Parenting is hard.
The pressure to get it right and to be a perfect parent is suffocating. We want the very best for our kids and try to be our best, but most days end up feeling exhausted, depleted, and the worst parent ever.
How did our expectations get so out of wack?
Parenting has been full of challenges both the big and small lately. Sometimes I feel like the waves will take me under and I’ll never right the boat again. Sometimes I feel like I could sail forever and tackle any storm life has to throw at me. But mostly I’m realizing challenges and hard are just the name of the game.
The other day I had the thought of, “Maybe it doesn’t have to be so hard, maybe I can have the joy in motherhood my soul craves. Maybe motherhood doesn’t have to be something that sucks the life out of me.”
Yes there will be days that are hard, but those days shouldn’t be the majority. We need to put the joy back in parenting.
I know I could use more joy and less bone dry exhaustion. And I believe I’m probably not alone in my feelings.
In the pursuit of joy I’ve tried and tested a million methods and for me not all are equal. Here’s a list of ways to bring joy back into your parenting that I believe work.
Tell a different story.
What is the story you’re telling yourself? If it’s steeped in negative and everything is hard, start telling a different story. Your child isn’t out to drive you crazy, they just want attention.
Change the subject.
Sometimes just changing the surroundings can shift your mind out of panic and negativity. Ask the question, will this matter in 5 minutes, 5 days, or 5 years? Even if it takes the effort of moving Mt Everest, find a way to change the subject. When my kids are loosing it, I love asking silly questions like, “do elephants swim in the sea? I think they would be good swimmers, do you?”
Sometimes the literal thought of packing the kids up and God forbid it’s winter and there’s snow gear, but every time I push through that ‘just get out of the house’ and we go for a walk my mind instantly feels clearer. I’m calmer and I feel more joyful. And even when Crosby lays flat out on the walk. At least I’m in the sunshine and breathing fresh air.
I know it might sound cliche, but seriously just try it. (I’ll be the first to admit I use to think this was ridiculous and b.s. But after years of writing gratitude lists, it works.) Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for. Even if you have to start with the simplest things like a roof over you’re head.
I strongly believe we all have a bone that wants to create. Even if it’s not Pinterest worthy, we still want to creat something that wasn’t there before. It’s magical really. Paint, draw, color (the coloring for adults is AMAZING), knit, cook, whatever you feel drawn too. Don’t do it for anyone else but yourself.
Move your body.
Don’t you love the way your body feels after a workout? Even if it was pulling teeth to get started, you still feel invigorated after. Move your body even in the simplest of ways, like 10 squats, 10 push ups, and 20 sit ups. Or simple yoga sun salutations. Move the blood in your body to clear your mind.
Ideally with your kids. I’m guilty of just wanting to sit and watch. But when I can let go and play like a kid with them, instant joy hits. Wouldn’t we all want to go back to a time when we didn’t have adult responsibilities?
It’s all about intention. If you have the intention to find the joy, you will. Parenthood will always be full of challenges that make us feel like we are not equipped to parent. But that doesn’t mean we can’t show up and learn from the challenges. After all that’s what we want for our kids.
You are an amazing mom and I’d love to show you in photos. There is so much joy in your every day even when you’re overwhelmed and exhausted. If you’d like to chat about session that finds the joy in your family, email me today. I’d love to get to know you and tell your story.