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8 Ways to Lighten Your Parenting Load

Raising kids is supposed to enrich our lives, yet parents today are so overwhelmed that they hardly ever remember to stop and smell the roses.  Mighty Mommy shares 8 tips on how to lighten the load and enjoy your role as a parent.

By
Cheryl Butler,
December 2, 2013
Episode #258

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Tip #4:  Create Adult Playtime

Remember what it was like to have fun? For many parents, life is about crossing things off a neverending to-do list. Without time built into each day for nourishing our spirit, we become more vulnerable to frustration and stress.

See also: 5 Tips to Stay Inspired as a Parent

Break up your to-do lists by having some adult playtime.  Grab some crayons and make a card for your partner or a coworker. Have a dance contest with your children. Find reasons to have a good, old-fashioned belly laugh.  These small acts can make a big difference in lightening your stress level by helping you reconnect with the playful and happy parts of yourself that can get buried under the list of things to do. 

Tip #5:  Do One Thing at a Time

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like your parenting duties will never end when you’ve got a full week—especially on a harried Monday morning.  One of the best pieces of parenting advice I ever received from my friend who has triplets was to not look at the week as a whole but to look at it in pieces.  

Take things one at a time. Today, don’t focus on Friday. You’ll get there soon enough. Instead, focus on the next thing directly in front of you. Do that task, and when you’re done, do the next—one step at a time.

Tip #6:  Adopt a New Phrase

I used to be the type of parent who had a tough time making a decision that was best for me and my family because I either didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings by saying “no” or I figured I could handle just “one more thing.”  

I soon realized that my family needed a lighthearted mother, not one who was dragging a ton of guilt around with her. So I adopted a catch phrase for when I was put on the spot to make a commitment—“Let me think about that and if I can help, I’ll get back to you.”  After a couple of months, it became second nature, and I’ve definitely lightened my load by using that same phrase for over 10 years now!

Tip #7: Let it Go

One thing that can weigh you down as a parent is hanging on to hurts or things you can’t change, like if your son fails to make the basketball team or if your neighbor’s daughter thrives as the social butterfly in school while your own daughter awkwardly struggles to fit in. 

Deciding what’s really important in life and what you can let go of will lighten your load so be mindful of what you have control over and what you cannot change. Then focus on what you can be thankful for and let the rest go.

Tip # 8:  Less Is More

If you want to lighten up—both physically and mentally—you may want to adopt one of my favorite philosophies: “Less Is More.”  When we’re constantly surrounded by physical clutter, it’s nearly impossible to relax and live in the moment with our family because we become overwhelmed with managing our stuff.  

In my constantly moving household of 8 kids, my sanity depends on my surroundings being organized, especially in the hubs like the kitchen and laundry room.  An easy breezy atmosphere lends to a light and airy parenting style so the less stuff I have to take care of, the more free time I have for my family.

How do you eliminate some of the load you carry as a parent?  Share your thoughts in the comment section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or e-mail me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com.  Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

Parenting is a serious job, but it’s also supposed to be enjoyable.  Look for ways you can lighten up on some of your regular family duties so you can actually enjoy your children. Until next time, Happy Parenting!

Family time and other images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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