As you know, I love social media and I believe it is such an incredible way to communicate. I’ve said before that I understand the challenges that it presents as well and I encourage you to use it wisely.
I was browsing through my feeds the other day and found myself captivated by the parenting updates. You know the ones, the challenging days when the juggle and the stretch that can get the best of us. Below are some of the posts from exhausted mums who are simply putting it out there.
- ‘A white coat with straps and a van to the asylum is very appealing right now.’
- ‘Mum, my school uniform smells like vomit.’
- ‘Started Tuesday with tantrums and time-out. Jesus, take the wheel.’
- ‘Pushed to the limit today, emergency Champagne has been cracked.’
- ‘The hardest part of parenting is trying to be fake mad when your kid does something bad but hilarious.’
- ‘Parenthood is like looking both ways before crossing the road and getting hit by an aeroplane.’
- ‘Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare.’
- ‘Don’t yell at your kids. Lean in really close and whisper, it’s much scarier.’
These posts made me laugh and my laughter was that one of understanding because I GET IT. Parenting is challenging, it’s one of the hardest jobs on the planet but definitely one of the most rewarding. It takes effort, it often feels thankless and at times it can hurt. Parenting itself isn’t that challenging but GOOD Parenting is down right hard.
I want to encourage you today to keep going. I want you to know that every long hour, every piece of clothing you fold, every dirty dish that you find around the house and every messy nappy is so worth it. Every time you collapse into bed after a long day, every time your heartstrings are pulled and you feel like your heart is walking around on the outside, all of those feelings are valid. All of the comments above, the social media posts from parents are real. I know you know that but I say it again to remind you that you aren’t alone and social media offers us a space to connect, to see that others are facing the same challenges as well. I love these posts because they are the real part of life. They are the ‘beneath the surface posts.’ By that I mean they aren’t the photos or updates of the perfect family, the spotless kitchen and the clean car. Rather, they are real and they allow us to connect in a way that is helpful.
I have learned over the years a few ways to help make it through the hard and challenging times. I’d like to share them with you.
- Take time for yourself to be quiet. Turn off all the noise that surrounds you and find space to quiet your heart, your mind and your soul. After all, we are body, soul and spirit and we need to nourish all of those spaces. Peace and quiet are good for that. Whether that be a long bath, a walk by the ocean a hike or even a coffee on your own. Carve out time to just be and to breathe.
- Get as much rest as you can. Don’t begrudge yourself the mid-day nap if you need it once and a while. Avoid getting stuck in series after series of Netflix (trust me I know this is a challenge… I hear it a lot) because I know how that robs every one of much-needed sleep!
- Whatever game you have on your phone that is gobbling up your time DELETE IT. Again, you’re going to have to trust me on this one, I can’t tell you how many parents (and especially mum’s for some reason) were caught and stuck in Farmville (remember that?) then there was Fruit Ninja. I know, you’re amazed that I’m so ‘up with things.’
- DRINK WATER lots and lots of water. You’ll be amazed how important water is in our day and most of us don’t drink enough water. Sounds simple, I know but we can get cranky, short-tempered and exhausted simply because we are thirsty.
- Exercise…. as tired as you are a healthy, strong body is happier. It’s true and studies prove that when we are moving our body and staying active our overall well-being is improved so get MOVING!
- Intimacy – yep, I’m going there. Make sure you have time with your partner. Time for just the two of you to keep the intimate part of your relationship healthy and strong. I won’t go into too much detail here but don’t neglect this, it can turn into a pressure point.
- Friendship is so important and I would advise that you have someone a little older than you who you can talk to when things are hard or tough. Having someone who has ‘been there done that’ gives perspective to situations that help immensely. They may not have experienced exactly what you’re going through but they will help you see that you’ll make it through and not to sweat the small stuff.
- Have FUN. In reality, we have our kids for such a short time. Enjoy them, enjoy the mess, the crazy, the tough times and savour the moments.
- DRINK WATER stay hydrated. I know I’ve repeated it but just want to make sure you got it……
Laugh at yourself as much as you can. Laugh at yourself, at the moments that present themselves, laugh when your home gets stressful, laughter has a way of soothing the soul, warming the heart and easing the mind.
I hope these help and that you are encouraged and inspired to keep going. Parenting WELL is challenging but it’s SO worth it.