This may be the single most important thing that helped me manage when I became a parent.
Yes, yes, yes, being a parent is a wonderful thing. It's also a relentless thing when your child is small. The first years are a never-ending cycle of care taking, 24/7/365. For years when I had my last toddler I kept a book on my nightstand. I never fully read it–I didn't have the time–but it made me laugh just to thumb through it once in a while and I felt comforted by having it there.
Oh, did this book give me relief. And not just a momentary, "I ate the whole cake and now I feel like crap" relief. It gave me long-lasting, I-truly-feel-better relief.
I call that healthy relief.
Any older parent who tells you the frustratingly sweet phrase, "feel grateful for this time, it's gone before you know it" when you are knee-deep in not being able to go the bathroom or sleep or have a moment of peace when you desperately need it has forgotten what this phase of parenting is like.
You can't feel gratitude when you are desperate for relief.
Now if they would be so kind as to watch the baby or the toddler or the high-need child or the teenager haha (and take care of all of your other tasks while they are at it) for a few days while you rest, take a shower, and stare at the wall until you feel like yourself again, then of course gratitude for this time of life would be pouring from you like a chocolate fountain on a cruise ship.
But when you don't have that time off and you still need relief, seeking healthy relief is how you can have what you need while still feeling good about yourself.
So don't just seek relief.
Don't just seek a moment's respite at the door or the fridge eating what doesn't sere you, by mindless scrolling Facebook until you see something you don't like, or by doing anything that seems like it takes off the pressure by adding something else you don't want: regret.
Intend healthy relief and then see what comes up.
The Universe is endlessly creative and never stumped when it comes to solutions. There is aways a solution. But if you are asking for relief from a place of frustration you won't see it. If you ask for healthy relief... now you have an eye on the solution and then a solution will come.
Even for a minute. Or half a....
...gotta go. One of my little a-holes that I heart needs me. :)
P.S. And if you don't seek healthy relief and end up at the fridge with a face-full of Facebook, so what? Be easy on yourself. Seriously, be easier on yourself. Now that's a relief, if you ask me.