The other day a parent said to me, “Sometimes I wish for someone to take my kids for just 10 minutes”. She went on to talk about many of the unhealthy ways she has been attempting to find sanity in her busy life. Clearly she needed to vent; and maybe she was looking for someone to justify her actions. Regardless, let take a look at what was really going on.
What exactly is sanity? I know that this term has different meanings for different people. According to the dictionary, sanity is:
- the state of being sane; soundness of mind.
- soundness of judgement.
For me, my soundness of mind and judgement suffers when I am overwhelmed. Being a parent is very demanding, especially when the kids are all trying to get your attention at once, argue with one another, and constantly interrupt. Combine their needs and behaviors with the daily routines of chores, appointments, activities, and work; and you’re left with little to no sanity!
Let me lay this out for you…
Kids will be kids. They will continue to draw attention from you. After all, you are a parent and your priority is to care for your kids. Put a smile on your face and raise those kids right!
If you work, you probably work for a reason. Whatever that reason is, you’ve got to do it. Again, put a smile on your face and do your job well.
You’ve got chores to do and groceries to buy. Can you see where this is going? Yup, no choice here either. You have to do these things so put a smile on your face and do it.
This is life. You can choose to go through it miserable or use that smile to change your daily outlook on life.
And this is a big bonus…your kids will observe you going through life managing things well and with a positive view (most of the time anyway). Think about it, are you the only parent who struggles with keeping their sanity? Absolutely not! When your kids are adults themselves they will have the similar struggles. Start now by modeling how to manage stress and low sanity levels. Hint…yelling, drinking, and screaming are coping skills that you DO NOT want to be teaching your kids!
Give some of these a try
- When the kids are talking to you at the same time or interrupting you, give them a non-verbal signal. Do this by holding up your finger to indicate that you would like them to wait a minute. Depending on the age of your child you may need to do this more than once. Of course the exception comes when they have an emergency. Teach them this so they know what is considered an emergency.
- Elicit help from the family. Ask your spouse to take care of some of the chores and create a chore chart for the kids. Even young kids can do some vacuuming or put toys away. If everyone pitches in you’ll find that your stress levels will be lower and your sanity will be higher!
- Don’t demand perfection. Life isn’t perfect and neither are you and your family. Accept imperfections and move on. There will be bumps in the road and we must all keep going.
- Breathe! Breathe! Breathe! When sanity is running low, close your eyes and breathe in deeply. Do this a few times for a quick refresh.
- Set aside one hour each day just for you. Most commonly this happens when he kids go to bed. Take your hour to watch TV, do some online shopping, exercise, take a bath, or whatever strikes you at that moment.
The Most Important Thing
Your children are beautiful blessing and are only little once. When you are starting to feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, remember how precious your children are. They look at you as their protector, teacher, and the person that loves them no matter what. Show them how important they are to you by giving them gentle teachings of how to correct their misbehavior and also how to juggle a busy life in positive ways. The results will be wonderful for you and your kids!
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Barb, LMHC, CPC, Ed.M, CAS