Parenting is like riding a roller coaster.
There are moments when everything is great and you’re up high and happy and you have a good perspective on things… and then there are moments when you just feel like you are falling and failing constantly at rapid speed.
Sometimes there are even years where you feel like you’re wearing boots with cement and you’re trudging along going nowhere (or backwards).
Have you ever had weeks, months, or years like that?
What do I mean by parenting challenges?
It could be anything! Here are a few ideas…
- My child can’t seem to figure out potty training
- My child keeps hitting me and friends
- I haven’t slept a full night in 3 years and it is like torture
- My daughter was just diagnosed with special needs
- My kids throw a fit about what I cook at every meal
- My spouse and I can’t agree on anything related to discipline or parenting
- My son’s preschool keeps calling me and telling me he can’t listen
- My oldest daughter keeps drawing with Sharpie on the walls around the house
- My son is being bullied at school and I don’t know how to help
- My toddler has constant tantrums, all day long!
Today I’m going to share four simple tips that have helped me (and continue to help me) during these really hard times.
Here are 4 simple tips to help you survive hard parenting challenges:
1. Focus on one day at a time
When your kids are going through a hard stage one of the worst things you can focus on is the future and worrying how this challenge will impact him in the future.
Have you ever done that? When you start spiralling downward worried that this one challenge is going to impact his ability to get a job, make friends, do well in school, or become a functional adult, etc.
You aren’t serving yourself or anyone else well by worrying about the future.
Focus on today.
Give yourself that gift.
Don’t worry about what is ahead.
2. Change your perspective
One of the greatest things I’ve learned from some amazing people that have gone through hard experiences is that you can learn so many things from your challenges… if you let yourself.
Have a pity party for yourself anytime you want, but then snap yourself out of it and look for the growth.
Try to figure out what you can learn from these hard moments, weeks, months.
- Maybe they will teach you empathy for other people going through similar challenges?
- Maybe you will learn to be more patient and kind?
- Maybe you will learn how to ask for help?
“Storms make trees take deeper roots.” - Dolly Parton
There is a song I love to listen to when I am going through a hard parenting phase that talks about how “We’re stronger than we know.” One of my favorite lines of the song is “Every mountain is always worth the climb, though the wind blows and holds us back sometimes.” The song also talks about how challenges take our hearts and show us who we are and help us to become better people.
Would I prefer to be left alone to enjoy my ice cream and my family with no challenges? Of course!
Down the road, years from now, will I be able to look back on some of the challenges we experienced and be grateful for what I have learned from them? For sure.
Would it be helpful if I could try and see some of the good things happening now? Definitely.
That takes us to our next section.
3. Focus on Gratitude
It is much easier to focus on the hard parts of life and parenting. Sometimes it is even fun to complain and commiserate with people.
Choosing to be grateful and look for the good is the harder path.
One of those ways I focus on gratitude is by writing down a few things each day that were the highlights of the day.
Here are a few things I’ve written in my gratitude journal before:
- I did all of the dishes today! (not something that happens every day, LOL)
- Catie decided to throw a ball to Andrew and play catch in our pew when I was out in the hall with Annabelle and Ryan during church. I was so mad… yet thought it was so funny.
- Grateful I survived teaching a Russian dance to our Daisy troop.
- Today Annabelle touched my face and hair and said, “this is beautiful” and then kissed my cheek.
Sometimes the only thing I am grateful for is surviving the day or that the kids are asleep… but that counts!
4. Don’t judge someone’s highlight reel
Often when you are going through challenges it is easy to look at everyone else and think that they’ve gotten off easy and their life has no problems and they have perfect kids.
From personal experience I know that is rarely true.
We typically only see the surface level.
Some people are only having minor challenges in their lives (in your mind)… but for them, those are HUGE hard things.
Some people are having big challenges but they don’t want to burden their friends/family or they want to keep things private.
Everyone is so different.
Did any of those simple ideas help? Can you think of others that you think about when you are going through hard times?
What current parenting stage is hard for you?
What parenting stage are you loving right now?
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