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5 Ways to Love Parenting Even More

Parenting is definitely known as "The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love," so on those trying days when you want to run and hide under the covers, here are five ways you can turn it around.

By
Cheryl Butler,
Episode #364

It’s long been said that parenting is the “toughest job you’ll ever love,” and as the mom of eight kids between 10-22, I couldn’t agree more! When I daydreamed of holding a precious newborn in my arms after nearly six years of infertility, I openly admit I was so swept away with the romantic notions that I didn’t realize many real life issues I would soon find my norm.  Colic, sleepless nights, projective vomiting and constipation (the babies, not me!) temper tantrums, food throwing, toilet training struggles, sibling squabbles, speech delays, attitudes, back talk, messy rooms, endless hours of homework—well, you get the picture.  See Also:  How to Make Sure Your Kids Don't Push Your Buttons

Parenting does indeed come with too many individual job descriptions to mention, but it certainly has far more rewarding benefits than any job I can think of—particularly when one of my kids tells me they love me. I’ll be the first to admit, however, that when you’re in the trenches of a difficult stretch with one of your kids, it’s quite easy to feel overwhelmed.

Now that I have several kids in college and don’t have toddlers anymore, I truly can’t believe how fast the years of child raising can go by. Sometimes it takes my breath away to realize they are leaving the nest and venturing out on their own. I hate to talk about regrets, so instead, let me say that I think I would’ve tried to love my job as a parent a lot more and not have worried or complained so much during challenging times when my kids were young.

Here are five ways you can turn it around and love your parenting job even more.

Tip #1:  Live in the Moment

It seems to be human nature that we drift away from the present to either a memory from the past or wishful thinking about what’s in store next for us. For a parent who is listening to a toddler throwing a tantrum in the grocery store because she can’t have 10 candy bars at the checkout lane, it’s no wonder thoughts of sending the kid off to college are all we can think about as we try to simply get out of the store unscathed. There’s no question when we’re having a difficult day with our kids we might want to wish that time away. But if we shift our mindset to accepting that many of our parenting moments aren’t going to be easy and that our kids need us, it really can make you appreciate your overall parenting job a lot more.  One of my favorite times of the day is in the morning when we’re all getting ready for school or work. I used to run around like a headless chicken trying to get everyone out the door, but now that my kids are older and can help get themselves ready, I can focus on the little things—like watching my ten-year old experiment with weird new ingredients in her oatmeal or listen to our two feisty dogs bark like crazy when the bus comes down the street.  If nothing else, when you stay focused on the interactions happening with your family right there, on that given day, you will start to connect with your kids and spouse in a more positive way.  See Also:  8 Ways to be Present With Your Kids

Tip #2: Be More Playful

So much of our parenting role is serious. We want to raise thoughtful, independent, successful young adults so we naturally set rules and boundaries that we are continually enforcing day in and day out. Throw in the monotony of our rigorous daily schedules so that we can maintain a somewhat orderly life (well, we can try!) and it doesn’t leave much time for fun and games.  Whether you have a newborn or teen when you pursue playful activities on a regular basis, you can really add a steady fun factor to your job as a parent. You don’t have to die your hair purple and dress in polka dots and stripes to be playful (but then again, why not?). But when was the last time you tickled one of your kids or played a game of charades? One of my favorite things to do with my kids is color—you should see those new adult coloring books that are all the rage right now! If spontaneous, silly moments are hard to come by, then start exploring some creative outlets that you can enjoy both with your family and alone because being more playful will not only help you love your job as a parent more, but will benefit your entire family.  See Also:  5 Ways to Say Yes to Your Kids

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