It’s also the time of year when the back-to-school groove is starting to hit full stride. The initial “honeymoon” excitement is just about over, and the buysness cycle of daily life is setting back in. If you’re not careful, you’re at risk for fallling back into that rut you promised would be different this year.
No more running around like a chicken with your head cut off. No more reacting to everyone else’s needs without taking care of your own. No more arguing or yelling or nagging about homework and chores and bedtime routines. And of course, no more rushing out the door in the morning frantically sorting out the day’s itinerary, and wondering what you’ve forgotten already. Right?!
A word to the wise – watch out so these 7 sources of parenting stress don’t ruin you and your child’s enthusiastic start to the new school year:
1. Not allowing time for the things that matter most. Not enough “me time.” Are you starting to feel like everyone else’s demands are getting in the way of you getting to those things you really want to get to? Starting to feel like control over your schedule is slipping away from you again?
2. Lost energy and enthusiasm. Are you feeling like much of the day is spent in energy-draining activities more than energy-gaining ones? Are your body, mind, and spirit soaring throughout the day or sagging? Do you feel a nagging sense of guilt no matter what you’re doing – that you should be elsewhere… having more fun with your kids, being more productive at work, working out more or sleeping more or weeding the garden more or doing nothing more?!
3. Miscommunication. You mean well, but you lose focus and/or lose your patience. What you mean to say just comes out meanly. Or you forget and it doesn’t come out at all. Or what you hear from your kids is sounding rude and disrespectful. Or perhaps you’re not hearing anything hardly from them at all?
4. Disconnection. Are you feeling like ships passing in the night, or maybe gunboats firing away at each other? Are the few family conversations you have more about logistics (who’s gotta be where by when and how we gonna do it…?) than about love and laughter? Are you connecting with your kids in meaningful ways that matter to you, or going through the motions of checking off to-do lists?
5. Daily power struggles. Are you tired of arguing, nagging, and negotiating? You think the household rules are clear and fair, yet you still need to remind your child ten times over to do his homework or pick up after himself or leave his sister alone. Nitpicking. Backtalking. Whining. Eyerolling. When will they learn? Why aren’t they learning? You think, this shouldn’t be so hard, but it is. And you think, I’m the only one going through this, but you’re not.
6. Ineffective consequences. “I’ve tried everything, and nothing works (at least not for long)!” Do you feel like you’e wasting your breath when you yell? Are time outs useless? Has grounding or taking away privileges lost its effectiveness? And so you feel stuck in a series of “starting over” battles with your child, with no clear resolution in sight.
7. Mindless multi-tasking. Busyness seeps insidously into our daily lives, stealing our minds, our hearts, even our souls. Are you feeling scattered? Are your kids? Are you practicing what you preach, and walking the walk of living a happier, saner lifestyle? Remember, your children do as you do, more than listen to what you say. How mindful are you being? How peaceful and joyful?