About 6 months ago I vowed to work towards stress-free mamahood. This time 6 months ago literally everything was stressing me out, and it just wasn’t healthy. For me, for the kids, or for us as a family.
Looking back, I can hand on my heart say that pretty much everything that was making our lives so stressful could be put down to the way I was handling things. Like a lot of mums, I spend a crazy amount of my time and effort worrying about my parenting skills and generally feeling guilty for the things I feel like I’m getting totally wrong. I don’t think that is something that will ever go away, but I have found a few ways to minimise the stress and, with it, some of the niggling guilt.
- Setting Clear Boundaries. This goes for me and the kids! I have spent a bit of time working out in my head what I am happy to accept in terms of my own behaviour and the behaviour of my kids. The things that really stress me out are just not ok. It’s that simple. So I don’t accept those behaviours from myself, or from the kids! I don’t want to have to raise my voice, so I just don’t. Well… most of the time! but when I do, I make sure to work out what it was that got me to that point and work on it. Usually it’s something like my own disorganisation, or lack of food! As far as boundaries for the kids go, I think they are unique for every parent, every child, and every age. My real bug bears are the whiney voice that literally makes my brain itch, being ignored, and bad manners. These are the things that I make sure to always be very consistent with, and having the clear boundary in my own mind has helped to make it clearer to the kids what is ok and what really isn’t.
- Doubting Myself/Feeling Guilty. Ok, ok, so mum guilt never really goes away, sorry! But once I had those clear boundaries set in my head, it became much easier to ignore the niggling voice in the
backfront of my head telling me I was being mean. Every now and then I find myself faltering, wondering if I’m being a horrible parent because I won’t give in and let Amelia watch “just one episode of My Little Pony before bed pleeeeease” on a nursery night. With a clear set of boundaries, though, it’s much easier to explain to her that we don’t watch TV on nursery days – it’s what she has come to expect so there isn’t often a big fight about it anymore. She benefits from a better night’s sleep (as do we!) and her behaviour has improved so much since setting clear and consistent boundaries. Those things definitely help to keep mum guilt at bay!
- Knowing That I Am Doing It For Them. So this is a strange one to actually put down on
paperscreen, because everything we do is for the kids, right? And I wouldn’t ever want this to come across as me saying I think that anyone’s parenting skills are better than anyone else’s. Not least my own! I have no idea if I get it right more often than I get it wrong, and I certainly don’t have all the answers! I really don’t believe that any of us do! All I know is that each of us can only do what is right for us, for our kids, for our families, and focus on what is important to us. Something that I think a lot about is what kind of adults my kids are going to grow into, and what kind of society they will be going to live in. I would love to say that when they grow up, society will be filled with wonderful, selfless, hardworking, kind people, but unfortunately that’s just not something I can promise them. What I can do, though, is do everything in my power to equip them with the tools, knowledge, and life lessons in order to be that kind of person themselves. Unfortunately (don’t we all know it) as an adult, you don’t always get to do what you want, when you want. Sometimes you have to be patient and wait for things. It’s considered impolite to interrupt people during a conversation. A can-do attitude is often highly regarded. Telling people a meal they have cooked you is rank is generally considered a bit of a social faux pas. So these are just some of the life lessons that I am (trying) to teach my kids. Knowing that I am hopefully setting them up with life skills makes it just a little easier to take a toy away when Amelia is incessantly stamping her feet in temper.
It’s just a shame that Mr C has decided he’s going to try and teach Amelia to say “Your Mum” every time she lets one rip. Oh well, one battle at a time!
Bloggers; this is where you come in! I’m looking to start a stress-free guest post series featuring you lovely lot! So if you have any tips or tricks to share, your own experiences with stress (or no stress!) in parenting, do get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
If you’re after the full Stress-Free Mamahood series, you can find the EXCLUSIVE link over on my Instagram! You’ll find the full insight into how I (mostly) reduced the stress involved in our parenting to the bare minimum, and handy tools and tips into how you can do the same!