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Archive for June, 2010

Coping with parenting stress

I saw Sex and the City 2 last weekend with my girlfriends. 

While I can’t relate to some of the couture fashions (especially wearing a vintage cream-colored Valentino skirt while making cupcakes), I could relate to the parenting stresses Charlotte and Miranda confessed. 

Charlotte and Miranda 

 

Parenting is hard. You want to do the right thing, but sometimes the imperfect human in you takes over and you do things you’re not proud of. 

Lord knows I’ve been there. 

I have a 20-year-old son in college who struggles between craving independence and juggling college demands and needing the support and advice of his parents. I have an 8-year-old son with a mild form of autism who is doing amazingly well, but still needs reminders about what’s appropriate (like not getting naked in the living room or smacking his friends when he loses a game). 

Currently, I have three types of “no” for my toddler: 

  • “Inside voice” no-no: Reserved for when she’s unloading all the books off her bookshelf, for the 10th time, or tearing out pages of my latest People magazine and handing them to me while saying, “Thank You.”
  • Loud no: Used when she’s trying to give the dog a digital rectal exam or when she’s tearing out pages from her BOOKS and handing them to me while saying, “Thank You.”
  • From the depths of my being, so-loud-the-neighbors-can-hear-it NO: Sadly, I use this daily. See, Em has a thing for dangling on the edge of chairs in my dining room…which is tiled and makes for a very hard landing. Or climbing on the table. See “For my daughter, I say, NO MORE” to learn why this is so stressful.

With their wide age spread, I feel like I’m going a million directions sometimes. It definitely takes different skills to help a 20-year-old manage college and life issues vs. soothing my toddler when she’s screaming for her sippy cup. 

When it gets really tough and I feel like I’m going to lose it, I use these strategies to help me get back to my happy place: 

  • I walk, or meet a friend at the gym, or walk with a friend. I always feel better after a workout because it helps me get out the frustration without the need for yelling. Kickboxing and bag workouts were the best for really getting out the stress. Doing it with a friend makes it social and helps you stay committed both to a workout and your sanity.
  • I stay connected to friends. Some people think time away from your kids is a luxury, and it can be…if you’re running to the spa every week, or traveling regularly without them. But there’s nothing wrong with a little “girl time.” Pedicures on the cheap. Text messages. Conversations in the car on the way to or home from work (someone will want to lecture me for this, but I use a hands-free earpiece). Lunches….I relish this time and it fills my tank so I can be a better mom.
  • I don’t take things too seriously. While I take parenting seriously and always try to do what’s best for my kids, I don’t live by the book. I go with the flow and let my kids lead me to what they need. We laugh a lot. We enjoy simple times spent together. And we entertain each other.
Ant, Ev and Em

Kicking back with the family on Memorial Day weekend...made for a very relaxed mommy.

 

 Please tell me parenting stresses you too. What do you do to cope?

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Dinner conversations with my 8-year-old son Evan are never short of interesting.

Take last week, when I asked Evan how his day was. He proclaimed: “Mom, I was farting ALL day.” I’d like to say I took the mature high road, but…sadly, no, I laughed ‘til I cried. 

It was no different when I asked him what he’d been up to on the playground.

“Well,” he said (that’s how he starts most stories) “I was performing for my friends…you know, doing a ‘best of’ of some of my greatest performances from over the years. Or, I mean, from this year.”

Age 8 and already doing a “best of”… I thought you had to be a seasoned performer of at least 10 😉

I learned from his teacher that he wasn’t just dancing and singing for a few a friends – nearly all the kids on the playground gathered around to watch.

I had to go back in my “vault” to find some of MY favorite performances from over the years. And I’ll have one to add after his dance recital this Saturday (they’re doing a jazz performance to “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen). Ought to be entertaining!

Enjoy! (and please excuse my inability to edit these!)

Little something from New Year’s 2007…

Showing off his dance party skills…

Best of Beyonce in 2009…

And, for an encore, BOOM BOOM POW!

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