Caught in a ParentingTidal Wave? 3 Tips to Help You Find Your Footing Again!
‘Life’ has been happening in my house, in a very ‘extra’ kind of way. My regular hustle-bustle has been met with challenges outside of my control, and keeping up with it all has been quite the task. I’ve found myself saying things like, “Ok, as soon as I get through (fill in the blank), things will slow down.” I’ve found myself feeling depleted, short-tempered, scattered, and just not feeling my best. You know when you’re burning the candle at both ends? Well, it’s like my candle has been completely engulfed in flames.
I know I’m in good company here. Many of my clients come to me with similar struggles. I often hear comments like, “I feel like I’m just putting out fires in my house!” or “We’re drowning over here.” So many of us are good, busy parents trying to balance everything, feeling spread too thin and then falling short where it really counts.
Many parents I know work so hard just to stay afloat of the nonstop demands, and the constant push and pull of their attention holds them back from feeling successful. These ‘tidal wave’ parenting moments make it hard for parents to find their footing, and nearly impossible to keep up with all the demands.
We operate as best we can in ‘survival mode’ to keep up when we’re feeling stuck and overwhelmed. We may find ourselves making decisions that do not align with our values. We may tend to go against our better judgment. We may feel short tempered, impatient and reactive rather than responsive with our children. Have you ever found yourself caught up in this tidal wave?
I had been treading water for quite some time before realizing I was truly over my head and getting tossed around my own tidal wave. Ideally, I’d like to have this awareness BEFORE getting completely caught up, but we’re all a work in progress, right?
Don’t let that tidal wave bring you down! Here are some tips to help you feel more grounded so you can find your footing!
Check-in with yourself
When you have the awareness that something is off, pause. Quiet the noise. Check-in with yourself. You are a good parent going through a tough time!
Get curious. Are you getting it all done? Are you getting it all done well? Is the pressure triggering you? Who or what may be suffering from your attention being pulled in so many directions?
How can you reframe these challenges and see them as opportunities for growth or change?
Reassess & Reprioritize
This is the great time to check in with your values. How well are you aligned with your values at the moment? Get a copy of my Values Wheel here to help you see where your alignment could use some adjusting.
Take some time to make a list of your priorities, keeping the highest priorities at the top of your list. Those last few items at the bottom of your list, go ahead and scratch them off! It’s ok! Toss the guilt and scratch them for now. They’ll still be there later when you have more bandwidth, or maybe you’ll find out they weren’t that important after all!
Know your resources. Is there a service that can lighten your load? Can you call on a professional for help or advice? (a teacher, doctor, house cleaner, delivery service?)
Reframe the thought “I have to…” into “I get to…” This simple shift in thinking may help you see your ‘must-dos’ in a new light.
Slow down. Allow yourself to tap into all your senses to notice the beauty around you, and indulge in some small moments of self-care.
Take control and be more intentional with your calendar. Buy yourself some extra time by chunking similar activities together and scheduling small moments of self care throughout the day.
Consider asking for help. (I am the BIGGEST culprit here! I find it so difficult to ask for help, but I am working on it! And, you should too.) Your friends and family truly want to help, you just need to communicate that! It might sound like this, “I could use some help and I’m not always comfortable asking.” It really can be that simple.
When I finally followed my own advice, I found that pushing pause on my newsletters and blogs would give back some time and relieve some of the ‘must do’ pressure I was feeling. By reassessing my values and reprioritizing my responsibilities, I gave myself permission to shelf some tasks and direct my focus where it was truly needed — on my relationships with family, friends and clients.
Reprioritizing can be scary at first. It may feel like you’re neglecting something, when in fact, you will actually be focusing your attention exactly where it’s most needed. Reprioritizing allows you to use your energy in the most productive way while still keeping your values intact. Toss the guilt, get clear on your values and priorities, and find your footing!