When asked to “write about taking care of mental health as a parent, whether you have a diagnosed mental illness or are just feeling the mental shift of balancing everything.” I remembered the last 16 months, and nearly cried. With rage.
It is also cisgendered, heteronormative and privileged. What has been taken from mothers this year is criminal. In New York City, where I live, during Covid-19 bars seemed to be more of a priority than schools. Everywhere, the workload on mothers doubled or tripled while our incomes withered. The balance of power has never been logical in our culture…
I would fall asleep just fine, and then something would wake me — a snore, my bladder, a 2 a.m. garbage truck — and getting back to sleep took hours.
Or it would happen as soon as my head hit the pillow, and my chaotic day finally came to a close. I would lie there, wondering “Why is my heart racing now? I’m so tired; why can’t I just fall right asleep?” My anxiety was haywire.
There were many factors at once, and they snowballed. I had a young child with developmental delays. Peri-menopause. A cardiac arrhythmia. The accumulated feelings…
We don’t have the usual parenting challenges. We don’t have neurotypical kids. Our kids are intense, our time precious and our anxiety high.
“Not me!” we all exclaim. But then we stay caught in the stress cycle, and our kids are affected by that. What about parental burnout?
You may have heard of peaceful or mindful parenting. You may have written it off because you’re just trying to survive day to day, or the examples you read didn’t reflect your parenting experience. At all.
I was talking with my friend Amy Weber, LCSW, about offering parenting support, and thinking, “How…
How do you want to feel this summer?
Are you looking forward to it?
Are you excited or scared by the prospect of unstructured time with your atypical kids?
Have you got calming skills to get you through it?
“Is your intention to connect or to correct? Parents who can define their intention can help meet children’s vital needs, including stability, security, safety and guidance. What is your purpose? To correct and manage your children or to connect with and enjoy them?”
-Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson, Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids
Many parents are overwhelmed at the thought…
Are there any parents who aren’t struggling right now?
If you aren’t, you don’t need to keep reading. You can scroll along to sourdough recipes and such. However, pause first…
Many parents I speak with say they are surprisingly fine, at first… until they stop to notice. You may be holding it all together, but unaware of the toll that tension takes over time. You may have gotten so good at numbing out that you haven’t examined your underlying feelings recently.
If you’re toggling between powering through your day without a break and collapsing to numb out at the end…
We moved a lot when I was a child. That is the short answer. Maybe because there were so many houses, I can’t pin one down as home. Maybe it is because I found a way to be at home in my mind.
The contrast between each place is more apparent to me than their similarity. In fact, I see each as so different that it feels as if I went through a portal to a different life each time. I wouldn’t be sure that I was really there, except for the sense memories.
This recollection of spaces (homes?) spans…
Nichi’s pug Millie gives her comfort when life is a challenge. Millie sat in on our chat on the Mindfully Parenting Atypical Kids Podcast.
I know you will relate to Nichi when she asks, “How do I extract myself from my kids so I can ground myself? I need something quick that helps in the moment.”
My answer isn’t earth shattering…
Try a resource anchor, or emotional balance tool.
Your anchor can be any visualization, meditation or breath pattern that you practice until it becomes part of you. …
Springtime is about welcoming opportunities for growth. The inherent restlessness we may feel is what gives us the energy to spring clean, to shake things up, get out in nature, and to revise the systems that no longer serve us.
What if, rather than “should-ing” on ourselves, we create space for our uncertainty and even for uneasiness? Let’s drop our expectations and allow both restlessness and spaciousness. There is no need to judge your mind for doing what it does best: Scanning for danger and what needs to be done.
During this season, I’m guided by this wisdom:
Parents, your own self-care will create harmony in your family and ultimately change the world. My atypical family still struggles, but we don’t fall apart.
My son was suffering. His inner turmoil bubbled over into meltdowns that shattered my nerves. I felt anxious and powerless. The barrier between us as parent and child was so permeable, that we were emotionally entangled. Our tentacles wrapped until you couldn’t tell whose limb was whose.
Wasn’t love for a child supposed to be this way? My bliss derived from my relationship with him, and so did my anguish. I rode every wave of…
Does the stress of holding it all together make your body tense? Are you emotionally drained? Feeling cynical, uninspired, or irritable more often than usual? Could you use some strategies, support and community?
That’s why I’m hosting 5 Days to Calmer Kinder Parenting starting Monday. Join me to feel understood, cared for and calm. It is a quick boost of support and self-care. You can be done in 5 minutes a day and the practices are accessible. The challenge is new and improved with daily videos or audio downloads.