It’s 3:30am and I’m up. My four-week-old daughter just woke up screaming for a feeding, and by the time I realize that it’s not actually a tornado siren going off, I’m too awake to go back to sleep. Even if I wanted to, my beagle has decided that it should take up as much of the bed as possible, and is snoring so loudly that it’s competing with the baby’s cries for my attention. That’s when my son wakes up with a fever. Happy Monday, welcome to a pile of family stress.
Family Stress and the Ones You Love
There’s nothing more important to me than my family, and yet there are definitely times when it puts undue stress on my life. Whether it’s a day off from day care or an emergency visit to the dentist, something always seems to pop up that throws my nicely balanced life into chaos. And for someone who likes all of their ducks in a row, veering away from status quo can cause even more stress than usual. It’s a problem.
It’s also all a new problem for me, relatively speaking, as I’ve only been a father for just over three years now. So truthfully, I haven’t completely figured out what to do about these family stresses. But for now, I have a few methods that have worked out pretty well.
How to Deal with Family Stress
- Step Back, Calm Down, Breathe. Screaming kids aside, there are definitely moments when I want to run for the hills and pretend I can hide from my problems. Instead, I take a moment, step away from the situation mentally and breathe. Forcing myself to calm down helps me keep a steady head in these situations, and that allows me to continue to function.
- Remember Why You’re There. My work situation is entirely tailored around my children. I work from home and my wife is a stay at home mom. That means I can watch my daughter take her first steps, be there when she’s sick or pick up my son from daycare if necessary. Sure, that means I’ll have to work some late nights, but it’s OK. Remembering that I want this scenario for myself helps dissolve the stress from my mind. It also reminds me that I’ll never get these days back again, and I should cherish them while I can.
- Walk It Out. If I’m really stressed, like I’m going to have to redo some drywall stressed, I walk it off. Stepping away from the situation entirely is sometimes my best option, because I don’t want to do or say something that I’ll regret later. It gives me time to physically remove myself from the drama, that way I can think it out or just vent some steam. Walking it off is always a good option.
- Grin and Bear It. But then there are those times when I can’t walk away, no good memories are coming to mind and breathing isn’t helping, and that’s when I suck it up and push forward. Yes, stress happens, and you can’t always deal with it at the immediate moment. If I can just grit my teeth a bit and work through the temporary issues, I can allow myself to deal with the stress later. Note, this isn’t me bottling it up, it’s more about putting it on pause.
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but this is what I do to help with some of my family stress. Any tips for me? Let me know in the comments.