It is important to find ways to de-stress as a parent. Why? Well, being a parent is the toughest role that we play and being the best parent all the time… well it is just impossible. As a father of 4 beautiful children, I am pulled in so many directions. However, I have found some ways to keep me on my toes to try and be the best person, husband and father that I can be.
Here is how I am about to de-stress as a parent:
1- Take 15 minutes to yourself. This can be as easy as running to McDonalds to pick up a Diet Coke for your wife when she is tired and needs a little caffeine (she will be happy and you will look like the hero!) Or just run & fill up your gas tank. This is just a little way to get out, wind out, relax and turn on your favorite play-list of upbeat songs (I like to use Pandora & YouTube).
2- Have a “go-to” friend. Someone that you can talk to. I like to talk to my dad or my wife’s dad. I also talk to my brother in law and I have a couple of good friends in our neighborhood. They are all going through the same things as me, or they have been there. Build up that relationship with a chat every day, even if its just for a few minutes. You want to be there to listen when they need an ear, too. As much as I love talking to my wife, its good to have a guy to talk to.
3- Work out. I played football through college and I worked out every day from the time that I was young until I graduated college. Then I stopped. It caught up to me, not in weight as much as in energy. I was run down and as my wife would say “crabby” when I wasn’t finding a way to get this stress out (work is stressful). It doesn’t have to be a lot. I try to take a 15 minute jog or walk around the neighborhood or I’ll take the kids on a bike ride (pulling around a kid’s wagon on a bike is not easy, let me tell you).
I go to the gym with a buddy of mine (his wife and my wife work out together, too). I used to make excuses about not having them time, but like I said, its 15-45 minutes a day. You can pick to use that time to do something for yourself, or to watch TV. The time will pass, either way, as my father-in-law says.
I take vitamins that give me that extra boost that I need, too (I take the daily men’s vitamins because they give me energy and just make me feel better overall. I put off taking vitamins for years, but my wife finally convinced me to start taking them and I have to say- she was right. Shh… no need to blurt that one out loud).
Its important to take care of yourself, so you can take care of your family.
4- Laugh. Be silly with your kids. Be a monster. Be a shark and they are the fish. Have a dance party (this is a good chance to show them a few of your favorite songs, too). Find funny things on YouTube to watch with your wife – and then make jokes about it for the next few days & you’ll laugh again while she rolls her eyes at you (but laughs as she walks away).
5- Find a project or hobby. This is hard when you have kids. I get it. I have four kids and I don’t have time to build things all day or run around. I do things that they can help with.
I coach football for our son Jack’s team, I coach wrestling with Jack and Beau. I coach soccer for Jack, Beau and next year… even Ethan’s team. Not quite sure that I’ll coach ballet for Allie when the time comes, but hey- you never know! I’m known to be quite light on my feet (my wife may beg to differ…)
I make things for my wife (like her mudroom bench and wall-bed). I built a mustang with my son, Beau and my father in law (Beau LOVES to learn about cars!) Just do something productive. Who doesn’t like to smash things with a hammer, right?
My wife told me one time, when I was stressed and having a bad day, that she would rather I be home for 10 minutes and happy, than home for the whole weekend and stressed. I took that to heart. My family feeds off of my energy. I want to give them the best of me. These 5 tips to de-stress as a parent are what I need for that to happen. They better myself and in turn, it betters our family.