Parenting is the hardest thing you'll ever do, but here are a few things that can make it a tad easier. All tried and tested on a sample size of one - Me.
Like any new convert, it's all I talk about these days. There are several kinds of meditations. Google them and choose the one you like. I prefer guided 'Mindfulness Meditation'. An instructor, usually a woman, with a voice as warm and smooth as honey (or brandy) leads you through a series of 'exercises' until you feel a kind of fluffy feeling that's midway between being high and dozing off. Actually I am pretty sure I snooze, but that's fine. Everyone thinks I am doing something super serious. It's a guilty pleasure. Kinda like bunking class.
Unlike meditation, podcasts have been my long time friend. I recommend them to everyone - if you have an excruciating commute, you're bored while you feed the baby, feel brain dead while you cook and clean; if the minutes on the treadmill just don't roll by fast enough, if you hate what's on TV, need financial advice, parenting advice, if you are looking for inspiration, want to hear stories, solve mysteries or do guided meditations, podcasts are the answer. According to Wikipedia, there are 115,000 English-language podcasts available online. You are bound to find one that interests you. Podcasts are ideal for those who multitask and if parenting isn't multitasking I don't know what is.
Stop giving a rat's ass
If there's one decision you want to take to turn your life around, let it be this - don't give a rat's ass about what anyone says or thinks about you. In polite words - let the value that you place on criticism by others be equal to or less than the physical space occupied by the rear side of a small rodent. Meaning - Just. Don't. Care. Not worrying about what other parents think about your parenting style, what the books say you should do, what in-laws, neighbours, even teachers say, will set you free. Then it will be just you and the kid and that abundant resource called common sense. You'll make mistakes, learn from them and grow - and by you, I mean you and the kid. It definitely beats trying to create impossible walls to climb only to find out that the wall you built stands between you and the kid.
Unfriend yourself from social media
I don't know about you, but the whole "My life as lived on Facebook" thing is really getting to me. Between all my social media accounts, I see a constant parade of perfect families. They go on gorgeous vacations twelve times a year. We take one annual vacation that inevitably starts with an argument and/or tantrum so we do a family sulk all the way to the airport. The couples in those Instagrams go out looking like film stars on date nights sans kids. We tried it a few times but oh my god it was so much work! It's much better to just watch TV at home after the kid goes to bed. Totally non-Instagramable. Their kids talk about astronauts and build robots at the age of three. My kid still talks about poop and Barbie - often in the same sentence. Theirs is a socially responsible, eco-friendly, politically-aware family. I just spent all day yesterday teaching my daughter to whistle, which, I admit, is of absolutely no practical value to the world.
I am still not evolved enough to break all ties from social media, but I've learned to scroll quickly past the chronic gloaters and when I am feeling particularly empowered I "hide" them from my timeline. Try it. You'll love the peace that follows.
Call in sick
In school, college and at work, at some point or another, we've all faked a cough on the phone and called in sick. Why not do that as a parent? I found this out quite by accident. A couple of weeks ago, I had the cold of the century that lasted a few days. I walked around with eyes like Irrfan Khan and voice like Rani Mukherjee. Everyone took pity on me and left me alone. My husband even said the three little words I long to hear him say - "Let Mummy Sleep!"
I think I may be on to something. If popularised, this could be a thing. One could announce to the world that one is sick and then just retire. Lie in bed all day, listen to podcasts, read a book and at regular intervals, let out a groan. A day or two of this and you'll come out feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Spa days and retreats are for losers, this stuff is virtually effortless and free!
On that note...Aaaachoo! Excuse me!