Becoming a parenting is a magical experience that fills your heart with love and catapults you on a journey of self growth like nothing else, however it can also be really full on and overwhelming.
Only a parent truly understands how brutal parenting can be at times, especially when everything hits at once. Sickness, tantrums, injuries, power struggles, fights with your spouse, money stress, and basically anything else you can think of.
How do we make it through these times when everything just feels so overwhelming?
Here are some tips;
1) Look at your belief systems
The first thing to look at is your foundational belief systems around stress and challenges. Are you striving for a life whereby all of your challenges and stresses are behind you? Maybe when you land the income you want, or when your children hit a certain age, or when you and your partner have more time to focus on the relationship. Is this the vision you’re constantly holding in your mind?
I hate to be the one to burst this bubble but this way of thinking is a big trap, and is a fantasy that doesn’t exist. Yes, you can alleviate short term problems temporarily, but the nature of life is to constantly bring forth challenges and stress. Even billionaires face massive challenges and have things that totally stress them out. Therefore, it’s not about trying to avoid this reality, but how do we both surrender to its inevitability AND prepare ourselves accordingly to deal with it when it happens.
By adopting this change in paradigm, the next challenge won’t hit you like a bag of bricks. You will be expecting it and will be prepared for it.
2) Grounding your emotions
You can expect challenges as a parent and yet still not be prepared for them. Children add a new dynamic into the mix that can add a level of stress that many people would struggle to cope with. So how do we get prepared?
The most important thing to be prepared for is the intense emotions that will come up. People without kids tend to get a lot more space and time to regulate themselves through different coping mechanisms. It might be going to the gym, for a coffee or drink with a friend, for a surf, a hit of tennis or a ride of the bike, watching a movie. Anything – including unhealthy coping mechanisms.
As a parent (especially if you have more than one kid), there is often very little time for these luxuries. This means that frustration and tension can build up in the body, and then explode out in flashes of anger and exasperation. This is something that is important to avoid as it can cause a lot of damage in the relationship with your spouse, and maybe even your children.
What we need is to have a method of grounding our emotions that can be done anywhere and at anytime. This method is what is called embodiment.
Embodiment is about coming back to the breath and the body, and knowing how to move emotions and other energies through us so that they don’t become stuck in the body. Embodiment also allows us to regulate our nervous system to avoid living permanently in fight/flight mode like so many people do.
If you want to learn a bit more about embodiment please download and read my free ebook title ‘Becoming an Embodied Dad’.
3) Keep seeking to improve
Now that your paradigm around stress and challenge has shifted, and you know how to ground intense emotions rather than let them control you, what next?
The next step is to simply keep honing in on your skills and constantly seek a deeper level of embodiment. There are a million things in our divided, fast paced, technology ruled world that seek to bring us out of our body’s, so there is ample opportunity for practice.
I was forced to learn embodiment in order to overcome a long standing sleeping pill addiction I had, and after I overcame that I thought nothing would be able to overwhelm me. But then I experienced betrayal from a friend, which was one of the most horrible and intense feelings I’d ever experienced. This made me realise that I can never underestimate what life can throw at you, and that you always need to stay vigilant and keep improving.
This is not to say you should be fearful or paranoid, just know that anything could strike at any time. This is just accepting the reality of life.
I hope this article helped you on your parenting journey and I would love to hear from any other parents out there about how you deal with stress and challenges.