We’ve had a stressful time the last few weeks. Our house sale fell through so we hurriedly put it back on the market so to not lose the house we want to buy. We welcomed 18 viewers through the door and had one offer. Which, as of yesterday, we accepted. It was hard work keeping the house clean, tidy and viewer friendly. I was having to say no to activity requests and the children were picking up on the stress and were getting frustrated at not having their normal freedom. I was starting to feel rubbish and disconnected from them. To put it bluntly, they were annoying me. I was irritable and fed up and felt like I was saying stop and no all the time. This isn’t how we usually roll. I kept getting a tight chest and sweaty palms and was tired all the time and it was affecting my relationship with my husband. I felt disconnected from him too.
Stress. It’s a bummer. But I took some steps to regain the connection because this had to change.
1) Recognition of the situation. I knew that something wasn’t right, that it wasn’t normal and reflected on what might be causing these feelings. Clearly it was the house situation and then all the implications of that on the family. I was feeling guilty of not fulfilling their days adequately.
2) Put it into perspective. Ok so the situation is difficult and stressful in and of itself. Don’t make it worse by feeling bad about it. It is what it is so make the best of what is happening. I found that talking to the children, even if they didn’t fully appreciate what I was saying, helped. Explaining why we couldn’t paint or make dens meant there was a reason. I wasn’t just being mean.
3) Physically connect. I found I wasn’t holding, cuddling or kissing the children as much as I normally did. I tried to touch them more, snuggle up for cuddles, hold their hands. Boost the serotonin.
4) Get inspired. This is a fine line this one. I like to look at what other people are doing with their children to get ideas especially through Instagram or Pinterest. But it can also trigger feelings of envy or resentment. It needs to be limited and focused. And leads on to:
5) Being present. The more rubbish I was feeling the more time I was spending on my phone and not being present with my children. So I resolved to not look at my phone unless they were having their 20 minute screen time or asleep. This is hard as I had phone calls from the estate agent so I answered those but did not look at social media or reply to messages from people unless it was my husband. This worked well. Suddenly I was more present with my children, able to observe them fully and be there for them straight away when they needed me.
6) Do something silly. Make them laugh, turn music up loud and spin round and round or do crazy dancing. We had a half hour of literally running round the sofa chasing each other, squealing and getting out of breath. It was silly and fun and made things seem a little better and I was connecting with my children. A drive with loud music of the songs you often enjoy together is good too and also walks outside in the fresh air.
6) Time is a healer. It really is. Although those two weeks were not good and I felt so disconnected from my family, I knew that this wouldn’t become the norm and that things would eventually go back to normal and they did. It took lots of reflection and resolve but I got there and believe that it was a culmination of stress and guilt that made me feel so disconnected.
Ultimately, when times like this spring up in life, as parents we need to acknowledge, reflect and then take gentle steps to reconnect with our family. Our children need to see us mess up sometimes in order to understand that real life is hard and be taught the steps to take to regain control of emotions and behaviour. This will then teach them to deal with stressful situations in a productive and healthy way.
I’m feeling much better now and am hoping we don’t have any more set backs and that our dream home won’t be a dream for much longer.