The title of “MOM” is one of the hardest roles a person can take on. All of the beautiful photos on social media make motherhood look so darn easy. Capturing a single moment in time, these pictures and video clips quite often don’t show the challenges, temper tantrums, sleepless nights, or daily battles we face. No, the real struggle is often masked behind staged scenes, photo filters, and clever hashtags. But let’s be honest, those picture perfect moments we capture definitely do not make up the bulk of our time when it comes to parenting.
Don’t get me wrong, the good days and the memories during my first year of motherhood have FAR outweighed the bad. But, how do we moms find peace amidst the spit-up, toy cluttered floors and never-ending piles of laundry? Where is the balance between stepping on Legos in the middle of the night and the buckets of tears I will cry years from now at high school graduation?
As a community of Moms, we have to stick together and encourage one another. We must remind ourselves that our role as “moms” is one part of who we are and saying true to ourselves is essential in keeping balance during the journey of “mommy hood.” So my team and I got together and created this list of tips.
Stop expecting perfection from yourself.
We are moms, and we are not perfect. I’m not sure where we got the idea that we had to achieve perfection in parenting, but the honest truth is not one person on this planet has it all figured out. No matter how beautiful the Instagram pictures look.
There are times as a parent when you realize that your job is not to be the parent you always imagined you'd be, the parent you always wished you had. Your job is to be the parent your child needs, given the particulars of his or her own life and nature.Ayelet Waldman
Every child is different.
A friend describes it as, “Everyone has to find his or her child’s currency and it changes daily.” Meaning – only you know what works for your kid and what worked yesterday could be complete history today. They are growing, they are evolving and they are learning – and so are you.
So, you’re going to make mistakes in parenting. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when. Then, when you make a mistake, it’s not a matter of what you did; it’s what you do to fix it. The best lesson I learned from my mother was simply watching her apologize. She apologized to me frequently and it taught me that she was human. Those lessons are priceless and have helped me as a mother, apologize to my girls.
Treat yourself on a regular basis.
Don’t wait around for the Mother’s Day gift card or the Christmas stocking stuffer to go get a pedicure. Take a few hours to binge-watch your favorite Netflix series, or wander through Target by yourself. Get out of the house or office and buy yourself a Frappuccino from Starbucks – and forget feeling guilty about spending $6.
Grab your Nook Niche (it’s more than a feeding pillow), kick up your feet and quietly flip through your favorite recipe book.
Browse the swimsuit section and smell the candles on the end cap, and spend some quality YOU time. It’ll make a world of a difference.
Create some mental space and don’t allow yourself to think about the kids, or the laundry or what’s happening two hours from now.
If I have an hour to myself, I like to go dive into a gossip magazine or better yet, run over to Lululemon and shop their sales rack.
Make date night a staple.
Mom and Dad need alone time, and YOU need time with your hubby. I have a friend who has date night once a week with her her husband, and they have a standing rule that they are not allowed to talk about the children during that hour or two. It’s not selfish. In fact, it’s selfless. Keeping your marriage healthy is NUMBER ONE to keeping your children healthy.
So, give your marriage the time and attention it so deserves. It will teach your children to do the same when they are adults.
Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.Robert Fulghum
If you are a single mom, then make time to spend with a good friend. Girlfriend dates are important too! Go for a glass of wine, try that new yoga class, check out the new exhibit at a museum, or go to a concert. Maintaining and nurturing your friendships are important to your personal well-being!
Give yourself another chance.
We covered this in an earlier point, but really it deserves its own book. As moms, we often go to bed berating ourselves about all of the things we didn’t get done and focus too much on the things that may have gone wrong the day before. I have a habit of being my own worst critic; it’s time to let those habits go.
Treat every day like a new beginning. Breathe in a breath of fresh air, and give yourself a new chance to be great. It’s never too late to adjust our lifestyle or habits or try something new. Let’s start that today!
Spend quality time with your kiddo(s).
We tend to feel a very heavy weight of responsibility for that little life form we brought into this world. Sometimes we convince ourselves that everything we say has to have a purpose or deeper meaning – like we are always teaching our child some great lesson. In forcing an injection of “quality” into our time, we are losing the real meaning of quality and ultimately losing the time.
At the end of five years, we wonder why it went by so fast. Looking back on ten years, we can’t believe we’re halfway done.
Childhood is a short season.Helen Hayes
Try spending an evening with your child without a literal lesson involved. Just watch a movie. Just color a picture. Just be. They’ll learn more from that quality time than anything else.
Just remember no one thinks being a mom is a breeze (unless you’re not a mom). Don’t feel alone, you are not the only one feeling this weight! If you need to grab your best friend and have a meltdown, that’s okay. We’re women. Sure we can be emotional, but we’re also empathetic. This parenting gig is hard, and together we can successfully work our way through it! Also don’t forget, a glass of wine helps lessen the load from time to time.