By Clayton Thomas
Recently, I was with a cousin who asked me, “How do you keep from getting stressed out while working with your kids?” This is an important question because the more stress you feel over time, the more problems you are bound to have with parenting. When it comes to working with complex problems with teenagers or simple tantrums with toddlers; it’s important to have a clear state of mind and general calmness. Everyone knows there will be times when we will get upset with our children. That’s natural. The problem is when we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders AND we get upset. That’s not healthy. Therefore, here are some tips on taking time out for yourself so you can more effectively work with your children during difficult times. It’s my hope you can think about the points I’m making and apply them to your life.
Prioritize yourself. This is an area a lot of parents I know could do a better job. If you are like me and enjoy massages for example, don’t book just one. Break out your calendar and book a massage once a month for the rest of the year. Everybody needs a break. This includes your kids who (truth be told) could use a little break from you occasionally. The same scheduled breaks could be used for shopping or girls night out.
Pedicures: Are you on your feet a lot due to work, exercise, and/or raising your kids? If so, an occasional pedicure may do the trick. Around kids, I like to be light on my feet. Therefore, I get pedicures occasionally. (Hold the jokes please- colorful polish is not used)
Gym membership: This is essential in order for me to stay calm. Sometimes, raising kids is frustrating no matter how good a parent you are. Getting to a gym regularly gives me extra energy to work with my kids. Also, when I walk, run, or lift weights, there is a release of pent up energy I can physically feel. By the time I start working with my kids again, I am a bit tired but relatively relaxed and ready to take on the next challenge.
Babysitters- Getting to know the local high school kids in your area is critical. You should have a list of people to call when you need to get away for short periods of time. If you have family in the area, that’s even better. I understand that babysitting costs can add up. But in my opinion, extra money should be set aside for this expense. It’s that important.
If possible, swap kids with friends to get away during your time of need. In other words, watch your friend’s kids for an hour one day so they will watch yours on another day. Money will be saved and you’ll still get that well needed time away.
In the weeks and months ahead, I plan to be writing on a variety of topics that are parent/child related. We’ll talk about matters such as discipline, education, and relationship building. Here’s the thing though. If you don’t take to heart today’s lesson, the other areas I’ll advise you on won’t be as effective because you won’t be the best you. When you are at your best and feeling good, your kids will sense it and feed off it. There’s no doubt in my mind that over time, you will visibly see the difference.
Have a super day and better tomorrow!