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10 Small Grumbles Hidden In The Heart Of Every Parent With Kids

10 Small Grumbles Hidden In The Heart Of Every Parent With Kids
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Quite a lot of movies, books, and even songs represent parents as saints or people with few personal needs. Meanwhile, in reality, most parents feel annoyed, frustrated, and even driven nuts when dealing with their children. We are only human after all. The little people in our lives are extremely proficient at finding our weak spots.  They seem to instinctively know just how to get our goat.

1. You never wake up naturally

I never wake up by myself. I never even wake up with the alarm clock. I’m usually woken up by a small face appearing in front of mine and loudly asking, “Are you awake, Mom?” From the moment you become a parent, the days of waking up naturally are gone. Everyone acts like that’ll change. Here’s a newsflash – it won’t.

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2. You never stop cleaning up messes

It never fails. Your little one asks for a glass of water or milk and two seconds later – it’s on the floor. Or down your shirt. Or in your shoes. You might think you’re clever and put the liquid in a sippy cup. It doesn’t matter. They will find a way to spill it.

3. You never get to eat dessert without sharing

My kids are experts at wolfing down their own desserts, giving me sad eyes, and asking for “just one bite” of mine. I have been known to actually shield my dessert from them with my hands while growling, “Get away from my cake.” It’s like Lord of the Flies when it comes to dessert and kids. Ever tried eating a piece of cake in front of your two year-old and offering them fruit as a “healthy snack option instead? You only try that one once and live to tell of it.

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4. You can’t leave home without packing half of the house

Leaving your home used to be so quick and easy. You’d grab your purse, maybe a drink for the road, and you’d walk out the door. Now you need at least 30 minutes to prepare. The world might end if you forget a sippy cup, a change of diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, bottles, a special blanky, a change of clothes, and so on. Leaving your home requires roughly the same amount of planning that some military missions do. There are no quick errands anymore. If you get brave enough (IE: crazy enough) and leave the house without the all important diaper bag, you know your kid is going to have a blowout so epic that they’ll be talking about it at the grocery store for some weeks to come. Trust me, I know this from personal experience.

5. You can’t have nice things

Do you have a beautiful and intricate rug? Not anymore. With kids running around, you might as well go ahead and rub chocolate all over it yourself. Perhaps you have a priceless heirloom mirror from your grandmother? Just break it now. That’s what it’ll look like in the near future if you leave it in your home with kids around. No matter how much you love your little rug rats, rest assured that they will trash everything in your home. It’s their job.

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6. You never pee alone

For some reason, young children think that going to the bathroom is a group activity. You think you’re going to steal away for 2 blessed minutes to pee in peace – you’re not. They will find you. And they will have urgent needs the minute you sit down. They need a snack “NOW!” They broke your favorite vase. They lit the kitchen on fire. If you don’t get off the toilet, what’s next?

7. You find that vomit is magically attracted to your body

It starts when kids are tiny babies. They spit up on you – a lot. And it usually happens right after you’ve put on a fresh shirt or dropped the burping cloth. Then they become toddlers and get the stomach flu for the first time. You know what comes next – they throw up on you. You tell yourself it’s because they don’t understand the feeling of nausea and what usually happens next. Then they become preschoolers and they come into your room to tell you they don’t feel well – and throw up all over you. Even elementary school kids seem to do this. Parenting is rife with puke. It nearly always ends up all over you.

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8. You repeat yourself 10 billion times

Ever tried to teach a small child manners? Or tried to explain why dragons can’t be pets? It takes a special kind of patience to torture yourself daily with explaining the same things over, and over, and over again. The next day it’ll start all over again. Ever had your four year-old give you a puzzled look when you say, “I didn’t hear the magic word” for the twelfth time that day? You patiently explain that when you ask for more milk, you have to use the word “please”. They will look at you in confusion. I swear.

9. You reheat your coffee at least 10 times before you drink it

Remember the days when you sat down to the paper and a steaming cup of Joe on Sunday mornings? You could relax and drink your delicious beverage while it was hot. Once you have kids, you have two choices. You either chug your coffee while it’s so hot you actually get third degree burns on your tongue, OR you drink it in small sips in between its trips back and forth from the microwave.

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10. You face resistance to sleep every single day

No matter how tired your kid is, they will fight sleep. In fact, there seems to be a direct correlation between tiredness and sleep resistance. As in, the more tired and hyper your kid is, the more viciously she will fight sleep. Your kiddo will always come up with some amazing reasons she can’t go to bed just yet. Ever heard the one about how there is a dragon in her room that only comes out when it’s dark and no parents are around? Or how he is so thirsty he might just die without water? Or how one more bedtime story will surely bring immediate and glorious sleep? Or how it’s not fair that grown-ups get to stay up late and do amazingly fun things like the dishes? I could go on and on… like an annoying little (lovable) kid.

Featured photo credit: Man and child at Occupy Wall Street/Timothy Krause via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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