Parenting children is a joyride. A high-speed joyride that seems to slow down only once in a while and in the process, ends up making you feel as though you’re aging a lot faster than you should be. The constant busy-ness around the children, worrying about them, making sure they ate/did their homework/bathed/dressed/went to class on time – on a daily basis can really take its toll on the way we feel.
Of course, staying healthy and feeling our best is crucial at every age. But that is easier said than done. When you notice, with surprise, a few grey hairs where you expected glossy black, you could very well find it a teeny bit depressing.
From the moment we know that we’re going to become parents, there are major life changes, physical changes and for some career changes. Later, as the children grow up and leave home, that brings its own agony and the sudden realization that yes, time is indeed racing ahead!
Oh yes, parenting children can make you feel old. But you really needn’t get bogged down by that feeling. I remember, years ago, when I was in my 20s, my niece, who was 5, was stunned to know that I knew all the fairy tales she knew. That memory still makes me laugh.
Today I am Mom to an 18-year-old, but I have to admit that during the growing years, there have been moments when I would feel old. I generally put it down to exhaustion as a result of chasing an overactive boy and answering endless questions. The back pain, the weight gain and the worrying do not help at all!
I am sure many parents feel the same way. If parenting children is making you feel old, here are some great ways to feel, and stay young!
9 ways to feel young if parenting children is making you feel old
Talk to children
This includes yours as well as other children. Listen intently. Talk about the things they are interested in and you’ll be surprised to find yourself looking at things you thought you knew about with fresh eyes and new perspective. The old adage about spending time with children making you feel young is very true. They make you feel energetic. I find it fascinating to converse with children. They have such amazing points of view.
Play games with children
Skip with them, play pretend, meet their imaginary friends and make up some of your own. Teach them games you played as a child – hopscotch, Chinese checkers, carrom, Monopoly or just hide and seek. Always a hit with all ages. Have some indoor fun with name, place, animal, thing with the young ones. The activity keeps you feeling young!
Most kids love to listen to these, but remember to make them interesting so there is something to inspire your children. Of course, they will be stunned that you did not grow up with cell phones and computers, but all the more reason to make it fascinating. Come to think of it, my Mom was quite clever in using anecdotes to make me do things!
Participate in your child’s activities
Watch TV with them. Laugh with them. Spend time with them. Think of it as an investment, because it is! Get to know what they love. This is also a great way to stay connected with them.
Age, I believe, is nothing but a number. It is the attitude we choose that determine how we really feel. It goes without saying that when you take care of yourself by eating right, getting enough sleep and exercise, you can feel as young as you like.
That’s not all, though. There are other ways to stay young through those times and here are some ways that work for me:
Have a gratitude practice
Feeling grateful for the things you have rather than the things you don’t have can change your outlook, keep you from taking things for granted and appreciate everything you have.
Bottling in your feelings does not help as it can lead to stress. But if you don’t feel like talking to someone, how about writing in a journal or a blog? It is also a great way to interact with other like-minded people.
While we can ensure that life is good to some extent, there are things beyond our control. Why stress over them? Why not accept the fact and laugh?
Find activity you enjoy
Taking on activities or hobbies you enjoy or learning something new is a great way to keep the spirit young. Just yesterday, I was talking to my friend whose daughter will soon leave for college in a different city. Rather than worry about it and wonder where the time has gone and feel old, she chose to enroll at the nearby gym to take her mind off it, while having fun in the process. Plus, physical activity can actually keep your mind clear.
Stay in touch with family and friends
There is nothing like a strong community to make you feel young and upbeat. Spend time with those you love. Meet up for coffee or lunch or just a chat.
At the end of the day, we have three major duties as parents – our children’s health, happiness and safety – and we often end up putting happiness at the end of the list. But years down the line, you will be smiling at all the good parts. I am!
What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear your input in the comments!