If you have children, you know raising kids presents challenges on your best days. Parenting through uncertain times and when we ourselves are not feeling 100% is even harder. And, let’s be real when Mom isn’t feeling great, the whole family feels it. So, what to do about it?
First, let us start by acknowledging that NO ONE can be their best selves 24/7. Yes, even MOMs are human. We will have good hours and bad hours, but the goal is to foster more good ones and minimize the effect of the bad ones.
Here are my top 3 go-to steps that have proven to be helpful.
1. BE REAL - it’s important to be clear and honest about what’s going on when things aren’t going well. Trying to act like nothing is wrong only makes us exhausted and confuses our kids (that intuitively know something is not well). Experts agree there is not a one-size-fits-all guide on how much to say to kids and what words to use; so every Mom needs to decide that based on their child’s personality. But, addressing what’s happening head-on with our children will ease some of the struggles for the whole family.
2. ASK FOR HELP - When it comes to action, this is the key…enlisting allies. Of course, that means you have to be willing to reach out for help. I have a hard time asking people for help but I am super lucky that I have people in my life who recognize that. Those that love us truly want the best for us, but sometimes support needs to be carefully cultivated, even when it feels uncomfortable to us.
3. ADJUST EXPECTATIONS - During stressful times, I have to re-calibrate and scale everything back. This may mean adjusting your expectations of what a normal day looks like, and sometimes that means just surviving until bedtime. It doesn’t even matter if the kids logged in extra screen time, stayed in PJ's all day, did takeout for dinner, etc. Did you make it to bedtime? You’re good.
Parenting is a tough gig under the best of circumstances, and when we’re struggling with stressful, uncertain times it can feel especially overwhelming. I hope knowing that you are not alone has helped a little and that the above ideas can provide some assistance. I leave you with one last reminder…it is totally fine that whatever solutions you pick to cope may not reflect some mythical idea of what motherhood is. And that is OKAY! Keep it real and keep going.