Stressed Out Parents: How To Find Joy

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Last Updated on August 26, 2020 by Creative Parenting

Are you trying to find joy in parenting?

This idea for this post came to me while watching the show – The Good Place.

You see…

I really try to limit my TV watching to something intellectually stimulating and entertaining.

After all, we have young kids.

And a job.

And a commute. So I’m pretty picky about the TV watching I do.

But every once in awhile I find a show that really sucks me in. Grabs my attention. And I’m hooked.

Recently that’s been this show called The Good Place. Have you heard of it? It stars Ted Danson and Kristen Bell and takes place in the afterlife.

One of the characters was a philosophy professor –  and that’s right up my alley because I studied philosophy.

Watching the show has got me remembering some of the philosophy I studied. And thinking about what the good life means as a parent.


One of the things that jumps out about the show is the relationship between Eleanor and her mother {who was a terrible person}.

And that made me realize how many people have to suffer from terrible parents.

Because growing up with a good parent can make your childhood.

But being a good parent really doesn’t cost anything {other than energy and dedication I suppose}.

Sure, some people will say or argue that being a good parent means all sorts of things. 

And they might say that not providing your family – or being born into adverse circumstances – means that your parents weren’t achieving their best.

But even if you are born into difficult circumstances, or are a parent that’s facing hardships, I think it’s still possible to do your best every day to care for your kids.

At the end of the day, showing your children love, and being present for your kids really doesn’t cost anything.

And this is more apparent to me each time I watch The Good Place because there are characters who struggled in a variety of different ways with their parents.

Tahani’s parents, for example, were terrible because they pitted her against her sister. And Elizabeth’s mother was terrible too – a drunk, never there, and only cared about herself.

So the show really makes you think about what you owe your children and what we owe to each other.

Now I don’t mean to sound judgy but personally I think the most important things we can do to be good parents are low hanging fruit so to speak.

For example…

Showing Love Doesn’t Cost Anything

Things like loving your kids, being present, caring for their emotional needs, asking about their day – these things don’t cost money.

And really some of the most important things we do as parents are the nonmaterialistic things.

I think so many people get all tied up in materialism and the money side of things like buying gifts or providing a fancy house.

Now to be sure, it’s important to make sure your needs are met.

But more than that, I think what’s most important is creating memories and a childhood that your kids will look back fondly on.

Not everyone will agree with this and maybe there’s something to be said for that disagreement.

But It’s interesting that so many people are quick to buy their kids the latest thing – instead of caring for their emotional needs.

But then those same people will complain about how much stuff they have and that kids are too needy for more stuff!

For most families and kids a happy childhood is going to come through having their basic needs met and growing up in an environment of love (more than stuff). 

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the constant busyness of kid clutter and the new toys and holidays, here are some ideas and questions you might want to think about:

Are Their Old Toys Or Baby Stuff Taking Up Space That you Really Need?

Then ask yourself these questions:

Could you sell it?

Could you gift it?

Maybe it’s time for a garage sale?

…Or maybe you just need to put it up in the attic and storage.


Think about what toys your kids really play with.

Are the toys that take up the most space the ones he never touches?

Are you thinking about your house and your storage space when you’re crafting your kids’ Christmas list? Or birthday lists for that matter?

You don’t have to be a monk or become an extreme minimalist to find some peace of mind after getting rid of stuff that you and your kids never use.

Getting rid of just putting away the old junk that you don’t touch anymore can bring a lot of benefits.

For example…

You’re not going to feel stressed out when you get home.

You’re not going to trip over a painful toy when you get up in the middle of the night.

You might make some extra money by selling stuff on eBay.

And your house will look more like a clean HOME than a cluttered STRESS MESS.

(Those are just a few benefits I could think of).


There’s also a good chance that if your mental space is all cluttered it’s affecting other areas of your life.

Even if you know you need to take action and make changes…

It can be hard to start.

But sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do.

Because once you do, then you’ll start to feel the momentum. And your stress and cortisol levels will come down as a result.

And once you stress levels come down you can think about other questions like:

What Are Your Long-Term Parenting Goals To Find Joy in Parenting?

Are you thinking about the long-term?

If your habits today are not in line with your values it might be time to rethink them.

When you’re spending time with your kids think about what you’re doing and how it aligns with your values.

For Me, This Has Been The Value ADD Of Watching The Good Place.

…It gets me thinking mindfully about questions such as:

Do my values match my goals?

Does all this clutter really matter?

And so on.

My takeaway? 

Taking action now to reduce your stress can help you live more in the present. 

Here’s why that matters:

Even though you might be exhausted after work, is sitting at home on your iPhone while your toddler runs around the house really how you want your children to see you?

Because the choices you make every day turn into the memories your kids have tomorrow.

You could be reading to them.

Or playing with them.

Or doing something to help them engage with the world or learn a new skill.

My point is this…

I’m not saying that you should never spend any time on your cell phone when your kid is around.

What I am saying is that we could all be more mindful of how our children perceive us and how that relates to our values and long-term goals.

After all, we are only beginning to understand the effects of these new technologies and child development.

Certainly, each generation and age has its own new technology.

But the idea here is not so much about the technology but rather how we’re spending our time when we’re with our children.

Are we being mindful?

And present?

Especially for those of us who work and don’t kid to see our kids during the day!

Speaking of being mindful…

Do you need to really freak out over what you’re stressing out about?

This is a great question that we could all do more to ask ourselves and benefit from.

After all, anyone who has young children and is managing a career knows that any little thing can be very stressful.

Sometimes just getting through the day and surviving a week can be stressful in and of itself.

So next time you’re having one of those super stressful days where you’re worrying about something small remember this:

A year from now how important is this crisis really going to be to you?

Is it a small crisis?

Are you actually going to remember this?

Is this expense really worth losing sleepover?

In the grand scheme of things how big a deal is this really?

…Remember these questions and it will help you get some perspective.

Now I’m not trying to make light of the daily stresses of being a parent.

All I’m trying to do is encourage you to keep a 30,000 foot perspective on the mini-crises that happen every day to all of us.

When faced with a disaster situation, just take a deep breath, think about that bigger, perspective, exhale, and see if you can face the challenge with a new reality.


Creative Parenting

Creative Parenting

was founded on the belief that parenting in today's world shouldn't be so dang hard!

It's a tough world out there. And our content is designed to help you be a better parent with less stress, more love, and time to focus on your family!

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