As the mother of three wonderful children and a professional psychologist, I have often been asked – by my clients, friends and family – “How do you do it?”
My answer is that having a positive mind and attitude will allow you to accomplish things and get tasks done. The key to reaching that positive attitude is to be organized, take time for self-care and learn to let go. We are all human and need a break at some point.
Be Organized: Each Sunday, create a schedule for the week. I prefer white boards so you can get your children involved as well. Place yours in a place visible to the entire family.
For all parents, deciding what to eat and cooking can be challenging as well. When you are working on the weekly schedule, have your kids get involved in the menu planning. If they feel in control of the decision-making, they will eat.
Empower your kids to work independently on their homework or chores. It’s summer now, so pull out those summer workbooks and assign three to four pages a day to keep them stimulated. Try to limit electronics to one hour per day. If they don’t see it, they will not seek it.
Take Time For Self-care: We often hear about self-care, but never get a chance to try it. Many companies advocate self-care for their employees, and the media offers lots of tips. It is like a constant reminder that we do not take seriously enough.
Each person has their own preference for self-care, whether it is dancing, yoga, cycling, playing an instrument or painting. Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or going to work, taking time to make yourself feel attractive should be part of your plan as well. One hour of self-care per day is all you need to recharge. If we want our children to be consistent in what they do – whether it is a sport, sticking to a schedule, staying focused or being dedicated to a goal – we need to role model these exact behaviors.
In the morning, get up before your children. This is the best time for your self-care. I wake up at 5 a.m. daily, and I have noticed a dramatic change in how smoothly the morning routine goes. You will notice that you feel calmer, and your children’s behaviors will change as well.
Learn to Let Go: If you are a parent who feels that there are not enough hours in the day, and that everything needs to get done, you will find yourself burning out very quickly. All parents are super parents. Whether you are a working parent or stay-at-home parent, the load feels the same. But if you are unable to take that moment for yourself, how can you take care of your family or the million things that need to get done? It is important to be able to accept that sometimes the dishes can be left until tomorrow, or that load of laundry can wait another hour or another day.
Regine Muradian, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist who uses evidence-based treatments for children, adolescents, adults and couples with a wide range of emotional, behavioral and adjustment problems such as obesity, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship issues and ADHD. She provides workshops in positive parenting, teen issues, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, family conflict resolution and organizational management. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children. Learn more at www.reginemuradian.com.