So much of parenting involves routines, micro managing, setting expectations, creating structure. Parenting often happens in chaotic situations where it is dififcult to remain calm.
If you are a parent with or without support, with or without a job (besides parenting), you will have stress. If you are a parent who has more than one child then your stress is multiplied.
You might look at other parents who parent “smoothly” (or at least it seems so) and you are exhausted, frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed.
The younger your children, the more physically dependent they are on you and the older the children, the number of worries you might have for them increase because they are out there in the world doing brave (or sometimes stupid) new things.
Your ultimate fear in the world would be to lose your children and you equally cherish a moment of silence, alone time, the ability to take time away to yourself, and you wish you could do all that guilt-free.
How do you stay calm when you’re managing multiple schedules?
The more anxious and stressed you feel the more anxiety you will pass on to your children. This doesn’t make you a bad parent, it’s just biology and our innate need to connect. If you feel anxious you will be preoccupied emotionally. Most humans have empathy and mirror neurons which means they will pick up on your anxiety and feel it too.
So how do you stay calm for your sake and theirs? Is calm parenting even possible?
1. Don’t try to be the perfect parent.
Remember that you are doing your best and that is good enough. Let go of perfectionism. Don’t compare yourself to other parents. You are not other parents and they are not you. Your context and their context is not the same. Your histories and resources are different, so don’t compare and when you do just acknowledge that this is where you are and accept your current status. Click here to read more on self-esteem
Breathe in counting to 5 and breath out counting to 5. Take your time and slow down and calm your nervous system. An activated nervous system can be calmed down with this powerful tool that is always available to you: Your Breath.
3. Give yourself self-compassion.
Tell yourself that you are not alone. Acknowledge that parenting is hard. Give yourself a break and set aside the self-critical and judgmental voice that tells you “how miserably you are failing.” We all have that voice and it might not be something you’d want to necessarily get rid of as much as you need to tell this part of you to relax. In other words, mentally show up for yourself with kindness and love.
Notice that none of the advice I am offering you here has to do with creating schedules and following rules or disciplining your children. You are perfectly capable of figuring those things out for yourself and there’s a place for that but no schedule and no rules will work if you are not calm. So remind yourself you are good enough, breathe, and keep talking to yourself kindly. Once your mind and body are calm, you can actually access your creativity and you will have the mental capacity to implement whatever improvements you want to bring into your family and parenting life.
Start by downloading our free 10-step parenting program.
Dr. Ava Ghasemi (Holdich) is a licensed Psychologist with 11 years experience in the U.S., Canada and the Middle East. She has a practice of individual and couples therapy at the MapleTree Center in Dubai.