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Five ways to get out of a parenting funk

Posted by Patience on November 18, 2008 at 7:00 AM in Patience
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We've all been there, you're stressed out and everything your kids do make you crazy. Your frustration somehow spills out onto kids who are just being kids. You don't want to do it, but it's hard to stop. Here are 5 tried and true ways to break the funk.

1. Do the annoying behavior. When Lucy has tried to climb on my head for the 473rd time instead of yelling I simply try to climb on hers. Jack likes to walk circles around me in the kitchen (and it's a tiny kitchen), I just start walking circles around him. Usually the kids start laughing and I feel slightly relieved of the annoying act for just a minute.

2. Get a frustration howl. I call it the "Marge Simpson" groan. It's okay to emote frustration. Sometimes giving a large yell, groan, sigh, howl usually followed by a "You-guys-are-making-me-CRAAAAZZZZYYY!" (while shaking my head in a comical way). This helps me release my inner frustration in a crazy moment. The kids look at me like I'm nuts but I feel better.

3. Eat something junky. When everyone is on my nerves I head straight for fast food. I know, I know, such an unhealthy idea but grabbing a burger and fries feels like a huge treat for my kids and everyone seems a little perkier after. It gives me a break from cooking and a chance for us to talk without complaining about vegetable eating. If the idea repulses you, just make a special dessert to eat after dinner. It almost always has the same effect.

4. Put yourself in timeout. Extreme exasperation usually means YOU need a break. Tell your partner (or a friend) you need to plan a time for a break, then immediately plan a second one a few days after. Chances are you are way overdue and will need both times to really recover. The first break might be just to unwind and by the second one you might be ready to be with those tiny people again.
If none of this is possible in your world, Kris has a good suggestion here.

5. Ask your kids. Ask your kids what you should do to relax. The answers might surprise you, at a minimum they will be good for a laugh. After one of these Q&A times with my kids, Jack (age 5) told Jorge, "Mom really needs a break Papa, you should take care of her." And he did.

Okay, so what do you do to get out of the parenting funks? Don't hold out on us!


jen zug writes...

"Do the annoying behavior." Brilliant. I do this sometimes when they're "fake" crying, and it always makes them laugh because I look so rediculous doing it. Will have to try it with other annoying behaviors.

"Get a frustration howl." What a great idea! I'm a yeller, so this one should really improve the yelling factor, because it's kind of like yelling, but not. Gets the adrenaline out, anyway. I should let my kids name the howl.

linda writes...

I drop EVERYTHING and head outside with the kids and do something FUN. Get the kids to pick supper(usually pancakes!) And end with a Disney movie that we all love. Sometimes I just need a break from 'parenting' and enjoy my children!

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