Coping Tactics

My last post made it clear that we are in the thick of things. Thanks for your comments and private messages of support and commiseration. All very much appreciated.

One of my favorite pearls, from Anti-Jen: “You’re doing a good job. That job is to make sure those kids know you love them. That’s pretty much all there is to it.” A nice way to boil it down. Plus, it makes me feel semi-competent. I may not be able to find the magic solution that immediately cures Roy’s separation anxiety, or gets Vera to sleep through the night, but making sure they know I love them? That I can do.

We are moving in the right direction. The last two days at daycare drop-off, Roy’s clinginess and pleading disintegrated into nervous whimpers, rather than heartbreaking wails. And last night, at one point, Vera slept three whole hours in a row. That’s enough to shove me over the hump and into the “well rested” category.

I’m fine with copping to difficulty. I certainly don’t see much good in perpetuating the myth that parenthood, or life, for that matter, is a breeze. I’m not, however, one to wallow for too long, if I can help it. I feel uncomfortable if I’m not doing something to make things—at the very least, my mindset—better.

Here are a few things I do to get by:

1) Exercise. For me, it’s running. Always has been. On extremely stressful days, my husband will hand me my running shoes and force me out the door because he knows I’ll come back happier. I also appreciate yoga. These days, I’m doing baby yoga, so I can bring Vera with me. I like to multitask my bonding.

2) Drink. Coming off nine months basically alcohol-free, I’m still a lightweight. A little glass of wine or one quality microbrew after the kids are in bed slows my brain down to a better, more manageable speed.

3) Vent. I’m lucky to have some incredible friends. Ones kind enough to ask how things are and then be ready to listen to the honest answer. Sometimes it helps to have a sane second party help you sort through things. They know I’m always willing to reciprocate. As soon as I’m sane enough to do so, that is.

4) Appreciate. Especially when I’m feeling like everything’s too much, I make a point to focus on a few very specific things that make me feel incredibly lucky. An awesome writing assignment. A clear view of the moon. Vera’s roly-poly thighs. Roy’s nonstop hugs. Clint’s mean meat-smoking know-how and Manhattan-making skillz. I’ve no shortage of things to appreciate.

5) Blog. If you’ve been reading Love & Diapers long, you know that I kid. During times of stress, it’s crickets over here. I’d like to be showing up more regularly. I’m going to try. Apparently, it would help. Did you see the recent study that shows the blogging relieves stress in new mothers?

What helps you feel less overwhelmed?


Image: Red wine pouring into wine glass via Shutterstock

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  1. by Heather Morgan Shott

    On June 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Yoga, cardio, and red wine!

  2. by Susan Kuchinskas

    On June 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Chill out with your kid by taking a nap together. Even for just 10 minutes. Not only do you get rest, but it’s excellent bonding time, releasing oxytocin in both of you which counteracts the stress chemicals.

  3. by Nan LaPorte

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    The important thing is to remember to treasure these moments. They are fleeting. …and love is key… listen to them, respect their ideas, and value the time you get to be their parent. A short time parents get to clue their little ones on how things work.

  4. by Berit

    On June 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Susan, I love that bit of info. No wonder I feel better when I give in and nap with the girlie…

  5. by katie d.

    On June 22, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Yoga, deep breaths, (go! now!), playing rock music at top volume in my car with the windows down, writing/journaling, calling a friend or my mom, a massage (professional or from my husband). And sometimes all that will do is a good cry.

  6. by A.

    On June 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I echo Katie D that sometimes you just need to shed some tears. And sometimes you need to shed those tears to your girlfriends (like I did this morning to Katie D!). My friends are what perk me up and make me realize I can get through today or whenever.

    And silly TV. I’m re-watching Felicity right now and it’s a great relaxer. :)