It has been a tough time for parents, especially moms, in the last few months. With school just now being out for summer some of the pressure stops.
The pressure of the pandemic and of the protests has made life to be more filled with stress — but now that you are no longer being your child’s (or children’s) teacher you will feel some definite relief.
It is important for you as a parent to find ways to relax yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed. It is even a time for you to let your child see you taking care of yourself. Sure the house is messy, the baby is crying, your babysitter isn’t available, you have to go to the store and your partner has been under a lot of pressure, too.
Relaxing is critical at times like these. So here are some ways that might give you some relie:
• Try slowing your breathing little by little until you can count to ten between each breath.
• Tense up your arm muscles while you inhale. Hold it for a few seconds then relax them while you exhale. Do this for different muscle groups. Then do the same for your entire body.
• Think about a calm scene. Even though it’s only in your head, just imagining low stress conditions allows you to think productive, healthy thought about real life.
• Talk to yourself in encouraging ways. Take a thought like “I can’t get him to behave; I must be a bad parent” and replace it with something like “Kids this age can be difficult sometimes; it will pass.”
• Increase your physical exercise. Walk more. Bring your child with you because she needs the exercise too.
• Take a relaxing bath in the tub. Imagine all the problems going away as you watch the water go out the drain.
• Talk about your feelings with your partner, your neighbor, or a relative. Many times just talking about the issues will give you relief.
• Think how you can get a break by having a date night with your partner or with a friend.
Stress is a natural part of life and you will never totally escape it. Don’t beat yourself up; just do your best to catch yourself and cool down when your blood is boiling. You will be a happier person and a better example.
It is important to remember that you teach our child lessons in life with all of your behavior. She is more likely to do what you want her to do when she sees you doing the same thing. If you easily become angry, she will feel that is what she should do. If you are stressed out, that sets another example for her.
Talk with her when you are feeling stressed. Talking with her will help you even if she doesn’t understand all that you are saying. Make sure you let her know you love her. Give her hugs because hugs matter. Give them regularly.
When you give a hug, you get one in return. Now that is worthwhile.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. To reach interim First Teacher Executive Director Patty Waite, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-681-2250.