Today was a tough one.
In the grand scheme of all tough days, it wasn’t up there. But, in true parenting fashion, that slow grind of a slightly harder than average day gets to you. Factoring in broken sleep, a defiant toddler (caused by broken/little sleep), packing up our house to move in two weeks, a little 7-month old with a cold and an open house for new renters to take over the lease it was a looooong day.
Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t in the greatest of moods after we finally got both girls down into bed.
Until a little mantra, my wife and I often joke about popped into my head and suddenly made things all that little bit better. Well, that and taking some time out to go around the block with headphones on, blaring some sweet, sweet 90s RnB.
But, it was while strolling the streets that I remembered one of our mantras and I got back that little bit of clarity:
They may have won the battle, but they haven’t won the war.
Okay, first things first. We don’t believe we are in a war with our kids…it’s more like its a war against the grueling nature and tests of parenthood. Like dealing with hungry kids at 5 pm in a store, 3 am wake ups, dirty nappies falling onto your carpet or realizing personal space is a commodity you don’t really have anymore.
And today, those dastardly aspects of parenthood got us well and truly. Well played, parenthood. Well played.
However, instead of just sitting back in a terrible mood, there are some simple things we can do to break that mood.
After all, we’re the ones in control of what we’re thinking and feeling, right?
The first thing I usually do is give myself a little time and space. So, so simple. But. When we’re in the throes of a perfectly terrible mood we can often look to inflict and spread it to others. Cue taking a stroll, chucking on some great tunes and just walking.
Strapped for time? At some point we all are. Increase the speed of the walk. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes if you walk and hold as quick a pace as possible for that whole time. Even better, when we do this we can’t really replay any unhelpful stuff from the day over and over because we’re too focused on keeping your speed up (many thanks Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman for Thinking Fast and Slow!).
Act like a General
Okay, this is when that ‘parenthood won the battle, but not the war’ mantra kicks in. After reminding myself that sometimes those moments of Gruelling Parenthood might get one over me on certain days, overall it won’t bloody win. We got this team.
After reminding ourselves of this, it’s time to start conjuring up images of generals standing around a table, looking at war pieces, strategizing and poking pieces with that stick, pointer, things they all seem to have in old movies.
Like these generals after a defeat, it’s about working out one change or take away to be ready for the next thing. Whether it’s choosing to get more sleep by not falling into a Netflix coma on the couch at night, giving your kids more of a heads up before you have to head out or get ready for something, or park closer to the door of the supermarket to reduce the chances of having to carry two kids AND all your groceries (man, that was a big learning last week), we can grab one simple thing to help us next time…if we’re looking for it.
A quick tip. Don’t try and do this straight away. Give yourself a little bit of time – do the walk first!
Find the Funny
If everything is still just feeling no good bring on YouTube. This wondrous thing full of videos just waiting to make you LOL, LMAO or go all out and ROFL.
Smiling and laughing makes a difference. You can’t but help have your mood shifted if you do. Whether it’s comedians narrating over animals, watching comedians in cars getting coffee or amazingly awkward and hilarious moments in Family Feud, find the funny and switch off for a moment or two.
(And then don’t forget to share them with me, please!)
We know some grueling parenthood days and moments might get the better of us, but we’ll get the war.
Here’s to the week ahead,
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