Every great parent becomes one by hitting rock bottom after a stormy and chaotic meltdown, right? I mean, that's typically the way that works really well for me.
Lately I have been riding the struggle bus as a parent. Finding myself lacking interest in waking up with the kids, sledging through the day, and not being the nicest mom around. It was going on for way too long and after a horrible parenting day, I finally had my meltdown.
I cried, told myself I was a bad mom, that I shouldn't be the one in charge of my children and deeply considered going back to work and having my husband stay home with them. I felt so guilty with the way I had been treating my own kids and was utterly drained and tapped out.
Ever been there?
Obviously something had to be done on my part but I first needed some space to clear my head and come up for air. Often times, when I'm at my lowest, I feel like I am drowning. Being hit over and over again by waves. This is survival parenting mode so in order for me to elicit change, I need to have alone time to think and plan.
The plan and steps:
The first major step to creating your best self as a parent is to communicate your struggles to your partner. You need to share your thoughts and feelings and everything in between with them. They have to be in the know with what your experience is so that they can be a beacon of support. By being vulnerable and verbalizing where you're at, they can jump on board with more understanding. This is the key to feeling empowered for change.
Once you have done that, ask for some help! For me, I needed hubby to put the kids to bed. After spending all day with them, I just couldn't handle bedtime in a calm and relaxing way. So I switched up the routine a bit. Asking your partner for little things like packing the kids lunches the night before, taking them on a walk a few times per week with out you, doing the grocery shopping, cooking dinner 2 nights/week, whatever! Think about where you would like some additional support and go for it.
After all of that, take some 'you' time. I asked my husband to take the kids to the zoo for the day so I could be alone with my thoughts and sort some things out. For some people, being in an empty house is enough, for others, a nice massage or jog is where its at! Identify a day where you can have some solo time and make it happen.
If you journal, meditate, write songs, or love to think, this step is a valuable one. You need to replace all of the dark and ugly thoughts that you have about yourself with the damn truth. Those sneaky thoughts that tell you that you're not good enough, are failing as a mom, that label you as a "yeller" or "lazy" need to go. They only perpetuate feelings of negativity and do nothing to strengthen you as a parent. So... replace those f*uckers. Tell yourself how GREAT of a mom you are and list examples. Identify how you are so amazing at reflecting to your children when they make you feel proud, and how you support their extracurricular interests, and that when they get hurt, you always stroke their hair and offer a kiss. These are real moments that count. They matter and your children love you for these.
Finally, minimize social media. This has been a popular topic and many people go on social media cleanses and breaks. If you are not ready to delete your account, at least set a time or two per day to check and scroll. If anything on your feed makes you feel any type of way, either unfollow that person or close that app for the day. You want positivity and good feelings only. I can almost guarantee you will feel more present, grounded, and connected with your environment when the phone is left in another room.
Once you have done these steps, make sure to take time for tune up sessions. In that, continue with planned alone time, and thought replacement techniques. Don't stop once you get a few good days in. Keep it up and schedule self care; its vital for you as a parent, partner, and person!