Looking after children can be stressful. You have to do a billion things at once while also remembering to do a billion things in the near future. It’s a tightrope. Actually, some days it’s like walking on a tightrope while frying an egg and balancing a chest of drawers on your head.
So how do you accomplish the constantly changing, 100% demanding job of being a parent without turning into Screechy Shouty Mum? How can you be Super Cool Zen Mum? Here are a few pointers…
Write a done list
Sod you, you infernal to-do list. The to-do list is never sated. It’s like a judgmental relative, sitting purse-lipped at the table wearing a hat and saying ‘I TOLD you to make that dental appointment today and you STILL haven’t done it.’ Instead, make an ‘I already did it’ list. Write down every single thing you’ve done today*. Show it to your partner with a triumphant flourish, then go out with your friends, leaving him to do bath time. JOB DONE.
Lie face down on the floor mumbling
Sometimes childcare can be too much. When you’re exhausted from being used as a horse/shouted at/whined at/manipulated like a human Barbie, lie face down for a while with your face in the nice cool carpet. Tell your kids that Mum has had enough right now and if you disturb her you will sell them on eBay. Then relax for a moment and breathe in that soothing shagpile for five minutes. NB: make sure you don’t get any Lego embedded in your face.
Take up a soothing activity
Vent your woes on someone in a call centre
I don’t know about you, but I get an 0845 call every single day at about 11am. If you get a nuisance call and your child has just poured 2 litres of milk in the washing machine and painted her bumhole orange, and you feel like you might explode with rage, then pick it up. Pick up the phone and tell that poor penniless person in a call centre in Delhi everything about your life. Ask them what they think you should do. Pick their brains. Cry, vent, and despair. You’ll get to dump all your stress onto a stranger and they will never, EVER call you again.
Visualise the ocean
Close your eyes and imagine you’re lying on the beach with the warm sand between your toes. The water is lapping softly, a warm breeze is rustling the trees and your only job of the day is to rub suncream into the tanned, sinewy shoulders of a hot surfer dude. Then open your eyes and realise you’re standing in the Whoops! Section at Asda fondling an out of date melon, and you’re about to be moved along by a security guard.
Mindfulness is very fashionable these days, and the good news is you can practice mindfulness even when you’re with your child. When you take them to the park, try to be completely present in the moment. Take notice of the sights, sounds and smells. (ie: The sight of your child falling off a climbing frame, the sound of screaming, and the smell of the baby doing a massive poo.)
Listen to relaxing music
Music is one of life’s great healers, so take some time out to listen to some nice soothing classical music. Stick on Classic FM, open the windows, and take some deep breaths. It’ll really relax you. That’s if you can hear it properly over the booming sounds of ‘Let it Go’, ‘You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful’ or ‘What does the F****** Fox Say?’
Follow a sensible diet
Often, when we’re feeling stressed, we don’t remember to eat properly. So make sure that you support your central nervous system with the right foods to help you keep going and tackle the tasks at hand. These foods include Tunnocks Tea Cakes, jam doughnuts, Party Rings, Quavers, Hob Nobs, Haribo, gallons of coffee, and bits of old toast your kid left on the side of their plate.
Remember to breathe! Breathing properly is a brilliant stress reliever. Breathe in fully…and exhale slowly…..breathe in fully…..and exhale slooooooowly. (This method is even more effective when you’ve got a fag on the go.)
Eat yoghurt in a bubble bath
If adverts are to believed, us knackered Mums like nothing more than eating low fat Activia in the bath while dreaming of hunky firemen. While I have yet to meet a woman who eats yoghurt in the bath, apparently this is what you’re supposed to do to relax. So break out that Radox, grab a tub of Ski from the fridge and chill out. And if all else fails, at least you can use the yoghurt to cure your thrush…