As we all know, parenting is the most challenging, overwhelming and tiring job. Every step we take will, in some way, form our children, leaving an imprint on their futures. Even as I sit here trying to write, my children distract and disturb me every three minutes…
‘Did I eat enough?’ ‘Can I have a treat now?’ ‘Jack is annoying me!’ ‘Mum, look at this really cool (read: absolutely awful) thing I made with play-doh.’ ‘Watch me role this dice over and over again.’ ‘Can I have some water?’
It can be hard to stay calm and focused when your little ones are always looking for your attention.
Sometimes, we become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work we need to do, both at home and in our careers. Sometimes you just want a break.
That said, it’s important to remember that our children are just that: they are children. They were born into this world, entirely dependent on others to take care of their basic needs. We, the parents, vowed to be their providers, teaching them basic skills and guiding them through life towards becoming independent adults. It’s a high-pressure job but very rewarding in return.
Children are very impressionable, and each little reaction or experience will stay with them until they can no longer remember why. They won’t understand why they suddenly become stressed when making dinner for their own kids, or why as an adult they feel rejection when their partner asks them for a bit of space to deal with their own stresses. The way we react to our children as young people can influence them more than we might realise in the long term.
Stress creeps up on you gradually, slowly working you into a frenzy until before you know it, you’re snapping at the kids for no good reason. Annoyances that you would ordinarily be able to handle, you might find now suddenly push you over the edge. Learn how to identify your triggers and nip them in the bud. Once you start to notice your patience decreasing, take a step back and soothe yourself. Stop, inhale deeply, hold for a moment and slowly exhale. Repeat if needs be. Returning your focus, you’ll find it easier to offer your children the attention or support they need.
Remember that you’re not alone in feeling this way, and that you need to take care of yourself as well. Your children might come first, but don’t put yourself last.