By Jackie Boeheim
I was at the park the other day with a group of moms and we were discussing various topics on preschools, pacifiers and bedtime routines. I was becoming very stressed out, second guessing myself as a parent and breaking out into cold sweats. In fact, as I looked around the group, all I saw were panicked faces of worry filled moms.
The conversation prompted me to call my own mother and relay the chatter that happened at the park. “I just don’t know if I have my son in the right preschool,” I said. “The one I attend has a smaller class size, the one I toured yesterday has more complex activities…” my mother started laughing. Wait, let me correct that statement, my mother interrupted me with a bout of laughter. Does she not understand how serious this is? My mom finally told me to just chill out, have a glass of wine, paint my toenails and stop worrying so much.
You know, maybe there is something in that statement. What if I just stopped thinking stressing over these minute details and simply enjoyed myself and my children? I proceeded to make that my goal for the week and the results were supreme.
When I was a kid, my mother put me in the preschool closest to her house, because that’s what benefited her. If I was crying and needed a pacifier, she gave it to me. And some days, I would go to bed with a bath and story, other days I was just tossed into bed quickly so my mom wouldn’t miss her 8:00pm special. (Poor thing couldn’t just pause or record her TV show). She set minimal rules for herself as a mother and in the long run, she was much happier, outgoing and attentive to our needs. My childhood was filled with wild laughter, long days and easy decisions.
This is exactly what I want for my kids. My goal is to give them memories filled with overflowing joy. Not memories of over-scheduled days with an over-stressed mother.
If we as parents just stopped making decisions so hard, we would be in a much better place mentally. If we as parents just stopped giving ourselves hard to achieve rules, we would be in a much better place mentally.
That day at the park, when us moms were huddled around stressed, we missed something spectacular. We missed our kids building sand castles together, pushing each other on swings and racing to the slide. We missed the wild laughter, sweet conversations and even a “Mommy, come play with me!”
Here are some ways we can lessen the everyday stress of constant decisions that parents have to make.
- If your child is skipping her nap, chill out. It’s one day, it’s one nap, it means early bedtime.
- If your child is almost two and is still taking a pacifier, chill out. She won’t need it when she’s 18.
- If your child is a picky eater, chill out. Isn’t that why we have white bread and bananas?
Here are some ways we can turn our stress into positivity among fellow parents:
- Instead of stressing over what preschool your child will attend, ask them this question: “What do you do with your ‘me time’ while your little one is in school?
- Instead of stressing over bedtime routines: “What TV show do you watch when your kids are asleep?”
- Instead of stressing over mealtime: “What is your favorite adult meal to share with your hubby?
There are some issues in parenting that will need our stress (Like when they start dating and driving), so let’s save it for those moments. Let’s not cause ulcers and acne filled faces over the tiny details of life. And in the famous words of my mother, “have a glass of wine, paint your toenails and stop worrying so much.”
Jacqueline Leigh holds a BA in Journalism from Valdosta State University. She’s successfully published articles in multiple magazines and online publications. She’s perfected her craft by blending her affection for writing with the thrill of entertaining children. Jacqueline makes her home in North Carolina with her husband and two spirited children. Jacqueline can be found on Facebook and Instagram.