Navigating Bad Days As A Parent
One of the most challenging things about being a parent is that you never get a day off. Not even the hard ones. But not every day is going to go as planned.
Bad days happen. There’s no stopping them. But how do you navigate them while being a parent? When we’re frustrated and stressed, we may discharge those emotions onto others instead of processing them ourselves. As a parent, our children are easy targets for discharging our emotions because they’re smaller than us and we have authority over them. And frankly, they’re always there. And we may feel they add to our stress when days aren’t going well.
We want to avoid this — that’s obvious. But how can we muddle through the stresses of a bad day while still functioning enough to care for our kiddos (and not lash out at them)?
Now, you never know when a bad day will hit. But you can still find ways to be prepared in case a bad day does come your way. Some ways to be prepared as a parent include:
- keeping snacks in your bag/car (both for you and your kiddos)
- storing water in your bag/car
- having an extra pair of clothes in your bag/car (accidents happen…)
- keeping a blanket in your car (you’d be surprised how often a spare blanket can come in handy)
- prepping meals/snacks the night before (this is great for busy days but also bad days when you have no more will power to do anything, let alone cook)
2: Start Your Day With ‘You’ Time
Again, you never know when a day will turn sour. However, starting each day with ‘you’ time will help you tackle unexpected challenges. Because you are starting from a positive place, all the hard stuff will be easier to navigate. This is especially important for parents because, let’s face it, we hardly get a moment to ourselves anymore. This may require waking up earlier than normal. Which may feel impossible as a parent. But even just an extra twenty minutes to yourself in the morning can bring you lots of benefits. Examples of ‘You’ Time include:
3: Positive Coping Techniques
This is crucial for when you’re in the thick of it. Especially while you’re trying to juggle parenting responsibilities and overcome a day that’s going wrong. You need to lean on positive coping techniques to keep your cool and continue functioning as a parent. If your day is rough, try pausing for ten minutes to do a positive coping technique. Some examples include:
- taking a walk
- practicing deep breathing
- dance party (you can include your kiddos in this one!)
- calling someone you trust
- eating a nutritious snack
- sitting in the grass/standing barefoot in the grass (aka: grounding)
- singing a song
- taking a power nap
- practicing self-compassion (This requires you to validate your emotions: “Of course I’m stressed,” or “It makes sense that this upset me.” It may mean giving yourself a hug or stroking your arm. It can be talking to yourself in the mirror and listing three things you like about yourself or three things you have down well today).
One of the most challenging things about being a parent is that you never get a day off. Not even the hard ones. You can’t shut down and numb out because these tiny humans still depend on you. But not every day is going to go as planned (a side effect of being a parent, am I right?) And that sucks. However, having some things prepped for bad days, getting in some ‘you’ time each morning, and leaning on positive coping techniques will help you when the going gets rough.
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