Do you look at other parents through the highlight reel of social media – everyone’s perfect day, perfect children, perfect meals – and think everyone else has got it all together?
In truth, those of us behind the camera don’t always feel we are getting it right. Overwhelmed with daily life, anxiety can kick in, & if we are not careful, worry becomes our middle name. We question can we fit it all in, make it all happen?
Have you ever felt the “maybe I don’t have what it takes?” feeling bubbling up inside, like you are in a “pressure pot”?
I know, because I have felt it too.
Anxiety is fierce and drives us to question ourselves; it puts a filter on what’s in front of us, and if we let it, anxiety steals our joy.
Here are some practical tools that help me take the lid off my pressure pot moments & turn down the heat.
Pressure Pot 1: There’s more month than money!
Invites to parties, school clubs, unplanned ‘dress up as a famous thinggymabobs’, endless bus fares, trips, medical bills, revision guides, replacement shoes for the ones you only bought last month, unexpected and planned expenses – the list could be endless.
Why not try…
Get a solid budget. Invest time now and plan for the future. Save up with the kids and plan the month’s activities. TALK. Keep an honest dialogue with your partner. Ask “is this purposeful and does it bring joy?”. Find good deals and live within your means. Use Pinterest & find life hacks!!! CAN doesn’t mean SHOULD. Not every club & party needs attending, not every plastic must-have needs purchasing, but we do need feeding…
(Note: if you are struggling financially, CAP are brilliant for family finance support)
Pressure Pot 2: There’s just not enough hours in the day!
Classes, teams, work hours, parent drop-ins, dinner invites, baby showers, shopping trips to buy and return, trips to pick up what you forgot, doctors, recreation, making good food, cleaning, caring, work commitments, seeing people you love, going to work and back again, meaningful interactions, dog walks, reading, studying and going to the toilet & showering (if there is time!!!).
Why not try…
The calendar is KING. Nothing goes in without discussion, planning & compromise. We still put things in the diary but together we work the details. Put down your phone, look your kids in the eyes, engage with your family and stop press to eat dinner around the table. BE THERE; give your full attention (not all the time, just sometimes). Choose what is good and necessary – don’t fall prey to this ‘I feel bad if I don’t go’. Prioritize the things that bring peace to your home. Slow down, sit down & throw a blanket on everyone at least one night of the week. (Always leave room for the spontaneous but be ready emotionally and practically for the week ahead.)
Pressure Pot 3: We simply don’t have what we need!
Not having enough…Ugh. I am a ‘try to fit as many things in & work it all out later’ gal; my husband is a ‘pick a few key things & make them awesome’ guy. 1 car, big city, 3 children, 5 different daily routines = challenges. We have had over the years shared journeys, bathrooms, beds, toys, car, shoes, TV, clothes (we even shared the same phone in the early days) & sometimes we just all want the same space at the same time.
Why not try…
Ask ‘what do we do & why do we do it?’. Who needs this today, how can I make the most of this time we share & promote team work. Busy families work together. Everyone has a part to play to make the team (family) win!!! Make sure each one of the team feels valued and loved; stuff doesn’t make us feel loved but how we use stuff does.
I love this quote from an old but wise book….
When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The “worst” is never the worst. Lam 3: 28-30 (MSG)
When under pressure stop, pray, wait, take a deep breath and create a way forward.
Also you might like this if you find family life has pushed you to the edge.