Here are a few things to remember with kids in your life:
You can no longer do what you want, when you want, to the extent that you want to. This is just how it goes. And I have a hunch that this is part of why becoming a parent has the potential to make us better people.
Children are children. You can’t expect them to not act their age. Reasonable limits, yes. Unrealistic expectations, no.
Your job as their parent is to model grown-up grown up behavior (I meant to say what I said there, as in this: Your job as their parent is to model behavior from a grown up who is grown-up). I acknowledge this is hard—especially when the models we may have in our lives have created confusion for us instead of clarity about this.
Somehow, I became a person who always needed to be doing something. I don’t feel like I’m doing all that much. In fact, I feel that I’m not doing enough. This is one of my deep down problems. I feel that I am not good enough, that I’m not doing enough, that I simply am not enough. What horrible things to learn to think! So yeah, I’m done with that. I am proud of my accomplishments in music, academia, and education. But those things don’t equal me, and I don’t equal those things. It’s okay for me to choose to do one thing with my life at a time, not one hundred things at the same time. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’m not a super-mom, a super-woman, a super-wife, or a super-anybody. I am simply me. And I can only do one thing at a time. So I’m going to focus on taking good care of my children and my home and my husband and myself and let the rest go. I can’t juggle all the things women are supposed to juggle in order to be considered a super-awesome-amazing-woman. I lose that award fair and square.
So relaxing is about being chill. I do not do chill. I don’t even know what that is. But I have had to get acquainted with it in the recent past, and I plan to get more acquainted with it as I become more serious about knocking this stress thing away from me. Relaxing means that I’m going to have to consciously wind down and be still, even when I’m doing things. I can’t be so wound up all the time. This is where everything starts working as one thing, as a system, as a unit. To help me relax, I find that I need to breathe more. And if I’m feeling tense, I find that I need to stretch more. If my mind is stressing out because there are messes everywhere and it’s the kind of day where I can’t stand to look at messes, then I have to tell myself to relax.
Everything will be okay. Everything will work out. I have three children, and children by nature are creative and playful. This (the constant creation of messes that endlessly seem strewn about) is part of being a child and part of growing up—learning to take responsibility for your things and learning to put things away when you’re done with them. Relax. You don’t have to go around cleaning up everyone else’s messes. Every time you request help, you get it. You don’t have to worry about anything. You know that you care. As long as you care about things, you can let it go until you’re able to get to it. Life with kids is so hard. Accept that fact. No amount of trying or striving or working is going to make things perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist. So relax and just do what you can.