Calm Parenting Secret: “How Do You Do It?”

Posted December 7, 2010 by

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People are always asking me, “How do you do it?” They want to know how I manage to take care of 3 children with mental health issues, work full time, take care of household stuff, etc… My answer, clearly, is that I really don’t know. But I do have one open secret — I take a bubble bath every night. Does that count? I think it does!

As far back as I can remember, I have always taken bubble baths. My mom also took bubble baths. I remember well into my teen years, sitting in the bathroom while she took a bath, and talking about each of our days. When I took my bath I would take a book in with me, or, as a teenager, the phone. I would be in there until the water ran cold and the bubbles were gone!

When my children were toddlers, I’d pop their wiggling, squirming bodies in the bath if they were getting too hyper. It was water therapy! One of my children was popped in the bath several times a day; it was amazing how calming it was for him. He is now a teenager and when he is having a bad day, he will take a shower on his own. It seems to calm all that ails! My 10-year-old step-son will use his shower time as a time to release his anger. We call it “shower tourettes” because he blurts out whatever he is thinking or feeling, says whatever he wants about whomever he is angry at, without retribution. We have not told him we can hear him. It has become a safe way for him to say what he feels. He comes out of the shower much calmer than when he went in!

As for me, I continue to take a bubble bath every night. Typically it is after the children have gone to bed, but I am always amazed when one will ask if I have had my bath yet or am planning one soon so that they do not use up all the hot water. I love to read and obviously I do not have as much leisure time as I would like to indulge, so that is my time to relax and read. Sometimes I will talk on the phone, or listen to a music CD or a book on CD. Sometimes I stay in until the water runs cold and all the bubbles are gone, sometimes I am in less than 10 minutes, but the outcome is always the same. I had “my time.”

My husband always makes sure we never run out of bubble bath, even if it means grabbing Mr. Bubble in a pinch! It is no secret that I do this. And you know what? I think that the more people who know, the better! As a housewarming gift my friend got me a fancy bathtub rack to hold a book and a candle. She told my husband it was a gift for the two of us, because without my bathtime, I would not be able to cope with the everyday stress of our unique family.

What do you do to relax? Please share your ideas here!

About

I am a mom of two boys, ages 16 and 22, both with ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. I have remarried and my husband has 2 boys, ages 13 and 16. The 13 year old lives with us, and has some behavioral problems and attachment issues. There is always something happening at our house!

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