It’s always nice to learn practical solutions for parenting dilemmas. Kid won’t take yucky medicine? Give him a couple of chocolate chips to melt in his mouth and disguise the taste. Boom! Medicine down the hatch.
But sometimes, parenting challenges can't be solved with a clever hack. Sometimes you need to take a deep breath and recharge your soul. We mined this month’s contributions from the TODAY Parenting Team to come up with this stellar compilation of 19 nuggets of wisdom that just may help thwart some parenting stress.
Have your own ideas to share? Join the conversation and become a member of the TODAY Parenting Team and tell us how YOU ease the stress of raising a family.
1. Secret to less stress: WWMMD? (Jen Hatmaker)
“Here is my trick for keeping the joy and losing the stress: What would my mom do? What would my mother do? Drink Tab and lock us outside. Your kids don’t need to be entertained and they don’t need to be bubble-wrapped; they just need to be loved.”
2. Share your struggles, not just the highlights. (Justin Ricklefs)
“None of us have all the right answers, but we're all in this together. And guess what? If you're open to sharing your struggles and shortcomings, you'll get a lot more 'me too, thanks for sharing' than you will get judging.”
3. Ask for help, and accept it. (Danielle Campoamor)
"Mothers: you aren’t superwoman. You do need sleep and you do need rest and you do need moments of sweet, blissful nothingness. You need to eat multiple meals a day and you need to relax your mind and you need to enjoy the amazing life decision you’ve made. You need help."
4. You get what you give. (Annie Reneau)
"Be there for moms who need a listening ear or word of encouragement. Motherhood is a sisterhood if we let it be."
5. Your job isn't to make things perfect. (Mary Ann Ware)
“I am trying hard to escape the parenting rat race by reminding myself that we are not here to protect them from reality but to support them as they actually face it. Life is not perfect. Children are not perfect. Parents are not perfect. It’s okay if our family doesn’t look perfect, because it isn’t. But maybe, just maybe, allowing our kids to face the ugly realities of life will yield some beautiful results.”
6. Say the words they need to hear. (Everyday Parenting)
“Your child needs to hear the words. Say them to your child and say them often: 'You’re capable!' 'I believe in you!' 'You make the right choices' 'I have faith in you' 'I raised you well!'”
7. No one goes to college drinking from a bottle (well, not the kind filled with milk). (Siri Pinter Daly)
“Children WILL grow up, it's a certainty. So we can read the books about when they're supposed to stop drinking from bottles, and when they're supposed to be potty trained and so forth, but if it takes them a little longer to reach these milestones, why worry?”
8. Stop rushing. (Jennifer Lizza)
“I often find myself saying 'I can’t wait for this day to be over.' One day my six year old chimed in with a 'Me either!' Wait just one second. I realized my stress was rubbing off on them. I decided to make a constant effort to try not to feel so rushed.”
9. Channel Annie: There’s always tomorrow (Eun Yang)
“No matter how stressful your day is today, you get a brand new day to look forward to tomorrow and you can make it better.”
10. Stop doing all of the things. (Bree Sunshine Smith)
“It seems impossible at first. Like stopping the Titanic. But if you truly just STOP doing. The unimportant stuff will eventually get back in line behind the important things.”
11. One rule: Just don’t yell. (Jessica Kielman)
“It started with one simple rule...no yelling in the morning. You are allowed to be tired, stressed, annoyed, mad because your hair isn't cooperating or peeved because your shorts didn't make it to the dryer, but you may not yell. As long as you communicate in a calm way, we can work together. The minute you yell, Mom walks away. You may be saying, 'Yeah, right! That'll never work.' I'm telling you...try it for a week, but really stick to your guns. It works!"
12. Ignore the to-do list. (Oh, Honestly)
“I stop. And I tune out the to-do list. And I sit with my children, ignoring everything that needs to be done because it will still be there later. And what truly needs to be done is this.”
13. Don't compare kids. (Ripped jeans and bifocals)
“If you think someone’s child isn’t hitting their developmental milestones, mind your beez. Don’t say stuff like 'Wow, my little Horace was potty trained by his first birthday' when you notice a Pull Up peeking out of the waistband of a kindergartener’s jeans.
"My favorite piece of advice for new parents is there is no one right way to do something. Trust your instincts. If we all spent a little less time judging others and ourselves, imagine how much more time we'd have to simply enjoy what is really important — our families." — Baby Loving Mama
Emilie Pianfetti is a contributor for JOHNSON’S, the sponsor of this community. She is compensated for travel and attendance at events. Every idea and word written is her own.
15. Be where you are. (Tove Maren)
“When I live by the words 'be where you are,' the boys realize that I see them. I am no longer distracted by my own wandering thoughts, flashy iPhone or luring social media notifications — I am fully present, engaged, and focused on them and their endless stream of questions, knock-knock jokes, comments, silly voices and retelling of their school adventures.”
16. There will always be dinner. (Jennifer Collins/ Graceful Mess)
“I know the days are coming where our children won't desire our family time, but I want them to always know that there is always a space for them at the dinner table and that we can always make room for a friend. I want them to always know that they can find nourishment in our home.”
17. We say yes when we can. (Elizabeth Broadbent)
“The world says I should keep my precious babies away from the mud puddles on the playground. It says dirty is bad, and dirty’s a pain, and, well, just stay out of the mud. Mine launch themselves right at the mud. And I let them, because kids wash clean in bathtubs. Mud makes them happy. Joyful, mud-smeared faces make me happy. We say yes to mud.”
18. Take a stand. (Christine Burke/Keeper of the Fruit Loops)
I’m a selfish mom… The world will not end if you put yourself first once in a while. Take a stand today! Give yourself the big bowl of ice cream. Run an extra mile on your run today instead of rushing home.
19. Do the 5 year test. (Anna Angenend)
"Five years from this moment, how important will what I accomplished today seem? Will I be glad I responded to all of my e-mails with remarkable promptness? Not likely. Will I remember the day I took my daughter for a walk to nowhere in particular and watched as she assisted a pill bug back onto his legs and wished him safe travels home? Most definitely!"
This story was first published April 13, 2015.