Offspring; the apple of your eye, your sweet little darlings, sponges of love, thieves of sleep and all round controllers of life. They give you joy you’ve never experienced and love you’ve never known. But that doesn’t mean they’re not bloody hard work, their moods can change completely at the mere wake of a nap – or lack thereof – taking the day in a completely different, frazzled direction.
I’m a natural worrier, but I want Henry to look back on his childhood and remember me laughing and smiling rather than with an expression of stress etched across my face. So far this year I’ve been pretty successful in embracing a new-found laid-back persona, so much so that I actually think I’ve always been relaxed and carefree, and started masquerading as a highly strung worry wart around 2011 when I had the job from hell. So here are a few tips I’ve found to leave me feeling chirpy, because happy big = happy little:
Take each day at a time…
I used to panic at the prospect of a week without plans, worry about the future, in particular – returning to work. It turns out that I’m not going back to work and the decision was largely out of my control so I spent far too many hours wasted worrying. I’ve learned to take each day as it come and it ultimately means I’m living more in the present, enjoying moments as they happen and not having them tainted by fretting about what may or may not happen the next day, week, month or year.
…But that’s not to say don’t have
While I like to take each day at a time I also like to keep one eye on the future, keeping in mind where I want to be and focusing on the steps I intend to take to get there one at a time, rather than worrying about how I’ll get there. Having children is actually a great time to evaluate what you want in life and even a great time for a career change. I enrolled in a college course which I attend two evenings a week and I intend to work towards a new career which I can work around and adapt to my family. *I recently read a great post about the power of mindfulness, and using terminology to make things feel more achievable. Having intentions, rather than goals doesn’t come with the connotations of failure and is therefore much more positive.
Do something for yourself everyday.
Whether you’re on maternity leave, a stay-at-home-mum or a working mum it’s hard work. Have a little bit of time everyday to do something you enjoy – reading, having a bath, watching Corrie – to keep you sane. If you can’t do it solo that day, walk to the park via the coffee shop, bake a cake, arrange some flowers. There’s loads of grown-up activities that the tiny’s can get involved in too and so everyone’s a winner.
Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air & a smile…
If you’re stuck in the house and everyone’s miserable, it’s amazing how going for a walk can be a game-changer. Smiling is also infectious, be the weirdo who smiles at strangers. You might brighten their day too.
…And don’t overestimate what you see on social media.
People only show what they want you to see. What you see is a beautiful picture of a well-turned-out toddler. What you don’t see is that ten minutes after the picture was taken, said toddler poured the dogs water down his front. True story. Appreciate a nice picture for what it is, but don’t think the person behind it doesnt share similar problems to you. They probably do.
Where you can, when something frustrating happens try to see the funny side rather than how inconvenient it is. Probably best to delay or stifle a giggle when your child is flinging yoghurt at the dog – I like to think of myself as a reasonably responsible parent – but losing your temper over it achieves nothing and it’s probably best to take it in your stride. Embracing a bit of silliness livens up the day. I dance and sing for Henry to distract him from his hunger while I’m making breakfast and he finds it hilarious. His little giggle is contagious so I’ll do (almost) anything for such an appreciative audience.
So there you go, do you have any tips to share?