Okay. I know what you are thinking.
“What in the world is she going to tell us that we don’t already know about when it comes to the stress that parents face?”
You probably think that I am going to blame your work/life (lack of) balance — but nope, I’m not.
You might think that I am going to blame your limited free personal time — but nope, I’m not.
You may even think that I plan to blame the ridiculously unfair expectations placed on us parents to raise “great” children these days — but nope, I’m not.
Do you really want to know why parents are so stressed these days? The answer is so simple, and so much closer to home than you think. The real reason parents are so stressed:
Because they are either consuming too much or too little coffee or alcohol.
Yep. You didn’t think I was gonna go there with this, did you? You didn’t expect that I would be blaming your over-consumption of one of these two addictive beverages for your parenthood challenges, but yes I really freakin’ am.
This isn’t a sham and it’s not a joke. Hear me out on this.
On the days that I stumble or fail in my ability to handle the day-to-day stress of being a parent, I can totally pinpoint a correlation to my consumption habits, or lack thereof, of coffee or alcohol.
For me, I don’t drink during the work week — at all. Depressing, I know. But, that’s what works for my husband and I, and ensures that our focus during the week is exactly where it needs to be — our work and our children. Relaxing…well, that “ship” is for the birds. There is no real relaxing when you are a parent, spouse, entrepreneur, homeowner, pet-owner, etc., as there is a need for you to always be prepared, and bracing for unexpected twists and turns in your day. But, am I completely off base in thinking that I do not deserve the right to take a break at the end of the day and relax with a glass of mom juice?
And when it comes to coffee, I drink way too much of it. Way too much. We are talking multiple cups a day. But, do I really need all of that? The answer — probably not.
The reality is that us parents have to be “on” at all times, and we also have to be doing a damn good job of raising our children. Because as we all know if we mess up at parenting our children will suffer, and the general public will be right there to immediately point that out to us.
As it turns out for some of us, we truly need coffee to turn us “on”. For others, it is our mere thinking that coffee is needed to activate us. Same goes for alcohol, some may truly need a cocktail to help fully turn themselves “off”. For others, it is our mere thinking that a drink is needed for us to deactivate.
Listen, I sure as heck am not saying that you have to give up coffee or alcohol (eek!) to feel less parental stress, or to be able to cope with it better. But, I am making a point, to myself just as much as to you, that parents (and even childless adults) can get lost in this mindset that we need both coffee and wine to survive our days.
My husband and I recently talked about how we want to be “better” and healthier people; better and healthier not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, in how we parent, in our outlook on life, and in how we communicate.
Actual self-improvement, as an individual and as a parent, cannot occur if you resign yourself to the notion that you need things outside of yourself, or that you need to consume things to get through your day. You should not need to get through your days, you should be living them. And, you know what? I think you should be living your life in a way where your mood, behavior, and actions are not dependent upon your consumption habits.
(She wrote as she sipped her coffee…)
Hey, I didn’t say coffee wasn’t needed to help get the creative juices flowing…
Looking for other ways to destress? Consider these:
Some people swear by essential oils. Have you used them? I’ve only dabbled with them, but they may be worth another try!
Can a lit candle bring you a sense of calm? They sure are pretty to look at and nice to smell, so maybe.
Adult coloring books seem to be all the rage now. I like to color with my children, but I am not sure I would enjoy doing it by myself. How about you, have you tried one?
A self-help book is always right up my alley. Yay for this one!
And if all else fails, maybe try some yoga! That’s on my list for this week! I’ve tried it before, but have never been able to slow my mind down to actually attain a sense of calmness.
Oh, darn! My wine glass is empty. Time to pour another. And yes, it is an almost guarantee that you will still see me sipping my iced coffee in the AM.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again…I am a work in progress.
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