Part of being a parent is just admitting that you’re tired. Perpetually, everlastingly tired. You can be tired and completely content at the same time, of course, but oftentimes that’s not the case. We are mentally and physically exhausted. Add in a toddler meltdown or a diaper blowout, and suddenly you feel like you have been pushed over the edge.
It’s no secret that I’m a big supporter of attachment parenting, but that’s not really what this article is about. Rather than talking about what to say to your kid, or how to act, I’m asking you to look inward. Freeze for a split second and get a sense of perspective. And say a mantra to yourself.
Here are three mantras for tired parents: connect with them, memorize them, use them, and breathe.
What is a mantra?
Simply put, a mantra is a phrase you memorize. It should be simple and easy to remember, so that you can recall it when you need it. You’ll notice that the ones suggested here are short and sweet.
Mantras are great for meditation or calming anxiety because you can recite them over and over again. The repetition helps you relax and focus, and can be almost hypnotic. I used mantras religiously for my second birth, and do even now when I’m very anxious or in extreme pain.
For the purposes of this article, a mantra is just something quick you can recall to get you mentally back where you need to be. You can say it aloud or just in your mind. The simplicity means that the mantra will be easy to remember, and you can depend on it when you need to calm down and get a sense of perspective!
Mantra #1: It’s All Worth It In the End
The big point of this article is for us to take a moment and remind ourselves that this just a snapshot of a beautiful life. We can see past the frustration of the here and now, but we need to train our brain to do that.
When you’re fatigued or pissed off, I know that it can be difficult to take a moment and zoom out to the big picture. You’re teaching your toddler to use a fork, or put on their own pants, or pick up the blocks for the eighth time this morning. Maybe you’re tempted to throw in a threat or consequence, or just do the task yourself instead.
It’s all worth it in the end.
Your child is learning more than just what you’re working on in that moment. There’s so much more than what you see on the surface! And I’m a firm believer that we need to prepare our children for a world they will one day rule. We can’t just put out fires and avoid hitting the immediate obstacles. We’ve gotta be big picture.
So try to be patient. Think about what lessons your child can learn from this moment. And trust me: it really is all worth it in the end.
Mantra #2: I’m So Happy That You Are My Child
If your hands are full and you don’t feel like thinking about the big picture (or even an image of your kid as a real live grownup), then let’s simplify.
I’m so happy that you are my child.
This mantra also forces you to take a step back for a minute, but you’re removing yourself for a different reason. This time, it’s just to love and appreciate your child.
So say this mantra to yourself, or look your child in the eye and say it to them. This is about as simple as it gets.
Mantra #3: I love that my child is
Is your child headstrong? Stubborn? Persistently asking “Why?” Train your brain to take the frustrating behavior and see it in a different way.
I love that my child is curious. They love to ask questions and learn about everything from bugs to clouds. It’s amazing to me that my child knows so much, and they’re learning more every day!
I love that my child is creative. They can imagine the craziest, silliest things! I appreciate that they’re excited about their world, and that they’re excited to share their world with me.
I love that my child is considerate. It may take an extra minute or two to get into the store when my child is concerned about the well-being of a ladybug, but it makes my heart smile. Once I stop and think about how selfless and empathetic my kid is, I can’t help but be thankful.
Bonus: Marie’s Suggestion
My fantastic friend Marie over at Create Balanced Life wrote a post for me recently called My Least Favorite Parenting Advice, in which she admits that hearing something like “Your kids are growing so fast!” doesn’t really help you live in the moment. Instead, she thinks about how “At least my kid won’t be [enter annoying behavior here, like picking their nose or peeing on the floor] when they’re 18.” The article is hilarious and sincere – I hope you enjoy it!
And I hope that you enjoyed my three mantras for the tired parent! Let me know if one of these suggestions speaks to you and helps you in your daily life!