Monday, April 20, 2015

Staying Calm While Parenting

    You know that popular saying you see everywhere on t-shirts, baseball caps, and bumper stickers that says "Keep calm and carry on?" I'm sure you have seen it... because it has been so overused and printed on everything within the last year or two. 
    For some reason, I can't say I have been a big fan of this saying. It's actually kind of bugged me. I think mostly because I do see it everywhere, but also because most people just like the saying but don't try to follow the message's direction.

    Despite my dislike for this saying, I thought of it today. Baby Picturesque, thankfully, started sleeping well throughout the night again, after a month or more of waking up early every morning. Unfortunately the last two nights though, she has been waking up at 5 am again. This morning I found myself exhausted and really annoyed that she wouldn't go back to sleep. I had gotten over it by the time I had made us both breakfast and sat down for our morning snuggles in the rocking chair prior to her first nap.    
    While we were snuggling, I was watching Joyce Meyer, and she was talking about Psalm 91. Joyce was talking about Psalm 91:3-4 "Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." When she was talking about these verses, she mentioned that her goal every day is to remain calm. To that, I realized that that had become my most recent goal every day as well.
     It's not always easy to stay calm when you have a child. Sometimes they are so cranky, and they won't stop crying no matter what you do, that it's hard to even think clear enough to focus on not only staying calm but being happy in the midst of it. So I've been making it my daily goal to try to stay calm no matter what the circumstances. I can't say I'm always successful, but having this goal in mind helps! 
    I've found that if I try to make this my daily goal, I have a better perspective on what's going on. Instead of responding emotionally to things, I can think more logically through the situation. For example, when I was less annoyed about Baby P. waking up early today... I realized that I was upset because I was worried she was getting into a bad habit again and that this was a pattern starting. I wasn't upset that she had woken up early THIS morning, I was upset because I was worried about the "what ifs" of the coming mornings. 
    Doing the following things can tend to help me to stay calm in the midst of baby tantrums or lack of sleep:

  • I take a deep, calming breath before responding.
  • I try to take a step back from the situation. I try to think through what I'm really upset about and how to deal with that current situation.
  • Sometimes I have to just put Baby P. in a safe area (like her crib or pack n' play) and go to another room for a minute just to get my head on straight. I typically don't have to do this often, this is only when we're in the no matter what I do I can't calm her down territory.
  • I pray. Praying about everything is really what gets me through every situation. Asking God for discernment and help really is the only way I have been able to not only make it through the last 11 months, but to be relatively happy and peaceful throughout those both happy and hard moments.

What helps you keep perspective in the midst of a hard kid moment? 

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