Parenting these days seems to be a lot more complicated than it was for our parents! Any other mamas or daddies agree?
With more demand than ever on us to be great at our careers, parenting, volunteering, coaching, cooking, cleaning, hosting, and don’t forget a social life and hobbies – how can we stay grounded amidst it all? Here are five “E’s” to remember my best tips.
Exhale & Inhale: Deep Slow Breathing
Got a screaming toddler covered with tomato sauce? Did your 16 year old just slam the door in your face for the eleventh time? Research says taking deep breaths calms the stress response in your body, reduces negative emotions, and improves attention – all things that are helpful when dealing with an errant child. Try using a breath-based meditation for 5-10 minutes a day to assist you in keeping your cool.
Want to be more grounded? The best way is to literally connect with the ground. More and more science is emerging that shows reconnecting your body to the earth’s surface is beneficial for your health. Moreover, “grounding” (as it is also called) improves pain, sleep, and stress – and what parent doesn’t need those areas to get better? Although taking off your shoes and walking on the earth barefoot is the best way to connect with the earth’s surface electrons, there are also products that you can use to this end. I have been loving the amazing sleep I get with this grounding mat for our bed!
Epsom Salt Bath
If you haven’t tried this yet, I highly recommend it. Epsom salt has so many benefits for the body, including balancing the body physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (read more here). You can even add essential oils such as lavender to make it even more powerful. Not enough time for a full-body bath? Try just soaking your feet if you need to multitask. I will often let my feet soak as I work on my computer in the evening. Your feet have nerve endings that will transmit the benefits of epsom salt to the rest of the body – making it the next best thing to a full-body bath.
These powerful concentrated herbs are able to make a significant difference in your mood, pain, sleep, and stress. Try using clary sage*, which has a pleasant floral aroma and has uplifting and all-around balancing properties. It can also be helpful for easing symptoms for women during their menses and improves the skin – definitely a multi-tasking oil, just as you are as a parent!
*Use the coupon code amberbodilyhealth at checkout for a discount.
Emphasizing the Joy of Parenting
There is no shame in getting overwhelmed and exhausted by the chaos that comes with having children. This happens to every single parent! How do you pull yourself out of it? Slow down to see the beautiful things about your children and begin maximizing those things. Sometimes we try to change our children so much to fit our needs or desires – what about looking at ourselves to see how we can adjust to make our family more synergistic and harmonious? To do so, try asking yourself the following questions:
Am I communicating in a way that my child can understand what I mean?
What is often obvious to us may not be so to your child. Meet them where they are at and see things from their point of view. How our directives or even requests as parents sound to us can sound and mean something completely different to your child. A great resource is the book How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen & Listen So Your Kids Will Talk.
Am I showing love to my child in a way they can receive?
You’ve probably heard of The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman – but did you know you can apply this concept for your kids too? Your kids have typically one, perhaps two, preferred way(s) to receive love: physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or quality time. The tricky thing is, we as parents typically show love in the ways we receive love ourselves – but if that doesn’t match up with how your kids receive love, they might not always get the message loud and clear. For example, a parent’s love language might be acts of service, so they always make their child special snacks, make sure they never run out of clean clothes to wear, etc. However, the child is always hanging on their parent, leaning on them, wanting to cuddle, etc. This child’s love language is physical touch. When we become aware of how our kids receive love and love on them in that way – watch the transformation happen!
Am I being my child’s partner or supervisor?
One of the most powerful ways to connect with your child is being a partner with them in their activities (if they want you to be). We can clean up the paint mess later and instead sit down next to them and paint.
Take a look at how often you are supervising your children versus being their partner in their activities. Although there certainly needs to be a balance of both, become aware of which takes precedence. Try getting on the floor, on the field, on the court, etc. with your kiddos – you may be surprised to find the joy that awaits!
Am I celebrating my child’s successes?
It’s too easy to focus on the things your child needs to do, learn, or catch up on – and intention in those areas is good. Just be sure to balance it with seeing what your child is doing well, and celebrating it! It does not have to be a big accomplishment – you can see it in your day to day. For example, the other day my husband directed my middle son to get dressed… and he did so, right away! (It typically takes at least 3 tries – anyone else in the same boat?!) These small moments of success are also good to focus on, and will build up your child’s positivity muscle for seeing the good in a day!
Am I being a light and example for my child on their level?
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.” For our children, we are definitely part of that five! As much as we might not want to admit it – they do as we do, not as we say. When you imagine your children as grown adults, what qualities do you want them to have? Loyal? Honest? Trustworthy? Creative? Responsible risk-taker? Hard-working? Let these qualities shine from yourself and/or your partner to guide your child toward them.
Being a parent is hard…
But it’s also full of joy. When we are stressed, overworked, over-tired, and still have dishes to do, it can be hard to see and appreciate that joy. Try using these 5 E’s – and you might find yourself blossoming and expanding as a parent to these precious small humans!
Sending you and your family many blessings,