Let’s be honest for a moment, ok? Motherhood is hard. Parenting is hard. It starts with sleepless nights and crying babies and morphs over the years to sleepless nights as you worry over out-late college students, sassy teenagers, and more laundry than you could ever have imagined.
As moms, we have to manage it all.
I’m not always good at it. If I ever manage to keep all the balls in the air, I probably hurt everyone’s feelings in the process because the stress of keeping things moving ends up breaking me down. And, I don’t always pay enough attention to my kids.
There. I said it. I need to be a more attentive parent, and one of the best ways to ensure I become one is to have a game plan and actually go with it. There are easy ways to lessen the stress I feel and the load I carry. A little planning goes a long way, and these simple parenting hacks will help us as we face another new year filled with full calendars and lots of life.
First, Reduce Stress!
Easier said than done, right? It seems impossible because so many of the demands on our time and energy seem nonnegotiable, but if we want to reduce the stress of parenthood, we need to take a few simple steps. First, learn to say no. To yourself. To your children. To others. Just because you can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Your kids do not have to do every possible activity, and you don’t have to be on every committee. Say no to things that overload your schedule and stress you out. Someone else can make the class cookies. Let them. Maybe it’s their time to shine.
Second, and this is a hard one for me, take a time out. Go for a walk. Get your nails done. Turn in early and read a book. Your family will survive for an hour or two, and you’ll be a better mom when you get back.
Finally, do some prep to keep things peaceful. Plan a freezer cooking day and thank yourself when you’re able to pull a delicious dinner out of the freezer on a busy weeknight.
Get Your Gear!
Let’s face it. There are some things that just make being a mom a bit easier. Bento boxes for prepping kids’ lunches? Yes, please. An organized spice drawer is the stuff of dreams. Traveling? Keep your baby comfy with Newton Baby’s travel crib & play yard, and that’s one less thing you’ll be looking for when you arrive at your destination. After all, I have two words for you: bed bugs.
Develop a Routine
The free spirit in me kind of cringes as I type this, but there’s no way around it. A good routine helps avoid a ton of unnecessary stress from day to day. It’s particularly helpful when your spouse is away, and you’re trying to keep everything together. On a regular basis, however, it may mean the difference between frustration and frenzy before the morning school run and a good morning even when kids are grumpy.
Patience is a Virtue
Not one I have naturally, however. Heavy traffic does not bring out the best in me. Toddler tantrums either. (Those are days I don’t miss.) Still, Galatians 5:22 tells us, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” I may not have it, but man, do I need it! At times when I find patience running short, I sometimes pray through the fruit of the spirit, asking God to help me have more of each one.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Take it from the “worst mom ever,” you’re not perfect, and that’s ok. There will be times when you completely blow it. We all do. Nobody’s perfect. That’s what grace is for. Give some to your kids, and give some to yourself. Acknowledge your failures, learn from them, and move on. Remember in the wise words of Anne of Green Gables, “Tomorrow is always new with no mistakes in it…yet.”
So is the new year that’s coming. Approach it with these parenting hacks in mind, and you might just find it a bit less stressful than the year before has been.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links.