How is a Parent Supposed to Survive These Days?
I always tell people that I think it’s harder than ever in certain ways to be a mom or a dad in this fast-paced world we live in. Not only are both parents generally expected to work, but cost of living has increased without wages compensating for that. People seem to be living further away from family members who would have otherwise provided assistance and grandparents who may have otherwise provided additional help, are working later into life in many cases. Yes, we are so unbelievably fortunate that we have modern technologies to assist us in so many ways. But we are also given so many more expectations to meet as parents than we used to. So, what are parents to do these days?
Work together as a team as much as possible. Each of you will feel less stuck when you are tackling certain issues together.
This is going to seem to counter my last point, but there are also times where you really need to divide and conquer, like at the supermarket.
If you are a single parent or a two-parent team, you quickly realize that some things have got to give. What are you willing to live without for awhile or let go of in terms of regular chores? What are you willing to compromise or put off in your personal life so that you can dedicate more time to other things?
If you have a new baby, even if you’ve been on this pony ride before, every new kid can make you really prioritize more than before. Try and make sure you go back to prioritizing the basic issues before you move onto tackling bigger issues- safety of your other children, eating, sleeping (I know this sounds like a joke). If you are exhausted but your baby won’t let you sleep, try to take a walk outside or do a bit of exercise or even deep breathing if you are able- at least that way you can know you are meeting a basic need of your body even if you are unable to meet another.
You’re going to be a lot crankier than normal and will likely take it out on your partner and they on you. If you don’t have a partner, you may deal more poorly with other family members, friends, or co-workers. Try and breathe deep and give yourself 6 months of time to be more frustrated than usual. If and when appropriate (e.g. NOT when you are giving a presentation at work), in a stressful situation try to let your supports know that you had a rough night with the baby last night and you will do your best but you may be a bit off your usual game.
Try and ask your partner’s input on some issues. This will help your partner feel empowered and maybe want to bite off your head just a little less.
Remember, some days, all you can do is make sure your kids and you are just safe and fed and forget about the rest of it. It’s a luxury we have in this country that not everyone in the world has. Try and keep it all in perspective and know that you are good enough for your family.