Hi Liz, I am 24-years-old and a single mother of a very wonderful 2-year-old boy. Between two jobs, raising my son and trying to have a regular adult life, my life has become very stressful. I was wondering if you have any tips on how to live a stress free life while still being a good parent and a friend, all at the same time. Sometimes I feel like my stress is being directed towards my son and I don't really like that. If you could please give me some advice and or tips I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!
Hi in Flint-
Thank you for writing I hope I can help. First of all, there is no doubt that holding down two jobs and raising a child alone is a stressful life waiting to happen, so know that you are in good company. The fact that you’re able to step off of this enough to see that your stress is being misdirected toward your son, says an enormous amount about you…you get it, you’re connected and you’re on it.
The good news about stress and feeling overwhelmed with it, is that it can be so much more manageable than you realize. First and foremost, commit right now to the promise that you will not misdirect your frustrations and take them out on your son. You can do this easily. Pay attention when you feel it coming on and stop yourself- leave the room if you must. Taking the pent up stress from our days out on our kids is about the most common parenting flaw there is. We ALL do it, and we know we shouldn’t. You are human, forgive yourself, applaud yourself for noting it and make some changes.
My most valuable tips for managing stress involve changing our thinking. As loaded with doings, and responsibilities as our lives can feel, it is crucial to remember that this stuff we’re struggling with and cramming into a day, an hour a minute or a weekend? This stuff is the journey, it’s our life for the moment, rather than fighting it which feels to be the natural reaction remember to live in it. Try and find what is good and fun and right about it. If cooking dinner used to be a fun event and now it’s a chore, change it back to being fun and live in the moment of it. Not all the mundane stress inducers can we make fun, I know. My point is to try and get yourself to remember that when everything begins to bleed into tasking….is when the stress will surface. So think carefully, if you have to get groceries, do the laundry, give your son a bath….try and remember to find the good life in it. If we don’t, it will all pass us by and our memories of our days turn into moments, and times we hope to forget.
Step back, look in and find as many of the things that you are doing as you can that can become something you enjoy rather than have to do. You might want to consider cutting some things form life right now, things that you feel can be put off unti later when you might be more equipped to take more on. I say, when we’re stressed, clean out the doings that are not n=mandatory for your life. Lessen the load if you can!
Crucial for you also is to find a way to make the time in your life to do nothing. Most crazed ,running, working, single parents really don’t find time to give ourselves the small amount of quiet we need in a day. This has worked magic for people. Even if it’s sitting in the car before you get out at the end of the day. Don’t talk on the phone or laundry list in your head, take five or ten minutes to listen to music, lie down, stare at the floor, meditate, attempt a yoga stretch. Do something that only involves you.
Lastly- you have an option to give some serious thought to getting some support right now. Two jobs a toddler, maybe it’s time to ask your mom your sister, someone you love, for some help, in wherever you might need it the most. Paying a small sum of money for someone looking for any job, might be worth the benefit to relieve just a small part your daily load.
Thanks for taking the time to write in. Take a careful look around for the ways you can move yourself in the direction of peace and gratitude. Stay strong you are clearly in what I call warrior mode. You can do it! Luck and Peace Liz