3 Great Lies We Tell Ourselves Everyday That Make Being a Parent More Stressful

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About a year ago, my husband and I were wandering the aisles of Costco in an effort to track down some diapers and other miscellaneous items. We had a dear friend staying with us who had recently undergone surgery on her knee and was currently in the process of mustering enough strength to begin physical therapy. As we walked along the isles, I almost had to laugh at the idea that Costco seemed so strategic in how they had their big-dollar items laid out almost as soon as we walked in.  Among the items, in a section I will call the “New Year’s resolution” section, there was anelliptical on sale that could also convert into an exercise bike. Now I don’t know about my husband, but I knew the elliptical part was something I really loved. After all, when I did visit the gym in a far-gone age, I always liked the elliptical cause it was easier on my knees. Well anyhoo, after a bit of consultation with my husband, we both agreed this would be a perfect opportunity to take advantage of another New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape. This idea, coupled with the idea that our friend could make use of it in rehabilitating her knee seemed to make sense. So we purchased the elliptical-bike and, a couple days later, my husband put his handyman skills to work and put the elliptical-bike together.

        It’s kinda funny, really, to think of what has become of the elliptical-bike. We still have it and I know my children love to play on it. As for myself, I often find myself walking past it every day on my way to our laundry room and telling myself every time I walk by that I need to take a trip on that thing… one day. Yeah, one day…. It’s kinda sad to realize that instead of gaining the stamina I had hoped to achieve on that thing, all I have really gained as I walk past it is more weight.

***sigh***  ….one day, I tell myself. One day…

         You see, in our everyday lives, I find it’s very common for us to allow our minds to whisper to us some great little lies to help us cope with the stresses of life. The biggest lie of all is believing that this actually does help us cope. But as my personal history proves, if we give in to these lies and allow ourselves to believe them, then we’re just adding to those stresses, not alleviating them.  It’s true, sure, if we’re taking care of just us, one human being, we may be able to handle these stresses and allow ourselves to get away with some of these lies. But when you add a spouse and/or even children to the mix, that’s when things start to get trickier. I mean, I”m certainly no class-act or anything like that when it comes to juggling, but it seems that with more kids, I find myself starting to add more and more balls to my juggling act. Before long, as you can imagine, I find myself all but waving my hands in the air and stretching beyond my humanly capable capacity to ensure these balls don’t get dropped. I am very confident you can relate to this anxiety and stress as well as I can. It’s as if all the variables around us just compound and get more and more complex and beyond our control. It’s no wonder you hear the term “dude, that person just snapped!” Like an elastic stretched beyond its capacity, when it snaps the result is painful. So with that said, let’s identify some of these great little lies we tell ourselves.

I have more time

I’ll do it later

Just One More…

I Have More Time
Tell me if this sounds familiar.  You head off to bed knowing you have to be to work or school at 8:00 a.m. which means that you have to be up at a certain time to accomplish your morning tasks.  Just before you roll over to drift off to sleep, you make sure that your alarm is set for your specific wake-up time.  Now, if you’re like me, you set this time for 10-20 minutes earlier than the time you REALLY need to wake up. Why I do this ridiculous ritual and lose 20 minutes of sleep is really beyond me.  I guess that, deep down, I think I’m tricking my body into thinking that I’m getting more sleep because I get to hit that blessed snooze button.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn many of you may follow a similar routine and you probably do just fine.  You may still make it to work or class on time and you may feel good and rested. But when you have children who do unexpected things and throw unexpected situations at you, that’s where things start to pile up. I mean, it’s like a literal ‘20-questions’ game my kids insist on playing every morning! “Where’s my homework?”,  “I can’t find any socks!”, “Can I have a different cereal?”, or my personal favorite, “Where are my shoes?” The unexpected complications go on and on until you find yourself running 10-20 minutes behind schedule and wishing that you had only gotten up a little earlier.

Telling myself that I have 5 more minutes before I need to get up seems to always be the first lie I tell myself in the morning and if I believe myself, my day almost always starts off on the wrong foot with my stress level rising almost as early as I do.  The reality is, as a parent, you really don’t get that extra 10-20 minutes and most everyone will agree it is better to be early than late.

I’ll Do It Later
The next lie that we tell ourselves is that we will ‘do it later’.  So much of our lives seem to have filled up with the proverbial ‘one-day I’ll…” and the classic, ‘I’ll do it later’. In fact so many people these days love to brag about how they’ve perfected the “timeless” art of procrastination.  As cool as it may sound, the truth is if we continue to move more things onto the back burner, we are going to run out of space on this proverbial stove of ours. We will also find ourselves putting people on hold, especially our children.

One big ‘I’ll do it later’ lie that we tell ourselves, as parents, is “I’ll pick that up later”. If we believe that lie even once, then we are going to keep believing it until that ‘later’ becomes tomorrow or the next day. Suddenly you are looking around asking yourself “how did I let my house get this messy?” I don’t know about you, but when I look around me and see that my house is messy, it becomes very easy for me to start stressing and that often leads to me being frustrated which can easily lead to anger.  If I had just shut that “I’ll pick that up later” idea down then I wouldn’t have quite the mess to deal with. (I do say quite because let’s be honest, kids are always going to keep your house messy in some form or another.)

Just One More…
My least favorite of these lies is ‘just one more’.  Why is this one my least favorite? Because this little lie, more often than not, is the lie that triggers the other two lies. It wasn’t too long ago that I would find myself caught up in the story of a good book that I just couldn’t put down, I mean, have you read the ‘Harry Potter’ series or even the ‘Hunger Games’ series?  Those books are pure genius that only gets better as the series progresses. But as I added more and more children to the mix, trips to the library became harder. To complicate things further, Netflix streaming was born. Soon I found that I had traded in ‘one more chapter’ for ‘one more episode’. It was still the same lie, but different vices (on a separate note, check out my post on 10 binge-worthy shows to watch on Netflix with your kids 🙂 ).

Why do we struggle to get up in the morning or put off what we could do now later?  Maybe we listened to the lies and ended up watching shows until 3 in the morning or didn’t stop browsing Facebook until after midnight.  In this digital world where things are made available to us at the touch of a button (or screen), it becomes so easy for us to get caught up in wanting things now.  It becomes harder for us to learn patience and work harder for better results so we turn to instant gratification.

 

How can we change?

As parents, we can place restrictions and guidelines for our children to follow, such as bedtimes, screen usage, and chores.  We give these to our children to help teach them responsibility and help them to grow their minds. So why don’t we place these same guidelines on ourselves?  Just because we are adults now, doesn’t mean that we have finally earned the right to do whatever we want (despite our childish ideas that we would be able to when we grew up). We still need structure to keep ourselves in order.  I have found that when I start to follow some of these same rules that I expect my children to follow, then some of these lies that I tell myself tend to be subdued.

The most critical step to self-improvement is consistency and discipline.  The more we stick to our schedules and guidelines, the easier it is to keep ourselves on track.  Sure we will have bad days where we slip, but it’s important that we get back to being consistent as quickly as possible.

There are so many different methods that people use to help them get on track in their lives.  What are some methods that you use to help you overcome your inner lies? Please comment below!

– The Incredible Elastimom

7 Replies to “3 Great Lies We Tell Ourselves Everyday That Make Being a Parent More Stressful”

  1. It’s so hard when you are raising kids not to fall into these traps. I have definitely bee stuck on “just one more” and “I’ll do it later’…there are simply too many things to get done in a single day. I’m going to try to take your advice and set realistic expectations and rules on myself, as I regularly set for my kids.

    1. That one resonated with me too. I need to set my alarm earlier, get to bed sooner and drink more water. It’s so hard at first but so true that we tell our kids to do things because its good for them and teaches them to be reasonsible. I wonder how differently I would feel if i grew up with Wi-Fi and hand held screens because I do recall falling asleep glued to my CD walkman

  2. I’ve told myself for the last 3 weeks that I’m going to put the clean laundry that I took the time to wash and fold away. I’m currently staring at it as it sits on my love seat or “living room dresser”. I’ll Do It Later…

  3. It’s so true! It’s so amazing at times see and realize how quickly and yet how subtly time can slip away. Before you know it, you’re up to your neck in unwashed dishes and unmatched socks and a hidden ecosystem hiding inside that sippy cup that your 2-year old left laying around the house. It’s at times like this that I find myself entertaining the idea of a nice glass of Chardonnay… And I don’t even drink!

  4. Oh, this is so true!!! I do all 3 of the above every day, especially the snooze button. Challenging myself to less screen time has been a big boundary for me to build for myself so I can also model it to my kids.

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