When the summer temps start to rise and sizzle, consider these ways you can keep your cool and bring more positive energy into your parenting life.
Just like our kids, parents come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, ages, personalities, and abilities to cope and manage the daily joys and stressors that automatically come with being part of a family.
With so many public forums surrounding our parenting choices—social media platforms, attending sports and school functions, being out and about at the grocery store, and running other errands with our kids in tow—it’s very rare that we don’t parent without an audience (including our own kids, spouses/partners, and family members).
Although my kids do have a few commitments and planned activities for the summer months, we really do spend the majority of summer vacation unwinding and decompressing from the extremely busy school year. What I love most about these unscheduled weeks (beside not making school lunches every night!) is spending some reflective time reviewing the type of parent I’ve been during the past school year.
Summer is a great time to do a little replay of both your best and not so great parenting moments because we usually have a break in the action and can actually have some time to think and refocus.
When the summer temps start to rise and sizzle, consider these four ways you can keep your cool and bring more positive energy into your parenting life.
4 Ways to Be a Cooler Parent
- Focus on Yourself
- Stop Yelling
- Find Joy
- Practice Daily Calm
Here is each example in more detail.
1. Focus on Yourself
This past year, I did something I said I would never do again—I totally overcommitted myself to projects outside of my family and work because I was truly excited to take them on, and I figured now that my kids are much older I could manage my time and my overall mental well-being with no problem at all. Wow, was I ever wrong!
Somehow, I was delusional in thinking I could co-chair two major fundraisers for our school as well as continue being the secretary of our PTO, all while teaching CCD at our church, work full-time, freelance and care for my family. Did everything get done? Barely! I’m so thrilled with how successful our fundraising events were, and I truly did enjoy being so involved. I managed to keep up with work, my kid’s schedules, and we didn’t eat cold beans for dinner, but you know what did get moved to the back burner for nearly this past entire year? Me!
When I don’t take time for myself, although I manage to stay on top of my personal and work commitments, I just don’t have that “extra oomph” that I usually have, and deep inside, I just don’t feel like me.
Although it’s super cool to be so involved with our kid’s schools, it’s even cooler to show your kids that you take time to care for your own needs. Once these fundraisers were done, I jumped back into power walking every morning, started socializing with my friends after work, and resumed scheduling a few hours to myself for whatever strikes my mood that particular week. (This week it was a hand massage at my favorite spa and an hour, alone, at our local farmer’s market.)
When I make my own health and wellness a priority I model for my children how important that is. Equally as important is taking time to enjoy your own hobbies. There are too many wonderful and exciting opportunities awaiting us, regardless of our role as a parent, and when our kids see us cultivating our own passions, we show them by example how to keep their own tanks full of good energy.
In my episode, 5 Ways that Selfish Parenting Can Benefit Your Family, there are more ideas on how to focus on your own needs while becoming a better parent in the process.
2. Stop Yelling
In the 25 years I’ve been a mom, one thing that totally makes me cringe is when I’ve caught myself yelling at my kids. Many times, to be honest, it happened rather mindlessly. If I was in a frazzled state and was trying to get crowd control of my gang, or was even trying to just round them up to get in the car, somehow raising my voice was what I thought would be an effective way to get their attention.
I’m not a yeller by nature, but when exasperated and worn out with nagging kids or bouts when no one seemed to be listening, I admit, yelling was an easy alternative. Thankfully, my husband came home one day and heard me yelling (OK, maybe it was even screeching) to the kids to get their sports gear ready for practice. The problem was, I was in the kitchen, and they were at the other end of the house. My loud voice was just taking up a lot of hot air in the house, and the kids had totally tuned me out.
He has always been the more patient of the two of us, so he very lovingly took me aside and told me how wretched I sounded when he came home a little early that day. I was tired and defensive, but when I calmed down, I realized he was right.
That was a turning point for me, and from then on I really did pay attention to my volume and my tone when I communicated with my kids. I certainly don’t like to be yelled at and what an awful example it sets for our kids on how to treat others. Not cool at all!