The Preschool Years

IMG_3500Lots of my pals have new arrivals so I thought I’d share from my years of living with preschoolers.

Three years ago, I can remember feeling overwhelmed. Our oldest was a terror, we had a new baby and I could see no end to the frantic energy and whining. Today, we’re up to three kids but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Where should a new parent focus?

Three things come to mind…

Marriage – it’s easy to lose each other in the craziness of a young family. Make time to be with each other. We try to spend 2-3 evenings with each other each week. Money spent here has the best return on my discretionary spending.

De-escalate – At my best, I have the skill to de-escalate my kids by relaxing myself.

How can you train yourself to not escalate when faced with a screaming child? Here’s my practical mindfulness program…

  • Courtesy to people with no recourse against me
  • Yield in traffic
  • Always polite to spouse
  • Pause when you feel anger
  • Train your relaxation reflex – perhaps by taking a big breath occasionally – here’s an app to help you learn to relax

None of the above has anything to do with kids – most of my parenting habits started far away from any toddlers!

Health – While you may, or may not, regret losing your spouse (or temper) through the preschool years, you will absolutely regret losing your health.

My trap is confusing athletic performance with health.

Other traps:

  • Confusing success with my bank balance
  • Measuring how effective I am by what I publish
  • Co-dependence, where I use serving another as an excuse to neglect myself

I share the above because our minds will convince us that there’s always a good short-term reason to ignore our long-term health. I don’t know your reasons but I know we are all prone to rationalizations.

All up, this phase of my life is going to last seven years.

1,000 days to go.

Soon they will be wiping themselves!