Being a parent is a without a doubt a precious gift but it’s also the most difficult job I’ve ever had. In particular, these past few months have been enormously stressful for my wife and me, as we’ve again been presented with some of life’s parenting challenges.
Sometimes we can control our destiny but other times, we have to rely on our instincts and hard work to pull us through. Lately, it’s been a little of both for us. As many of you know, we first were faced with what all parents fear the most: an injured child. Luckily for us, that has turned out ok so far. But there are other, less emergent and shocking, events that constantly keep us on guard and perpetually ‘fighting’ for our children. Sometimes it’s the daily routine of homework or merely shuttling little people from dance class to play dates to enrichment activities.
Other times it’s more serious, demanding, and concerning – like IEP evaluations, testing, and meetings.
But we embrace it. As parents.
During the holidays, we often feel more pressure and stress than ever. Here are 10 tips to help keep your sanity this holiday season (or at least it has helped me):
1. Amazon Prime – holiday shopping lifesaver!
2. Get to know your neighbors – invite them over with the kids often – it actually does ‘take a village’
3. Keep the kids’ routine when you can but push bedtime for special events
4. Spend the extra time to help kids be independent – it pays dividends once they get it
5. Give kids a job that is age-appropriate (put dishes in dishwasher, feed the dog, let the dog out/in, put their clothes away, etc.)
6. Get a babysitter to spend time together as a couple and not just to do errands
7. Be consistent and don’t give in once a decision has been made
8. Limit holiday travel when possible – have those without an army of kiddos come to you
9. Keep it simple – from food prep to gift giving to decorations. The simpler you keep it, the less stressed you’ll feel. And if you find yourself with extra time, you can always add more then.
10. You are not alone in how you feel. We have all been there and came through the other side somewhat unscathed.
Last night at a birthday party with friends, we were reminiscing about life before kids and the struggles all us parents endure for our children. We often think that we are alone in those struggles but it became ever so obvious that our parenting challenges were far from unique. We all struggle.
At the end of the day, no matter how stressful, difficult, or trying raising kids can so often be, there isn’t one of us who would change it for the world.
Hang in there.