9 Things to Remember When You're Having a Bad Day Parentingby Adam Riches
I’ve never met a parent who has said they’ve never had a bad day parenting and what with us being in lockdown, unless you’re a saint (or sedating your bundles of joy) the bad days are more frequent than usual.
With the usual escapes closed - soft play, the park etc - energy levels are at an all-time high in our house, as are destruction levels. Some days, I need to take time to decompress and remember that you can’t always have a good day parenting.
1. You can’t get it right all the time
I feel like I tell myself this a lot, more so now than ever. There are so many elements to being a ‘good’ parent, often it’s hard to do everything exactly right. I have to remind myself you can’t get it right all the time. Where would the fun be in that?!
2. What’s right for them isn’t right for us
Constant comparisons between what I’m doing and what others are doing can really get me down. Sometimes I feel we should be doing something different about sleep or eating or playing because it works for others. It doesn’t always mean it’ll work for us. When we have had a chilled one and I see on Instagram that Carol and the family have created a symphony using instruments made for old toilet rolls, it makes me question if eating breadsticks in our pyjamas at 4 was the best use of our time...
3. I know what’s best for my child
When you’re a first-time parent, you question yourself a lot. Partially because you’re winging it and partially because you’re inundated with advice. Even with your second, you still second guess yourself. At the end of the day I always tell myself, I know what’s best for my boy - there is a high likeliness I don’t really know, but at least I’ll fuck it up and look confident at the same time.
4. Tomorrow is another day
Some days are just complete write-offs. There are no two ways around it, every parent has a few of those days. Things always feel better after a sleep (if your baby sleeps of course!). At the moment, it is a bit like Groundhog Day, so tomorrow doesn’t really feel like a different day...but the concept is what counts. Try to start each morning afresh, even if you know it’s going to be exactly the same as yesterday.
5. It will pass
Something me and my wife always said to each other when things got tough was “it’ll pass”. It kept us sane through sleep regressions, teething and those awful car journeys that felt like they’d never end. It’s so true as well! I say it to myself now whilst our newest little boy screams in my face at 3.24 am - it will pass, it will pass.
6. It’s character building
The challenges you face as a parent are monumental and at times you really feel tested. When your child is smearing yoghurt into your hair whilst you calmly try to wipe the excess dinner up, you just need to remind yourself that it’s all good- It’s making you a better person!
7. Nobody said it was easy
In the wise words of Coldplay, “nobody said it was easy” being a parent. Obviously Chis Martin and co. weren’t directly referring to parenting here, but it’s so fitting. Apart from those annoying people who say everything is easy (liars) being a parent is seriously tough at times.
8. It’s going to be OK
After another night of no sleep, you may need to remind yourself you’re not in fact being tortured by the CIA. Things can sometimes feel like they’re building up and sometimes you need to take a deep breath and say, “it’s going to be OK.”
9. Remember when…
Ironically, reminiscing about a time before babies can snap you out of a bad spell. You quickly realise how far you’ve come and how good of a job you’re doing in comparison to your carefree/childfree self. Looking back can be a great way of helping you focus on moving forward!