So I just got back from a weak-ish vacation on the blessed peninsula of Florida. We stayed with most of my dad’s side of the family as we do every year during the summer.
And it seems like almost every year we have some sort of commotion and/or problem.
Except, oddly, for the last couple of years.
I think it’s because of the little dudes and dudettes. Out of a group of almost 30 people, both adults and younger, our youngest member now is 7 years old, and she just married into the group. Well, her dad just married into the group, but we got lucky enough to have her come and join him.
Anyway. I thought about this a lot. And I think I’ve come to the conclusion.
With the young dudes and dudettes no longer infants, toddlers or whatnot, the parents have become much more relaxed. We don’t have to be in charge of everything during every single instant that the kids are around. We don’t have to plan something to do all day. We can — in short — relax a bit.
And that’s made all the difference. When parents aren’t always on the hook, we’re not always stressed and, when we’re not stressed, we don’t unintentionally take things the wrong way. We’re not spoiling for a fight, whether we know it or not.
It makes for a much smoother vacation week.
Which brings me to the point of this. That point being, parents of young dudes are stressed out. The continual nature of the care we must give the kids, the fact that we’re always on, that can make life tough for a parent. You might almost say it’s tough out there for a pim– er, parent.
A stressed-out parent isn’t any good for anyone, really. Not good for the kids. Not good for the spouse/significant other/random stranger who gets too close to said parent. And certainly not good for that parent. Stress is a bad thing for your health, dudes.
So, do what Frankie says. Just relax.
Find a way to switch off for a bit. If it involves taking a nap when the little dudette is napping, then take a nap. If it involves getting a babysitter to take the kid for a bit, then do it. If it involves you putting the other parent in charge and simply going into your bedroom and closing the door, locking said door and finally getting some quiet time all your own. . . then do it.
There’s a saying, or used to be a saying, in medicine. In an emergency, the first pulse you take is your own. That is, when things go wrong, the first thing you have to do is make sure you’re seeing things with a clear head and not freaking out.
That pretty much applies to parenting.
If you don’t care for you, who will?