Threats, Low Standards and Other Ways to Avoid Stress
I’m sitting here, wine in hand, decompressing after a full day of running after kiddos and working, and I have to say that I have come to appreciate the 8:00pm hour in my house, which is when my kids go to sleep.
I have learned to de-stress or at least not stress out AS much over the years - though even more so after suffering from an anxiety attack a couple of years ago which made me wonder what the hell I was getting so worked up about. I was angry at myself for even getting an anxiety attack in the first place. I mean, what true blue New Yorker do you know goes around getting “anxiety attacks”? Puh-lease.
But, I did, and so I have developed a few ways to calm down when confronted with several situations before my head completely explodes.
Pick Your Battles
I have learned to pick my battles over a lot of things. In great part due to vanity. I realized that the more I got freaked out, angry, or worked up I got over something, the more I would notice grey hairs and wrinkles appearing. It’s important, in order to maintain your girly features, to not let them get you to a point where you literally turn into a bitter old hag. Seriously, it’s just not worth it. So pick your battles. If my teen wants to sleep in his own filth, whatever, have at it. If the little ones refuse to stay in their own beds and prefer to sleep on each other in the same bed – knock yourselves out. Eventually, they will be disgusted by the smell of their own bodies (or someone at school will make fun of them) or they will want to actually sleep well at night.
Just breathe (OM) and let it go.
Threats + Rules = Obedience
I don’t have a lot of time or patience to negotiate with my kids. So, I set the rules and expectations very early on, and sprinkled them with little threats for extra measure. So, for example, my children know that unless there is some imminent danger that is about to befall upon them or they are deathly ill, they are not, under any circumstances, to wake me up when I am sleeping. Ever. Never. Or, they will die.
Would I actually ever kill my children for waking me up? Ha! C’mon. No, of course not…unless I was sleep deprived. I can’t be held accountable under those circumstances! So, really, it’s for their own safety.
Just Say No
I say no a lot. I say no a lot to my kids. I say no a lot to the school’s PTA. I say no to my husband and to work after a certain hour. I am not trying to meet any set standard as a wife or mother or even friend. I want to be the best that I can be in all those areas, but am not willing to go crazy over it. I have experienced guilt at times, and wonder if maybe I should do more, but for the most part I like the word “No”. It’s pretty empowering and it doesn’t allow for anything or anyone to pull me in all directions. It’s incredible how much free time the word no can get you.
Set Your Motherhood Standards Low
Seriously. Do it. When I first started on this gig of mothering I read all these books and magazines about what to expect from my body, myself, and my baby. When nothing turned out as was foretold, I stressed out. “What am I doing wrong?” “How will this affect my child?” “Am I a good enough mother?” It was difficult to ask anyone because everyone else was trying very hard to be the very best mother ever too.
Eventually, I gave up trying to be “that” mom and while people can be judgmental, I really don’t care. I have made it so that my expectations are low, and better yet, the expectations of me from my kids are also low. This means that anytime I go above and beyond, they think I’m pretty freaking awesome. Show up to a game? Awesome! Stock up the fridge so there are snacks after school? Awesome! Fill up the drawer with clean underwear and socks to wear? Awesome! Wake up early to make breakfast cause daddy is on a business trip? Awesome!
It just works out beautifully, and though the other moms are all saying what a bad, absent mom I am, I know that really, they all wish they could be like the stress-free me and have my smooth wrinkle free skin, and perfectly (pharmacy bought) brown hair.
More ways to de-stress
- Just Breath: 5 Ways to Combat Stress
- 5 Simple Tips to Start Your Day Zen
- Is "Me Time" Selfish? Absolutely!