Whether you’re a WAHM (work at home mom), SAHM (stay-at-home mom) or working mom – ditto those SAHDs (stay-at-home dad)! – it’s important to keep the stresses of parenting in perspective, according to Dr. Donna Rockwell, Psy.D.
1. Slow down and enjoy the time
Rockwell, a mental health expert in Oakland County and New York City, specializes in mindfulness meditation, and she recommends women slow down and enjoy the precious phase of life when their children are young.
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“The job, home, laundry, it’s just so overwhelming – all the pulls on our time,” she says. “When you’re not rushing around trying to fit everything in, just to be able to minimize and just have some quality engagement is a gift.”
Rockwell speaks from personal experience. She quit a high-powered career as a TV reporter and producer in Washington, D.C. to raise her children at home. She relished taking her two sons, now in their 20s, on cultural outings, or doing simple things at home.
“Balancing everything, to me, would look more like minimizing and not trying to do more,” she explains, “but figuring out how to be satisfied with doing less.
“I’m not a believer in multitasking,” Rockwell adds. “I think we should unitask.”
2. Stop over-scheduling and do things together
Cut out the extra music lessons and team sports, she suggests, and instead cook dinner (check out our kid-friendly recipes section of our website) and ask your kids to help. Or just chill and be peaceful together – try these three simple yoga moves and poses for some quiet family unwind time.
3. Let go of the ‘shoulds’
Remind yourself, too, to let go of the nagging thoughts and worries. Breathe – and focus on what’s right in front of you.
“Don’t get hung up on what happened in the past or afraid of the future. Just have gratitude for this moment with your children,” she says. “The time just flies.”
Illustration by Sarah Kovelle. This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated for 2016.