Parenting 101: Be Prepared to Roll With the Punches

Self on 02.14.12
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Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez

Today I took the extra long route to the bounce center to kill half an hour with my daughter before it opened. On the way I picked up a cup of coffee from a chain that I don't really like because my favorite coffee shop raised their prices by 30 cents per cup which is making it harder to justify my coffee habit. I spent four hours at said bounce center which sucked the life out of me with its recycled air and white noise, but my two-year-old daughter had a blast with her friends. However, as a result very few things got knocked off my to-do list. My daughter didn't nap for the second day in a row (this is new) which resulted in a very bumpy mid to late afternoon and evening; the kind where she kicks my laptop while I'm trying to work on something important. And I got some not so great news about a friend. Normally any one of these things would put me into a mood that wouldn't be so pleasant. You know the kind of mood where you're yelling at the kids for things that are really not that big of a deal? But that didn't happen, and I actually wouldn't say my day was all that bad because of one little thing...I was prepared.

A huge part of parenting is learning how to roll with the punches. It's easy to let one diaper explosion or toddler meltdown ruin your day, and I've done it many a time. So how do you prepare for the unexpected? Throughout the day you start to make concessions that prepare you for later in the day. For instance, instead of getting annoyed that I wasn't going to get everything done that I wanted to today because I stayed longer for my daughter to play, I conceded that I just had to prioritize what had to get done. Staying later also meant that she wasn't going to get a nap which meant I knew that the 3 to 7 p.m. hours were going to be rough, really rough.

But with each tantrum she threw, I maintained my cool, diverted the issue where I could, let my son know not to set her off, and came up with things to keep her busy even if meant taking her bath before dinner. I knew that adjusting our normal routine would be necessary and that not doing so would just end with the two of us being a total wreck by the end of the evening. And as a result I was able to sit back down to work after she went to bed without feeling complete spent and unfocused. And I'll go to bed thinking my day wasn't all that bad even if it wasn't perfect. If there is one thing that is certain when it comes to parenting, it is that things are very rarely going to go as well as planned so you've always got to be prepared to alter your course to reach your destination (a good night's sleep) each day.

Top Articles on Avoiding Mom Meltdowns:
How I Stop Myself from Having a Full-on Mommy Meltdown
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