Let’s talk about a simple strategy for losing your shit less often: taking more space – both physical and psychological – from your kids.
Time studies have found that we parents – even those of us who work full time – spend more time with our children than parents of any previous generation. This is great if it’s working for you, but if you’re losing it with your kids a lot, then it’s probably not going so well. (Welcome to the club. It’s a big one, and we’re happy to have you!)
If that’s the case, then you may want to think about getting a little more space from them.
You can absolutely, positively do this without damaging or weakening your relationship with your children. In fact, taking the time and space you need to take care of yourself will help you be more present and patient when you are with them.
You may need to take a couple of hours or a couple of days away on a more regular basis, or just find ways to get a little psychological and emotional distance from their shenanigans. (They may be your monkeys, but it doesn’t have to be your circus. Really.) I offer a number of strategies for how to do all of this in HOW TO STOP LOSING YOUR SH*T WITH YOUR KIDS.
I know this is easier said than done. It’s hard because we love our kids, and we want to be with them. Or at least we want to want to be with them. Or maybe it’s hard because we don’t have much support, which means we spend every free minute parenting, with few opportunities to catch a break. And it’s hard for all of us because the current parenting culture tells us we should have the energy and interest to engage with our children as often as humanly possible.
I call BS on that last one.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from your kids. In fact, it’s a requirement for not losing your shit with them. Everyone needs time alone or with other adults. Everyone needs space from their closest family members, even our children. Yup. It’s true.
Here’s how I put it in HOW TO STOP LOSING YOUR SH*T WITH YOUR KIDS:
“Our children don’t need us constantly by their sides. That sort of continuous attention can feel intrusive and irritating. Rather, they need us to attune to their needs, to notice when they’re calm and happy and want to be left alone, or when they’re struggling and can figure it out on their own, as opposed to when they actually need our help. This sort of thoughtful responsiveness requires us to slow down, get out of our own heads, and remember that a strong relationship isn’t about unwavering connection. It’s about noticing what your child needs at this moment, what you need, letting your kids deal as often as they can, and taking care of yourself as often as you can.”
This is nothing to feel guilty about. This is skillful parenting.
I’ve got a lot more to say about creating space for yourself in my new book, HOW TO STOP LOSING YOUR SH*T WITH YOUR KIDS. It hits the shelves on August 20, and you can pre-order now at your favorite online bookseller. Reserve your copy now!
Hang in there… you’re doing a GREAT job (even if it doesn’t always feel that way!).
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