Parenting has its own rhythm. Ebb and flow. Give and take. I’ve found that, although I may not be hands-on all of the time, I still need to be engaged, in some facet, because my kids know when I’m not. They all have that kids’ special radar that picks up when Mark or I aren’t “present.” And then interesting things happen…
So what can moms and dads do to continuously be connected to this dynamic, ever-changing, frustrating, and rewarding thing called parenting without losing and exhausting themselves?
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep renews your well of patience and clarifies your muddled brain cells, providing you with a fresh perspective and energy to tackle just about anything.
- Exercise. Yep. Take the dog for a walk. Ride a bike with your kid. Play a game of horse with your basketballer. Are you adventurous? Strap on some roller blades… (Doing so will also provide immense entertainment for your kids and the neighbors.)
- Eat well and stay well-hydrated. You’ll feel better and more energetic. Reduce the sugar, salt, cholesterol, and fat in your diet. Summer is great for fresh vegetables in the abundant farmers’ markets.
- Be kind to yourself. Really, try hard to do this. Really, really hard. Life can be tough enough without you beating yourself up. Come up with your own positive reinforcement, perhaps your own personal mantra. Have trouble? Partner with your spouse or a friend and pat each other on the back.
- Dive into your own downtime when your kids are having theirs and stick to it. (What? They don’t have downtime? Implement some.) Do something you enjoy, something that “centers” you.
- Keep your sense of humor and if you’ve lost it go find it. If you still can’t find it, go borrow some. (Turn off the news…)
- Remember, “This too shall pass,” things always look better in the morning, after a good night’s sleep, and no one is perfect.
- Hug your kids often and tell them you love them, even when you don’t like their behavior. Touch calms, connects. Expressing love makes everyone feel good.
I’m only a mom with four active kids, but I have found that much of what I’ve bulleted above helps me to embrace my unique parenting rhythm. What works for you?