My Tips for Keeping Your Sanity as a Parent

Posted by Jo Ann Schlicker on July 30, 2015

1. Your house will never look like the pictures in that better home magazine. You will not be inviting the queen in for tea. Accept the fact that real people live in your home. Realize that some of them might do bizarre things and you wonder if you brought the right kid from the hospital.

2. Lower your standards of perfection. You are not Wonder Woman so why try to be her? Don't even wonder when you find spoons on the windowsill and bones under the couch. Of course, nobody did it and no one is telling. There is someone living behind the walls. They come out and raid the refrigerator at night or when you are away. Everything does not have to be perfect just as long as it is sanitary and livable.

3. Paint your walls with high gloss paint, perhaps even enamel. There is no telling what that substance is on the wall. My kids used to tell me our house was haunted and the walls would bleed different colors.  It will be a whole lot easier to wipe off if you don’t use flat paint.   

4. I used to spend hours ironing every day. I ironed school clothes, play clothes, curtains and pillow cases. Today, the clothes are made of fabrics that don’t wrinkle badly. You stick them in the washer and dryer and take them out and hang or smooth. Don't iron unless you are putting a decal on something.

5. Socks don't need to match. No one has solved the age old mystery of missing socks. Two go into the washer and only one comes out. There are always socks crying for a mate so pair it up with another bereaved sock. Will it matter in a hundred years?

6. I used to save everything in case we might need it for a craft or to save a kindergarten project. Now I say to throw it away unless you know you need it for a craft. Are you really going to make a candle with broken crayons? Will you really make a Christmas sleigh by drying the turkey breast bone and spray painting it silver?  Just throw it away. You have my permission.

7. Carve out some me time. Read your book, luxuriate in bubbles, or just do nothing at all. Your sanity depends on it so take time for yourself.

8. Remember that someday it will be funny. When the little guy came to live with us, one of his first acts was to open a gallon jug of cooking oil and somehow dump it over his head. Or maybe it was when he unwrapped eight bars of soap and floated them downstream one at a time.  It was not the least bit funny then, but now I can laugh. Just store those "oh, no!" moments in your brain to pull out in a few years. Yes, they will be funny.

9. It will end someday. Kids are only small for a little while. Someday they will fly away. Treasure each stage of their development because it will pass in the blink of an eye.

What tips do you have for keeping your sanity? I would love to hear them in the comments.