We’ve all done it. We have hit the wall. Run out of the will to parent. And if we say we have not ever hit it then we lie.
The wall is hard and the bricks can really pile up. A stubborn child meets a determined rule. A sleepless parent loses the ability to be creative. Kids rally with each other to form a united front and the tug of war of debate and consequence begins. It is part of it all. And we all can’t be June Cleaver all the time. Not even if we did get a lifetime supply of Aqua Net with coupons.
At least, I admit with my hand held high, I can’t!
Lately my wall has been sitting on my lap. Not because the kids have really changed. They are just different, we’ll say. More defiant, more bold, more in tune to the empty threats and false promises of ‘red hineys’ and ‘hanging up by your toes’. None of which have actually happened, of course, and they know that.
Maybe that and the hustle and bustle of Back to School and the constant talk of “13 more days!” has them more excited and less willing to settle down. I don’t know. But I do know that I am reaching my breaking point faster these days and I don’t like it.
So, I have devised 5 things that I can do to help remove the wall from my lap so that I can be the stand up mom I aim to be 76.465% of the time. We’ll just call the other percentage ‘Barely getting by!”
These is a serious To-Do list too. No jokes like “eat chocolate and drink wine.”
OK, but that is a good one… so 6 Things to do If You Don’t Want to Parent Anymore.
Drop and Give them a Story
Magical things happen when the written word is in play. Especially with my kids. So when I don’t want to do it anymore, I yell, “Story Circle!” and they all come running, favorite books in hand, to listen intently to whatever princess needs saving, treasure needs finding or animal needs rescuing. They all three sit, content with the attention they probably were striving for anyway with their bad behavior, and listen quietly for as long as it takes. And for me, it gives me time to do something in motherhood that gets lost in the work, the chores, the bills and life… I get to look at my beautiful angels loving time with me. The energy is transformed and all is well… until the next fight.
Call a Friend
Chances are your friends have been there too. I know all of my friends have. We get to that point and we just want to sit down, bury our heads in our arms, curse the mother’s who never told us how frustrating it could be, and cry. So even though you just vacuumed the living room for the 3rd time that morning and you see your 3 year old heading to the table with the Rice Krispies and you know with all of your heart that even if you give her a bowl, she will dump that box on your carpet, but you just don’t have the gumption to stop the new mess, then take your phone, walk outside and hit speed dial 5. Whomever answers is who you talk to for 5 full minutes. Leave the door cracked so you can see your child making the mess, but talk away like nothing is happening. At least, for me, when I go back in after a good laugh and a little understanding, I don’t mind so much the constant work of preventing her from making another mess.
Turn Off the TV
I can not tell you how many times I have been busy and harried and frustrated and just tired of all of the NOISE in this house! Between three young kids, the phone, the dog – who by the way has not figured out that barking at a squirrel 50 feet up in a tree is a totally useless activity – and the voices in my head, the noise is completely overwhelming! And since eliminating those distractions – the voices are my friends, don’t make fun – is virtually impossible, I’ll eliminate what I can. And that is the TV. Plus, by turning it off, we are all forced to use our imaginations. In addition, it just eliminates one more thing that can distract me from being able to focus on taking care of my kids. Because I can get into it – just as anyone can – and things can and will happen during that moment when I am engrossed. And the new mess, pulled hair or whatever else can go wrong when mommy is distracted, is very stressful and an unnecessary addition to my day!
Take a Walk
There is something refreshing and uplifting about getting outside. Now, right now in Texas, it is about 105° every day. So at 3 in the afternoon we have to walk to the length of the house. But if you can do it, head outside, if only for a minute! Yes, it is a L O T of work to get three kids ready to go on a 5 minutes walk up the street. But once I get out and I walk and they ride bikes or we all walk or one walks and the other three complain, it’s OK! Because we are out! We escaped the routine of the daily schedule, found something new to see, spent some time alone together without phones and toys strewn about. Besides, I don’t have to clean anything outside and that makes me happy!
Pull Up Your Big Girl Pants
Sometimes, even though you are DONE, you just have to pull up your big girl pants and do it anyway. I imagine I am a boxer about to enter the ring. I know I can’t win. They have the power to knock me out and break my spirit but, to be honest, no one is going to do it for me, so I’d better buck up! I have to dig in my heels, stay away from the corner and swing with determination. Otherwise, they will take over!
Drink Wine and Eat Chocolate
Better yet, pour the rich Merlot over the chocolate and enjoy. Sometimes it just has to be done.
I know I can not be alone. I know that we all have to struggle sometimes. I know there are no perfect mothers – if you are one, I’d like to bronze you and put you in a museum please – but there are a lot of mothers striving to be perfect. Just that pressure alone can be overwhelming!
How do you do it? What do you do when the parenting gets tough. When the patience is gone and there is no end in sight to that frustrating phase? What do you do when you don’t want to parent anymore?