“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh
Parenting is one of the most rewarding things you can do you in life, but I would be naive to say it doesn’t come with obstacles. Especially mental barriers.
I understand some days you are so physically tired, the only thing you can do is fall asleep in your chair at the end of the day.
Other days, you may be so mentally drained all you want to to do is sit down and cry or go outside to scream at the top of your lungs.
There are some days you may feel like you are going insane!
If you are a parent, then you have definitely had one of those days. I’m pretty sure my wife and I had two of those days just last week.
Seriously, the last two weeks have tested our souls. My oldest had his tonsils out and this required us giving him medicine every four hours. Between his nightly medication, we also have a baby who decided it was a good time to wake up during the night again.
Additionally, I had to go out of town a couple days for work, my daughter had two soccer games, gymnastics practice three days a week, and a gymnastics meet, my 5-year-old had a basketball game, my wife was battling a horrific cold, and we had a birthday party!
We definitely tested our limits; however, we understand we aren’t the only parents dealing with these obstacles.
Many parents have weeks similar to what I just detailed, and I know sometimes we ask ourselves, “Have I done enough? How in the hell can I keep going?”
We start to question how strong we are. Well, you are mentally stronger than you think!
7 Reasons You are Mentally Stronger Than You Think
1) You Can Take on the World with Little Sleep
Sleep is a vital part of staying healthy, but there are many times as a parent when you must be high functioning after getting little to no sleep. This may be the entire first year your child’s life.
Maybe you are in a stage of life where all of your kids sleep through the night or sleep in until 11:00, but I bet there were plenty of times you went to work or had to deal with children all day after getting two hours of sleep.
It’s not fun when this happens, but it takes a mentally strong person to keep going after those long nights.
2) Make the Best of the Unexpected
According to the Top Seven Habits of Mentally Strong People by Paloma Cantero-Gomez, one of the habits of mentally strong people is they embrace the unexpected and make the best of it!
If this habit doesn’t scream all parents, then I don’t know what does. Virtually everything in your life is unexpected.
Here is just a quick list of unexpected things that happen to parents at any given moment…
- Get woken in the middle of the night due to projectile vomiting
- Your child waits until the night before to tell you they have a 12-page paper due the next day
- Your children decide to make slime while you are attempting to get laundry done and it’s all over the first floor
- School gets canceled on the day you were going to have your first kid-free day in three months
- Your child gets called from school/daycare sick
Above is a picture of my wife making the best of our one year old running around church on Christmas Eve.
This list could go on forever, but the point is the only thing you can do as a parent is make the best of it and this makes you mentally stronger than you realize.
3) Embrace Change
Travis Bradberry wrote the 15 Critical Habits of Mentally Strong People and stated to be mentally stronger; embrace change.
No one embraces change better than parents.
Think back to before you had children. Then think about your life the day you had your first child. Your life was totally rocked!
One day you go from doing whatever you want then to staying up all night, changing diapers, learning new things, and your entire world is changed forever.
Then many of us decide to do it again!
You basically embrace change every day and say screw you change, I got this!
4) Learn from Your Mistakes
As a parent, I have made countless mistakes. Actually, the reason we have so many children is so I can finally get it right!
I’ve made mistakes disciplining, giving them too much responsibility, not giving them enough responsibility, inadvertently teaching my third child the “f” word, getting in arguments with my wife, and the list goes on and on!
When I make a mistake I have two options; dwell on them or learn from them. I choose to learn from them.
According to Parker Nash, this is one of the signs of mentally tough people. In his article, 16 Things Mentally Tough People Do, he states, mentally tough people, “fail, adapt, and learn from their mistakes.”
He also goes on to say, mentally stronger people learn from other people’s mistakes too! That’s genius!!!
According to Merriam-Webster.com perseverance means continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.
This may also be the definition of parenting! No matter what life throws at you; you must give continued effort.
Personally, my wife and I have persevered through many circumstances in our lives together. We persisted after the death of our second child! We persevered after we had massive debt! We persevered when we unexpectedly found out we were having our fourth child!
Many parents have to deal with much more than we have, but the point is we all have to persevere as parents! This makes you mentally strong.
6) Not Afraid of a Challenge
As a parent, you probably wake up every day ready for the next challenge your children throw at you!
My dad is a dentist, and I remember being sick when I was little when my mom was out of town. He had patients that day, but I was too little to stay home by myself.
He could have easily canceled patients, instead, he faced the challenge head-on and took me to his office. In between patients, he would check on me.
Another time I remember working on a science project in 6th grade on our Apple II E. I had 18 pages ready to print on our sweet dot matrix printer at 11:00 the night and the computer crashed.
My mom swept into action and spent most of the night re-typing the report for me!
The point is parents do these things all the time, and Jack Martin stated mentally tough people don’t shy away from challenges in his article 5 Key Traits of Mentally Strong People. (@Mr_JackMartin).