insignificant against a terrible tantrum that doesn’t seem to settle, serve to remove the weight of the dark clouds of work undone, hovering above you.
“I am not afraid or ashamed to ask for help”
Yes, we have been called to a 24/7 job once we enter the threshold of parenting. But that doesn’t make us supernatural. We need to step back at times and realize that we are humans indeed. And every human being has limitations. Do not be afraid to seek help from a loved one or a friend when you have to. As a parent, having a reliable support group, can make the crucial difference between experiencing an ongoing burnout to actually enjoying parenting.
“I will take care of myself”
Let this truth also sink in! You are not doing anyone a favor by neglecting your own health while obsessing over doing everything for your child. Your health is and will most surely, always be your biggest wealth as a parent with numerous demands placed upon your time and energy. Taking time to look after yourself, by having healthy meals every day, exercising and getting enough rest will only pay off in making you a more relaxed and happy parent. This need is one which can be supported by loved ones who are willing to step in when you need a break for yourself.
“I am ok with being ‘good’”
Although many parents may not admit this, even to themselves, we are almost always burdened with the idea that there is a ‘perfection’ that can be attained as a parent. And we strive for this, whether conscious or not. This journey towards this ‘utopian perfection’ can itself become an exhausting. Tell yourself, that you will be happy with doing the best you can. Tell yourself that you will be happy with having a ‘good’ day with your kids as opposed to striving for a perfect one.
“I will prioritize”
Not everything around the house needs to get done immediately. Likewise, not everything that involves your child needs to get done immediately. The more you wrap your head around this, the more you begin to see that some things, like clearing toys out of the way on a busy afternoon, can be kept for later. This goes hand in hand with that idea of perfection that we addressed a while ago. Learning to prioritize on a daily, hourly, basis needs to become a habit if you are to avoid reaching extreme points of frustration.
Joanne Sathyadass has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature from the University of Bangalore now serving as a Special Needs Educator
For any queries please email Joanne on firstname.lastname@example.org