Parenting series

Staying sane while parenting

Blogging about parenting seems to be a lot about stress, and especially early parenthood is a huge life change. Here’s a couple of helpful hints to cope with facing a massive amount of parenting: 

Take breaks 

  • This is the cardinal rule of parenting. Take breaks and make sure to (overall) keep your inner balance. Taking breaks is important to stay in touch with yourself as well as getting enough distance to appreciate your family. 
  • Taking breaks can include spending time with your spouse. Put effort into making this time memorable. Don’t go crazy but pay attention to doing something special every now and then. Go clubbing once a year, build something together, have a picknick in a park, sport together… break out of your daily routine every other week. 
  • Taking breaks also includes activities with yourself. Where are the little moments in which you can see yourself clearly? It may be swimming in a lake, on your way to fetch a bottle of beer in the night, riding the bike with sleeping kid(s) in there… Take one of these moments to yourself every day. 

Live a balanced life 

Being a role model includes living a life you would be happy to see your kids live. Living a balanced and fulfilling life includes pursuing a range of activities (to different degrees). Find space for the following next to parenting: 

  • Work. If you do not have one, get a job that makes you independent and gives you a role and place in society other than as a parent. 
  • Sport. Do something for your body, it’s your temple and cannot be replaced. Continuous care for your body is a great way to do something for your quality of life in the long run. 
  • Passion projects. Do small passion projects or pursue a passion, like playing an instrument, writing, or arts. This should be your way to express yourself. Do this just for yourself, and not for anyone else. If you create something, make sure to get it done, before starting something new. 
  • Community. Invest in good relationships. If you have kids, having an active social life becomes harder. Don’t give up investing in good relationships, even if you only meet few friends every other year it is important to relate to wonderful and inspiring people and to feel connected. 

Play 

  • Kids invite you to share their abundant joy of life. All too often their invitation to play and explore with them is overlooked with all the work there is to do. Next to keeping your kids sane and healthy, make a conscious effort to find times and spaces where you play with them – just for fun! 

Find pleasure in chores 

  • This may be the hardest thing to learn but it’s a golden path to happiness. Take the little things seriously, find pleasure in the home you are making for yourself and your family, and the way you are accommodating everyone in this world. Focus on the task at hand and move one step at a time. Cut yourself some slack if you need a break but there’s no end in sight. 

Get help and support 

  • Even if you don’t need it now, get help! You will need it at one point. Having more breaks then you feel you need is the smaller problem. And with kids it’s unlikely that you’re ever done with your work. 
  • Kids also benefit from a broad network of people to rely on. Equipping them with plenty of relationships can be a good step in giving them self-esteem and towards raising independent adults that can speak up for themselves. 

These hints are not very different to the overall ideas for how to live a fulfilling life. Come to think about it, they are pretty much the same. But is that really surprising, when that’s the whole point of having kids: living life to the fullest? 

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