Overwhelmed By Parenting? Drop The Balls
Imagine you’re juggling three balls. Even if you can’t juggle, just try to picture it. Three nice, even, same-size balls designed for juggling.
Then someone tosses you another ball. Okay, you’re managing. You’ve seen people juggle four balls before. It could work.
Now there are ten balls.
Now you’re standing on your head and have had no sleep while still trying to juggle.
Are we describing parenting yet?
What Causes Overwhelm?
I know it’s true: you have a LOT going on in your life! There’s your family, your day job, your side hustle, terrifying bills, friendships, relatives, appointments, laundry, dishes, pets, shopping, keeping everyone fed, your health, your kids’ health…!
Overwhelm comes from having too many competing priorities.
It’s an inability to decide where to focus.
It’s the fear that if you look away from any one thing it will all fall apart.
It comes from trying to “do it all” and feeling like you’re doing it all badly.
You may feel like everything on your to-do list is incredibly important. You may feel like all those things NEED your attention.
But if you want to banish overwhelm you have to start with taking a good hard look at your list.
Don’t panic: you don’t have to cross thing permanently off the list!
But you DO have to knock some things WAY down to the bottom for a minute.
Warren Buffet’s 2 List Strategy
There’s a story about Warren Buffet’s strategy for achieving your goals. You make a list of your top 25 goals, and you circle the 5 things MOST important to you.
Now, you might think that you should work on those 5 the most and the other 20 now and then. But he says that those other 20 should be your “avoid at all costs list”. That’s because it’s THOSE 20 things that distract you the most from getting what you truly want.
I know you’re not literally going to NEVER do dishes again.
I know that life isn’t that simple.
But there is a really big truth here that you have to grab hold of.
Parenting Isn’t Juggling
Did my description of juggling up there describe parenting?
A lot of parents would say yes.
I’m going to say no.
Because parenting is a relationship with a person. A person who is not an analogy. A real person right in front of you.
And to the extent that this analogy DOES work for how you’re experiencing your life, your child needs you to put down the balls and focus.
Put. Down. The. Balls.
When your priorities are all over the place, your child may experience insecurity, confusion, and anxiety.
Kids internalize a lot more than we realize. If you are feeling chaotic and unsure, your child may think that your RELATIONSHIP is unsure.
Put down the balls, and hold tight to making your child your biggest priority.
Once you make connecting with your child the MOST important thing you will actually find that juggling the other stuff gets a little easier.
You will find that worrying about parenting becomes one less thing that causes you stress.
That chaotic feeling will start to fade because you will KNOW what’s important to you and that you’re doing the right thing.
Out Of Overwhelm And Into Flow
I’m not saying that you will never again devote yourself to something other than your child.
On the contrary, I’m saying that getting SUPER clear about your priorities will make it even easier to find the emotional energy for everything that you really want.
You’ll get clear about what’s most important, you’ll find it easier to move on to other priorities when you need to.
You’ll find your flow.
What you focus on will shift over time. Sometimes there’s a deadline at work that’s gotta come first. Sometimes you need time for yourself so that you are rested and recharged. Sometimes there’s a crisis and you all have to do the best you can.
And sometimes you have to let EVERYTHING else slide so you can be here now and connect with your kid.
When you’re willing to do that…
…and your CHILD knows that you’re willing to do that…
…you’ll be relieved to find that you don’t have to frantically juggle any more.
Give it some thought. What kinds of balls you have in the air? Which ones can you set down?
If you need extra help focusing on your child and managing this most important relationship inside your busy life, the Parenting With Connection course is just what you need! Step-by-step, one day at a time towards creating the cooperative, joyful, respectful relationship you want.
Issa is a wild and rebellious mama who wants to live a carefree life where that little anxious voice is put on mute. How about you? As a writer she feels successful if just one other person feels any comfort or inspiration from what she’s written.