Maybe you've got a newborn at home. Maybe you've just gotten over a 2-week family bout of the stomach flu (like in our household). Or maybe it's just the day-in, day-out craziness of schedules and bathtimes and keeping the house presentable and work responsibilities and, well, life. As amazing as it is, parenting is just tough sometimes. These are the times that I have to remind myself to ease up. Sometimes we make things more stressful than we need to, and sometimes we simply need to make things easier on ourselves when life throws us curveballs. So, today I'm sharing some of my favorite ways to do just that - ways that I cut myself some slack while I try to regain that equilibrium again. Maybe they'll help you when things get stressful. Use (or find!) a favorite essential oil to relax (or motivate). I have a favorite, relaxing EO blend that is safe to roll right on your pressure points (I use my temple), but you can start with lavender. But oils like lemon and peppermint actually act as a bit of a stimulant just in case you're looking for some motivation to get some stuff done. (And use a carrier oil like coconut oil and always, always use essential oils responsibly - I never ingest them.) Cook simple, nourishing family favorites - and make 'em do double duty. It's so easy to get into the fast food trap (and some nights a quick pizza is just a MUST), but I find that we feel "blah" if this becomes a trend. Simple meals that you don't need to think about to get on the table are great for these crazy nights and can give you extra work lunches or leftover options. I also swear by a rotisserie chicken and doubling things I'm cooking in order to get plenty of meals out of them. A rotisserie chicken can offer chicken and gravy, quesadillas, mini pot pies, and tons more. Oh, and soup and sandwiches or pancake night? No shame in it. As a kid, our Wednesdays were always busy and always soup nights. Don't skip housework, but don't push yourself too hard. The feeling that piles of dirty clothes are becoming a mountain and the blatant dust balls rolling along the floor only stress me out more. I accept that they're there and then try to do one or two things - usually dishes (a must) and one quick chore - per day. And, yes, starting a load of diaper laundry counts in my book (if I can see it through the wash cycles and at least get them drying before bed, that's a score in my book). And even a quick dust mop or wipe down of fingerprints - less than 10 minutes - makes you feel like you put forth effort and are less down on yourself. You'd be surprised how these little jobs add up by the end of the week. Rome wasn't built in a day! Allow yourself - and your kids - down time. There are tons of arguments against too much screen time, and for the most part we adhere to strict rules for it at our house. But, sometimes something's gotta give...and this is where I bend a bit.
Turning on our favorite DVD or PBS Kids show (or allowing our older son some time on his tablet, a very rare treat on an educational app) allows everyone to kind of sit and chill. But it could also be just simple coloring time or cherished Play-Doh time. Just something to not be going, going, going, rushing, rushing, rushing. What you do with the time is up to you. Catch up on bills. Enjoy a cup of tea. Whatever. Just enjoy. Give yourself shortcuts when possible. During the winter (y'know, when kids are less sweaty and more apt to have their skin dry out), we do bath nights every other night (with quick washing up on the alternate evenings). It definitely helps us feel less stressed on the "non-bath nights" Whatever tricks you may have, use 'em and don't worry about it. Parenting - and kids, for that matter - is so individualized, don't get caught up in the comparison trap. Do what works for you! Take a little "me" time before bed. Okay, confession time! I feel like hitting the pillow the exact moment the kids hit the hay. Is that just me? But, just by sitting and watching a mindless TV show with my husband or allowing my brain to chill out by reading a few pages in a book, I feel like I've done something for myself. What's your favorite tip for cutting yourself some slack? Share below with other parents!