Let’s face it: Parenting is hard, with a capital H. Building confidence as a mom and a parent takes a level of sustained energy from that seems — and often is — unrealistic.
The toll that this can take on the body and psyche is no joke.
If you’ve already had a rough day or are already vulnerable due to chronic pain or other medical issues, you’re more likely to be worn down by your kids and their (age-appropriate) needs and behaviors.
When you’re having a tough day with your kids, it may be easy to fall into distraction or start beating yourself up.
Distracting from streaming television shows, drinking a glass of wine, or escaping into social media will only lead to a delayed explosion (such as a fight with your kids the next morning at breakfast).
Beating yourself up and judging your parenting will keep you stuck in a shame cycle and can also result in a delayed explosion (such as a fight with your significant other).
Are you experiencing any of these symptoms of overwhelm after a tough day of parenting?
Losing your temper.
You get “touched out.”
You need alone time.
You feel like you’re going to “explode” from pressure.
You feel like you need to “hide” from your kids.
Picking fights with other people.
Ruminating on how irritated you are and having the same thoughts stuck in your head.
If you said “yes,” then the good news is that there’s a lot of hope!
You can learn how to cope, rebound, and build resilience and confidence in order to tackle parenting again the next day.
Building confidence as a parent starts with these 3 things.
1. Speak up.
You can teach your children about your boundaries and what sorts of things you would prefer them to do in other rooms versus in your space.
You can teach them to turn the volume down or turn off noisy devices when they’re finished so there aren’t several going at once.
You can inform your family and friends not to purchase certain items for your kids as well if they tend to cause fights or stress.
You can speak to your family members or spouse about your needs and ask them to understand if you need a break — including a break from them.
Figure out your triggers. Instead of trying to tell yourself to “suck it up” or that you must be “crazy,” be kinder with your self-talk and remember that you’re not the only person who experiences being overwhelmed!
Honor your needs enough to figure out your triggers and work to solve them. Prioritize your personal downtime.
Be sure that someone relieves you and you go for a walk to clear your mind, you can lock the doors during a shower, you can enforce quiet time for all members of your home to be in their rooms once or twice per day.
Be consistent about this as it will take time for everyone to adjust.
2. Cope with the noises.
You can cope with being overwhelmed in several ways. If the noises are overwhelming, you can wear noise-dampening earbuds to block out some of the less intense noises.
It’s especially helpful to use them in the later hours of the day as whining increases and your nerves are more frayed.
Get outside (yes, even with the kids) and mindfully turn your attention toward any nature you can see — a rock, a blade of grass, the sky, a bird — this gives your brain a break from the chaos and allows you to focus on something else.
And decrease the caffeine. Seriously, it only adds to the anxiety.
3. Consult with professionals.
Occupational therapy, speech therapy, mindfulness-based therapies, and cognitive behavioral therapy can all be useful tools for parenting issues.
If the symptoms are interfering greatly with your quality of life, you may want to investigate the help of a pro!
Alexandria Fields, MSW, LISW-S, is a therapist in Cincinnati, Ohio and the founder of Your Mental Restoration. You can find her on the Your Mental Restoration website or follow her on Instagram @therapy.with.alyx.