What To Do If Your Young Child Is Driving You Crazy

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Parents trying to do a good job raising a young child tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves. One way this pressure manifests is that they feel guilty, like they’re somehow bad parents, if that young child often drives them crazy. “This is supposed to be the happiest, most fulfilling time of my life and all I want to do is get away from this kid? There must be something wrong with me.”

What to do if your young child is driving you crazy is to realize that you’re the norm not the exception. No matter how much you love anyone constant, sustained contact with that person is going to make you start getting irritated by things that would roll off your shoulders if interactions were slightly less frequent. Add the constant stress of trying to do everything right, of trying to keep your child from all sorts of danger, of having to explain everything to them all day every day, of having to deal with the inexplicable meltdowns, of having this needy little human being take up pretty much all your psychic space all the time and it’s reasonable to want a little relief, to want to just get away from it all for a little bit. It doesn’t make you a bad parent or a bad person to feel this way it makes you a human being.

But when you start thinking big picture you’ll realize that in spite of all the pressure these are the moments you will miss dearly and wish you had back down the road. One philosophical thing you can do is to imagine your child’s face thirty years from now, when they’re all grown up and don’t need you anymore. Realize that time is transitory, that your child will stope being a young child very soon, even though right now in the moment it seems like it’s going to stay this way forever, that you’re stuck in some sort of purgatory. One practical thing you can do is to conscientiously and unabashedly take time away for yourself if that’s at all possible. Enlist your partner, a parent, a trusted friend or neighbor, or someone else you are sure you can rely on and go practice self-care. Do yoga, read a book, go for a walk in the park, get some drinks with friends. Do whatever it is you like to do to recharge your psychic batteries. It’s not selfish to take time for yourself it’s selfish to let your ego get in the way of making sure your mental and physical health are in a place where you can handle the daily grind of parenthood, where you can really enjoy all the good stuff in the moment rather than having your irritation obscure it.