Vanessa Paris isn't surprised to hear that studies show caring for kids is as much fun as mopping the floor. The mom from Mill Creek, Pennsylvania, has tough moments with her two young children every single day.
"Sometimes I think to myself, 'If I have to play one more game of I Spy, I might just go crazy,'" Paris says. "But then I realize that one day my kids won't want to play with me anymore. That helps me grin and bear it."
Experts say keeping challenging moments in perspective and looking at the positive side of things (such as that your kids need and want your company) can make all the difference in your outlook. "If you stop expecting to be happy all the time, you can find more joy in the good moments and cope better with the not-so-good ones," says Vicki Panaccione, PhD, a child psychologist in Melbourne, Florida.
Paris has her own little mommy trick for focusing on the bright side. She snaps dozens of photos of her kids enjoying themselves and writes down the cute and funny things they say. "That way, when I'm having a hard day, all I need to do is read back some of their quotes or look at a goofy picture, and I'm smiling again," she says.
Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the January 2008 issue of Parents magazine.