This post is a partnership with Stress Health, an initiative of the Center for Youth Wellness, but the opinions expressed are my own.
Can you believe it’s October already? I swear, just when I thought I had it all together, I look at the calendar and realize that there are only a week until Halloween, less than two months until Thanksgiving, and Christmas — well, I’m not going there. One thing leads to another and then life spirals.
I know you know what I mean.
We just got into the routine of school lunches, homework, and the regular weekly meltdowns over chores. But somehow, despite our routines, we’re feeling stress. All of us. The stress to keep all the plates balanced, the stress to please the ones we love, the pressure to spend time together.
And honestly, I thought I was hiding my stress well. But who was I kidding, my stress was visible to everyone around me. Especially my kids. And that’s when it hit home. My stressed-out life was affecting everyone around me.
So it was time to dive into some of the things that helped me alleviate stress, or at least manage it better. My kids are watching me and learning from me, and I wasn’t cutting it.
I want my kids to know they can rely on me no matter what. And that starts with developing a solid and supportive relationship with them. Even my toddler knows that no matter what, he can come to mom for a reassuring, comforting hug. Yes, I want my older kids to learn to express themselves with words, but a welcoming embrace can still heal a bad day at school.
I need my kids to know that they are in a safe environment. That it’s ok to show their emotions, and that we have bad days too. Sometimes they see their dad and I argue. Sometimes they see me cry. They always see us apologize, though. It’s ok to show emotion in front of your kids; I think it’s a good thing!
Of course, I need people to rely on as well. Just as my kids need me, I need my husband and feel it’s important to make time for him, too. Yes, often the kids celebrate when the babysitter comes over, but sometimes I feel guilty for leaving them home after a rough week so my husband and I can have some quality marriage time. But you can’t pour from an empty cup, and my marriage is the foundation for this family.
Mental Health Days
Sometimes developing a relationship with my kids means listening to what they aren’t saying. When they come home from school frustrated, but can’t quite articulate what is wrong, I can usually attribute it to being tired. And while they may be mad at me for implementing an early bedtime, or saying no to a sleepover that weekend, I’m sure they are secretly relieved.
Sometimes, it’s important to take a break. And when you’re a kid, you can’t always get adults to agree with you. I like to give my kids a mental health day once a semester or so. A day where they miss school and just relax. I do try to coordinate this so they don’t miss out on tests and when they may have a down day at school. They then learn to look at the signs of burnout and then take some time for themselves.
When your kids have a solid foundation in life, including how they develop and maintain relationships, they will be prepared for the hard things that come their way. Now if someone could remind their mother of that on a weekly basis.