Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Coping with not coping.

Parenting is without a doubt, hard. And at times it is hard to cope. Some of us struggle quietly, some of us struggle loudly and publicly...the moral of the story being that at some point in time, some of us, a lot of us, perhaps most of us, struggle.

That's part of parenting! It's OK to struggle, it's OK to not be coping. But what is important is how to cope with not coping. I'm not talking about the more serious struggles of post natal depression; that is something that shouldn't be swept under the carpet. But, more so the day to day struggles and "Im not coping" moments a lot of us experience.

In complete honesty, The last fortnight has called for screams of  "I'm not coping" far too often. Blame it on hormones, blame it on the increasing tantrums or even blame it on the incident where apple puree was squirted up the entire length of a perfectly white wall. And then rubbed in for good measure.

I had a lightbulb moment right in the midst of an "I'm not coping" moment, I don't know where it came from or what induced it but a feeling of control came over me and I found myself saying, "You know what? I can cope with not coping". I am going to run with it, let it finish its course. I'm not coping overly well right now, but dammit, I am coping with not coping!

In my lightbulb moment, I thought I'd share with my readers my favourite ways of coping with not coping. Not everything works for everyone, parenting isn't a OSFA. But in moments of "Im not coping", I hope this may help a smidgen or even a smidgen plus some!

How to cope with not coping. 

1. Remember; This too shall pass. Whatever the woe, whatever the worry, It will soon change dynamics. Teething will be over and tantrums will begin, tantrums will be over and toilet training will begin. Parenting is forever changing, whatever your woe is now remember that all too soon it will pass and something else will begin. Perhaps you'll even wish back time to a previous woe!

2. Let it out. Call a friend and moan until you can moan no more, e-mail another mother for advice, vent your frustrations in a diary. In any way that you can, let it out to a third party. Being a single parent, I sometimes find myself venting within reason to my own daughter. "Mummy is sad, Stella is sad and we are both grumpy. We are just not getting along very well today are we baby?" However, if like me you are going to vent to your child who has no idea what you are talking so within reason. No swearing, use simple words, don't hurt their feelings. Common sense really.

3. Get out. This is the most valuable way of coping with not coping for me. I know i'll procrastinate about it, but I also know how good it will feel later on. Get out of there. Drop the mess, grab some shoes, grab your baby, take a deep breath and go. Go to the park, the supermarket, the city, a friends house, even to the backyard. Just go, get out.

4. Cry. Crying makes me feel refreshed, calmer and almost detoxed of my sadness. Have a good, therapeutic cry. Preferably not in front of your child. This week my cry was subjected to a Optus mobile telemarketer.

5. Junk food and a glass of wine. Sometimes, this is the only way that coping with not coping feels achievable. I'm not advocating poor eating habits or bad drinking behaviours. But, when the baby is finally asleep and the house is silent. A glass or three of wine and a piece (or block) or chocolate makes everything seem a little more 'ok'.

I know that very soon, in fact almost already, the not coping stage will pass and parenting will seem a little more manageable and a little brighter again. If it weren't for the lows of the roller coaster, the highs wouldn't feel so euphoric. And there are plenty of highs to feel euphoric about; the kisses and the cuddles, the sleepy little snores and sighs, a little voice saying "Mummy", the realisation that you are doing the most important job of your life, raising the next generation. And, the total, unconditional love you hold for your child...that, is euphoric.


  1. your my hero!

    not for only being a gorgeous single mother, but being open enough to share with us your experiences. I am struggling each and everyday and my husband is at my side each and ever moment.

    you sure are brilliant, strong and an amazing mother.

    Tairalyn {your online bff}

  2. Hear hear!! Well put. I also believe self medicating can help you cope with stress.

  3. Fantastic post Natalie! I've been having a shocker with Miss 4 this week. I hate arguing with her and really need to remember to choose my battles. I think that being aware of having moments like these are what make mummies that little bit more awesome. It can be hard work but we truck on don't we?

    You rock honey :)