Be a Better Parent 101: Show Yourself Some Love!

While parenting may be a job you love, it comes with a lot of stress. When you add in the demands of working outside the home, taking care of others and managing a family — from food to finances to an ever-growing pile of laundry — tensions can build. Because studies show that stressed-out parents have less patience and react more harshly with children, finding ways to decrease stress is key to being the best parent possible. In this season of hearts and flowers, show yourself some love:

Give and take “mini breaks.” Even 15 minutes of closing your eyes and resting can help you recharge. Make a point of suggesting a mini-break to your co-parent or taking one yourself (The laundry can wait!).

Accept offers of help, even if you don’t want to inconvenience others. If your mother-in-law is offering to babysit, accept graciously. It is her choice to offer. While you don’t want to inconvenience her or take advantage of anyone’s good nature, it’s okay to let go and take a break by accepting the help that’s offered (and free!).

Connect with people who make you happy. Some people lift you up — they will listen without judgment, share in the good times and empathize when things aren’t perfect. Cultivating and reaching out to people who help you feel good is important to self-care. Even a five-minute call can help.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Decide what’s important to you, and drop the idea of perfection in other areas of your life. Yes, in an ideal world your house would be spotless, but life is short. Acknowledge your own efforts and achievements with the things that matter most to you.

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