Being a parent can be stressful, I don’t think anyone would deny that. Raising kids is a full time occupation in itself and as they grow and develop there are always new challenges to face and phases to get through. Being a parent forces you to make huge, important decisions about how you want to raise your children which is why it is important to learn to let go of some of the small stuff. If you’re stressing over big decisions and also allowing little everyday things to add to your stress levels, then chances are that before too long, you will explode. And no one wants that. I’ve always been a very relaxed and calm person but having children took even my stress levels up a notch. I’ve made several conscious decisions and changes to my mindset to help retain my sanity and I thought I would share them with you all, in case they can be useful to you too.
We all have our own ‘big things’, our non negotiables. The things that matter the most to us when raising our children or just in life in general. For me, the big things as a parent are manners, time outside, happiness and creativity. A showroom standard house is not one of my ‘big things’, but it might be one of yours and that’s okay! Your non negotiables could be home cooked meals every day, or at least an hour of outside play. You just need to figure out what the things are that you want to prioritise and then stick to them. Once you’ve figured out your list of big things, you will know what doesn’t make the cut. If something is only a ‘little thing’, don’t let it stress you out if it is the ball that gets dropped that day. One example would be that it is important to me that Darcie says ‘please’ so that is something that I focus on, however it is much less important to me that she hugs and kisses family members. So if I only have a limited amount of effort to give in a day, my focus will be on the ‘please’ not the hugs and kisses – they are just a bonus. I hope that makes sense.
As the owner of one beige and one cream sofa, I know only too well how stressful it can be when your toddler eats a chocolate biscuit in the lounge. I see those chocolatey hands in slow motion as they hover over my fluffy white cushions or pull at my cream curtains. But the thing I always remember is this: stain remover exists. In fact, stain removers are pretty miraculous these days and can solve pretty much all domestic disasters. I want to be able to have nice, light coloured furnishings but I also don’t want to be stressing about them. So I don’t. I simply close my eyes and do a mental stock count of my cleaning cupboard. On a similar note; laminate flooring is your friend! (Karndean Vinyl Flooring have a great range on their site if you’re in need of inspiration). I’m so happy we went for laminate flooring instead of carpet as it is just so easy to keep clean and I don’t even have to think about stains. Get yourself a spray mop and you’re good to go!
Will it matter in a years time? It doesn’t even have to be a years time. Think about next month, next week, tomorrow. Will the thing which is currently causing you stress even matter by then? If the answer is no then don’t give it more brain power than it deserves. If you don’t manage to hoover and mop today, will that matter by next week? No, of course not, there will be another time to do it. If your toddler spills ketchup on a good outfit, will you have forgotten by this time next month? Almost certainly. So don’t let it ruin your day.
It’s only too easy to get carried away thinking about potential scenarios that could happen as a result of ours or someone else’s actions. However, I think the worst thing you can do is allow our self to become worked up over something that literally hasn’t happened and quite possibly never will. That’s not to say you shouldn’t consider the future and the consequences of your actions today but try to keep a check on reality too. I find it useful to be as present as possible in everyday life to not allow my brain the extra energy to worry about potential future happenings. This is so much easier said than done, and I know I’m lucky that my brain is wired in a way that allows me to be quite good at this. But it’s certainly something to be aware of. Once you are aware of it you can try to be mindful of how you think about certain situations and future scenarios and not allow your brain to torture you with them.
Equally there is really no point stressing over things that have already happened. Once it has happened it is out of your control, you can’t change the past. If your toddler has run wild with a felt tip all over your white painted walls, all you can practically do is think of how you are going to clean the mess. Fretting about how and why they came by the pen in the first place quite frankly achieves nothing and distracts your focus from solving the problem at hand. Sure, consider how you can stop it from happening again but allowing yourself to become worked up over the situation is pointless and will ultimately only distress yourself.
These are just some of the ways that I limit stress on a daily basis. I’m a pretty calm and laid back person in the grand scheme of things so hopefully some of these tips can help any of you that are a bit more tightly wired. I’d love to know any of your tips too, we can certainly all learn from each other!