I feel like I spend a lot of time getting angry with my kids. Do you have any advice for keeping my cool?
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Try to relax. I’m French, and I think that French parents tend to be a bit more laid back and relaxed about parenting. For instance, in the United States, if pediatricians advise starting cereal at six months, many moms wouldn’t give a spoonful of cereal at 5 months and 29 days. A mom in France, however, is already serving her baby Brie and Camembert! (A bad idea !)
Another example is if you’re tired and you don’t feel like giving your kids a bath one night, skip it. Go have a glass of wine with your husband instead. It’s ok if kids don’t get a bath every night. Along the same lines, if you don’t have time to cook a nutritious dinner, call out for pizza. Learn to let go once in awhile!
It’s important to take care of yourself, and the key is to do it guilt free. I see so many self-sacrificing parents. They want their kids perfectly clean, perfectly dressed, perfectly perfect, and the parents themselves are perfectly unhappy. Take a step back; take some time for you to feel good about yourself. it’s better for your kids to have a relaxed mother than for them to be perfectly clean every day.
—Nathalie Stern, MD, a mom of two and a French-born pediatrician practicing in New York City and in Southampton, NY