A cousin was showing my daughter his ribbons from his recent swim meet. "This one was for butterfly...I got first place," he said. "And this one was for third place in backstroke." So I asked "What are the 10 purple ribbons for?" He said "They're participation ribbons."
WAIT A MINUTE! You're a fantastic swimmer and have a lot to be proud of but showing up at your swim meet is simply not one of them. You're part of a team...you can't let your team down...that's why you show up...not for a DARN ribbon.
You want to know what doesn't happen when you show up to work on time (with one eye covered in eye shadow and the other bare because you were trying to get ready in the dark because if you wake her, you will LEGIT cry.) What you don't get is a ribbon. For doing any of that. Because showing up is a part of life. The ribbon comes when your child helps someone less fortunate or becomes a teacher later in life and gives back to society.That's your ribbon. And it doesn't come without hard work, sleepless nights and playing Bert and Ernie all freakin' day.
So I reduce stress by realizing that not everything has to be perfect, equal or fair. Life isn't always fair and the faster they learn that, the better in my opinion. I try to teach my child patience and kindness but if she doesn't get a chance on the swings because the line is too long and we have to leave and she starts to throw a tantrum, I don't think I'm a bad mom. I say "Deal with it my love. There will be another time on the swing." And then I say "Look at that doggie over there. What does a dog say? RUFF RUFF." DIVERT THEIR ATTENTION. A child who doesn't always get what they want may work harder for the things they do want.