Family

Parenting pressures

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Being a parent is hard at the best of times, but when you’re feeling stressed out and having to deal with other stuff it becomes an extremely hard task. When you yourself feel you need a hug and a bit of an easy time, just wanting to get through the normal daily stuff without too much of a fight, that’s when kids really tend to kick up a fuss.

Well that’s how it’s happening here anyway. With my husband’s illness and recent stay in hospital, we’ve been under a fair bit of strain to say the least. He may be back at home, but he’s no better, which is meaning life at home isn’t the same old fun and games it once was. Not only am I looking after a toddler who is just starting to express herself (ahem terrible twos ahoy) and an energetic, demanding five-year-old with no volume control, but I’ve got the worry of how their dad is coping too.

I’m doing all the housework, shopping, homework and going to work three days a week too. Those work days are a welcome break – for all the stress of having to get everyone out of the house for 7.30, there is the reward of being able to sit down and focus on work, with a coffee in hand when I get there.

All this is normal stuff for parents, it’s nothing my friends don’t experience day to day too. But because my stress levels are high, I’m finding it pretty hard to cope. I’m shouting at the kids more, losing my patience more, and overall feeling like I’m doing it all wrong.

My son knows just how to push my buttons. This week, I’ve been having a lot of “Mummy I don’t think you love me. I don’t think you show it enough, you just don’t appreciate me Mummy”. To which I reply, of course I love you, you mean more to me than anything, I’m always telling you that I love you. Which I am! In my mind, I’m doing my best and my best doesn’t seem to be good enough. I’ve stood there like a crazy person, reeling off a list of all the things I do for him, but it doesn’t seem to get through. So what do I do? All this must be affecting him too, only it’s hard to know how to handle it other than trying to create a stable environment at home and offering lots of affection, attention and comfort food.

I’ve read a whole load of baby and parenting books, and found some more useful than others but a current favourite is one introduced to me by a friend. Aha Parenting by Dr Laura Markham. I’ve been checking out her website a few times lately to see if I can gain any pointers. There are a few tips I’ve picked up which were suggested to a parent with similar stress issues, so I’m going to try and keep them in mind the next few weeks and see how I get on. These are:

1. Look after yourself, or in Dr Markham’s words, have some serious self-care. It’s not easy to find more than five minutes to myself these days and the free time I do get is usually spent writing my blog. As a friend puts it, it’s a way of creatively coping. So taking more time to recharge my batteries should definitely be on the agenda. I’m booking in those drinks with the girls for next week then…

2. Take time to reconnect with your child once you pick them up from school/childcare. This one is to let them know that they are the most important thing to you once you’ve finished work. I always give them both a huge hug and a kiss when I pick them up, but sometimes my son is so busy talking he forgets to reciprocate! Keep working on this one…

3. Get some food inside them before their hunger takes over and their mood starts to dip. This one is so important, and a constant challenge on work days. I always find by the time I’ve walked in the door and taken off my coat, they are already milling round the kitchen looking for food! Quick meals like pasta and pre-tea snacks like crackers, breadsticks and cheese are my friend.

3. Once you get home, brace yourself. Kids have feelings too and once they are back in their home environment often let out all the feelings they have held in throughout the day. This must be why parents often hear different things from teachers about their child’s behaviour, saying, “if only he/she were like that at home!”

4. Remember to breathe. Excellent advice this one. In Dr Markham’s words, “If you find that you have feelings of your own coming up (anger, grief), just try to breathe through them and later find a safe way to cry and discharge them yourself. You almost certainly have some pent-up feelings yourself and will need to give yourself the time and space to honour them.”

Have you faced challenges like this? Have you got any tips you’d like to share? I am always open to new ideas!

X Julia

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Clare
    February 11, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Lovely blog Jules, you are doing brilliantly. Not sure whether I have many pearls of wisdom, but… Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you don’t absolutely have to do something, don’t. You will not be buried in a mountain of dirt because cleaning/washing went on the back burner for a week or two.
    I second looking after yourself. I find even 15 mins in the bath after 7pm bedtime is enough to make me feel slightly human again. Go to bed 10 mins earlier and get into a good book. Somewhere to escape to!
    Keep your chin up. You are kicking ass baby!!! Be good to yourself xxxx

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      February 11, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      Thanks Clare! The bath thing is a good one, any me time works wonders doesn’t it. Good to celebrate the achievement of the end of the day sometimes too! Xx

  • Reply
    Steph
    February 11, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Oh I identify with all this so much but I never had a suck partner to deal with too. Sounds to me like you’re doing a fabulous job. It does get easier, my two are 11 & 8 now and that tiny space created by them being able to dress themselves, amuse themselves etc is precious.

    Kids are very robust and resilient. Chances are you could be getting that testing behaviour even during the calmest of times, I know we have. I think anything that can make life easier in difficult moments should grabbed with both hands. Supermarket food delivery, a take away or two for the grown ups and hang the housework! It’ll wait and isn’t important. I had a great tip once that to let each child lead what happens for 15 mins works wonders. If you can separate them and have quarter of an hour where each one chooses what to do (be it drawing, playing in water etc) that little focus of attention sets the scene for the next few hours. Not often possible but worth a try.

    Be nice to yourself too. Bunch of daffs, new lipstick etc – you deserve it xxxx
    Steph recently posted…A Beautiful MessMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      February 11, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks Steph for your advice, it’s so good to hear that it’s all totally normal, I know it is rally it’s just hard to cope with at the moment. What a brilliant idea about the 15 minutes of choosing, I’ll definitely be using that one! I have just started supermarket delivery too, I mean why haven’t I been doing this all the time?! I have a job and kids who I would rather not ever take shopping! Haha. Thanks again lovely xx

  • Reply
    Steph
    February 11, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Oh my gosh – I meant “sick” partner! Sorry, how embarrassing! X

  • Reply
    Cath J
    February 11, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Aww blimey, Jules, you are doing LOADS at probably the toughest time you’ll ever have. My eldest has nowhere near the stresses at home that S has (no suck or sick partner!) and she still has a twice weekly ‘I just feel…sniff…that no one likes me in this house…sniff’ moment. I think if you can show them you love them by providing the basics (by basics I mean constant supply of mini cheddars, clean-ish uniform and not always being the last to pick them up after school) and plenty of hugs and as much consistency as you can muster….you’re doing fine. Pull out the big guns (fruit and veg now and again, the odd smile and a trip to the park) when R is on the mend and you feel more human again. Guilt is part and parcel of parenting…that and borderline alcohol dependency.xxx

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      February 11, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      Cath you are so right. I feel comforted that you have the same sniffles too. I just keep thinking I’m mentally harming the kids by being a stress head and things in the house not being as good as I’d like them to be. We spend so much more time at home than we used to, we always used to be having exciting days out and now it’s just the park of they’re lucky and a lot of craft!! Thanks for the support lovely lady xxxx

  • Reply
    mummyofboygirltwins
    February 11, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    You are amazing, and must be juggling so many balls at the moment. It’s hard enough with the full support of a partner, so for you this must be so tough. You’re doing a wonderful job. I do have days where everything feels on top of me and these tips are great. Thanks for sharing, and we all love you xxxxxx
    mummyofboygirltwins recently posted…New pieces for my kitchenMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      February 12, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Thanks Jess that is lovely! Great to have so much support xx

  • Reply
    jenna
    February 11, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Oh gosh, I can’t imagine the immense strain and pressure you must be feeling lately. Despite how you think you’re doing, you are doing AMAZINGLY!

    Great tips, I really hope they help you feel more in control.

    Remember “This too shall pass”

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx
    jenna recently posted…Wicked Wednesday 11/02/15My Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      February 12, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Thank you! That is a good mantra! Xx

  • Reply
    Hayley Smith @hayleyfromhome
    February 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I don’t know you do it Julia but I know you don’t have a choice! If it helps I think you are fantastic and all these niggles with your kids are what we all go through, it is just there at the wrong time for you. I hope you get to take some time for yourself as you need the down time too!

    As for those little ones you are keeping them safe, secure, comfortable with full tummies. You are always there for them and that is the best you can do, Lucas has always been a challenge and I know he always will be, that is just his personality! It seems whenever I try to give him the time and attention he’s craving he just gets worse, haha! I’m not the best for advice about these things but for the record I think you are doing great! xx
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  • Reply
    Katy {What Katy Said}
    February 13, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Fab points here- looking after yourself is so important. Mums always put themselves last but we are no good to anyone if we are ill are we? I hope you manage to find some you time xx

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      February 17, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you xx

  • Reply
    MyLifeMyLove
    February 15, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Oh Julia, it’s hard juggling everything even when our husbands aren’t poorly. It sounds like you are doing a brilliant job. It’ s so hard to keep everyone happy and the person to ever get any attention is always yourself. I wrote a similar post about trying to give myself some me time but its so hard to find the time. I hope all gets sorted soon and hubby is quickly on the mend. Sending you a virtual hug xx #sundaystars
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    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      February 17, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you xx

  • Reply
    Caro | The Twinkles Momma
    February 15, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I could have written his post myself — I totally relate to it.

    My boy has been ill in bed with pneumonia for the last week and I’ve been juggling and spinning plates, simultaneously, to try and keep everything going. I don’t go to work — I run my business from home — but can imagine that getting out the house must be so cathartic!! I’ve felt stir crazy this week — it’s been relentless!!

    The difference is, when the pneumonia has gone, things will (hopefully) get back to normal for me. For you, as you’re all in limbo with Rog’s illness, you don’t have an end date as yet, which must be awful. Keeping everything crossed that things will get back to how they were, REALLY soon Ju.

    You’re doing an amazing job. I should make you a Supermummy badge to wear!! xx

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk
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    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      February 17, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks Caro xx

  • Reply
    Caro | The Twinkles Momma
    February 15, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Arrrgh — keep forgetting to say which linky I’m coming from!!! #SundayStars 😉
    Caro | The Twinkles Momma recently posted…The Twinterview | Karen from Mini TravellersMy Profile

  • Reply
    Lisa (mummascribbles)
    February 15, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    You are doing a wonderful job and there isn’t any of us that would be finding it any easy. I’m glad that you’re getting some rest at work but try not to overdo it too much, the worst thing that could happen is that you get run down and ill! Take care sweets xx #sundaystars
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  • Reply
    Heledd
    February 15, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Julia you amaze me! I mean that from the bottom of my heart, you are juggling so much and dealing with all that stress and yet you’re a tower of strength and a wonderful person and mother. You’re children are having to go through this too but of course they don’t have the maturity to deal with it yet. One day they’ll look back at this time and realise what a superwoman their mum was.

    Thanks for linking up to #SundayStars xxx
    Heledd recently posted…Sunday Stars 15th FebMy Profile

  • Reply
    Little Treasures
    February 15, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    It sounds like you are under a huge amount of stress and pressure and doing really well. I’ve had the week from hell-although nowhere near what you’re dealing with- and literally walked out for a break leaving hubby in charge the other night it got too much! It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes but I totally agree with the tips you have read. Points 3&4 really resonate with me at the moment!
    One thing I keep meaning to do which I think would help me is to get a small jar and everyday write down one thing that made me happy/laugh/smile whether it’s something my kids have done or a beautiful flower I saw that day. Then put it in the jar and whenever you’re feeling stressed or down you take one-or more!- out and read it. The memory of what you’ve written should help to lift your spirits and make you smile.
    Hope things get better soon hon xx
    #sundaystars
    Little Treasures recently posted…Mum’s night out?My Profile

  • Reply
    Mim
    February 16, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this, it must have been quite emotional to write it all down but I can reassure you that you are doing FABULOUSLY. You’re doing so much at the moment that you probably don’t realise how much you’re actually doing and how WELL you’re doing too. Try and make time for yourself when you can to breathe and reflect. Even if only a few minutes a day of course 🙂 Mim @ http://www.mamamim.com #SundayStars
    Mim recently posted…Pregnancy Update – 30 WeeksMy Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      February 17, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      Thanks Mim xx

  • Reply
    Jenny
    February 16, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Great advice while I have no words of wisdom to add I am jotting yours down. They go through so many phases or is that just something us parents want to call tough times. I have been there with two toddlers on my hands. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…The next step for my babyMy Profile

  • Reply
    Katie Haydock
    February 17, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Honey pie, I struggle in day to life as a working mum (three days too) with just one child and healthy (but slightly lazy) husband. My are an inspiration! I don’t know how you do it, but you are doing amazingly!
    That does sound like a website for me to keep on the desk top… just in case 😉
    Katie Haydock recently posted…The Truth About Blogging…My Profile

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      February 17, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      Ah thanks my lovely xx

  • Reply
    Mrs H
    February 24, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Ahhhh honey. You are struggling with so much at the moment. It is not surprising that you are feeling stressed. I definitely think that you need to look after yourself. Very important. Hugs Mrs H xxxx
    Mrs H recently posted…Personal keepsake picture by Feather Grey Parties – a reviewMy Profile

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