(1) Get rid of all the ‘shoulds.’ There are things that need doing, but very little is urgent and the way you are programmed to think of mothering does not need to be the way you actually do it.
(2) Comparison helps … never. If you’re caught in the hamster wheel of social scrolling — remember it is a highlight reel.
Even comparing yourself to the mom you thought you were going to be can be dangerous. Be the mom you are.
(3) Your only interest and ‘hobby’ does not have to be your children. Repeat after me: “I am more than my offspring!”
It’s hard to separate yourself. It’s hard to find an identity outside your kids. It is especially hard when they are babies and toddlers and need constant supervision and care.
There will come a time when they are more independent and you can breathe easier. It is okay to wish for that time. You aren’t less of a mom if you long for HOT coffee, less poop clean-up, or some time with good friends.
(4) Everything will get done. If you are tired, walk past the messy kitchen or half-finished project. I promise it will still get done … or maybe it doesn’t have to get done. Either way, it doesn’t have to happen now.
There are very, very few things that are actually urgent.
(5) Put your phone on “do not disturb” or tuck it away somewhere. Being accessible can add to that sense of urgency. You do not need to respond to people right away or say yes to the next volunteer gig to be doing a GOOD JOB AS A MOM.
You can even go so far as to admit you hate (or love) volunteering at the school, don’t like cooking, or breastfeeding, (or the baby-phase), or hot cross buns. You get to be you.
There are so many things you do LOVE – just love those things. If there are things you don’t like that are necessary just do them. But you don’t have to love it all.
(6) Grace. Grace. Grace. Grace. Give it to yourself. You won’t get it right sometimes. You will probably get it a little ‘wrong’ each day. But the rules are made up. You are exhausted. Love is just going to have to be enough.
(7) Forgive yourself when you yell or lose it, cause that will happen. You can have the patience of Mother Teresa (I can only assume that is a good reference for patience) and still do things that have you feeling like #fail.
If you haven’t had a reaction that you deem unacceptable yet, you will. And, again offer yourself *grace* and forgiveness and do better next time.
P.s. You can even apologize to your kids. They will like to see you own your failures and demonstrate what it looks like to say, “I’m sorry.”
(8) Self-care. Hahahahahahahahahaha.
That’s what we are told to practice. I 100% agree, but don’t feel guilty if you feel you can’t get that straight either. A time will come when you can make more time for massages, meditation, and wine-dates.
Maybe the simplest thing you can do right now is to hire a sitter so you can nap, leave the vacuuming until never, or tell (force, or bribe) little darling Delilah to entertain herself for a bit while you read People magazine.
(9) Surround yourself with friends who want to know YOU and not just talk “kids” all the time.
Scratch that if you want to talk “kids” all the time – don’t let me bully you.
The point is don’t lose your ability to talk about things you love and hate and long for instead of feeling like you need to only talk about sleep-training and potty-training and other extremely boring topics (I get it — we do need to sort it all out and talk about it and get advice and vent, but I can’t personally pretend those things are fun to talk about or really give me pep in my step).
(10) Take your thoughts captive. That’s biblical, but also smart. You cannot control the number of house plants your kid will destroy, prevent toddler Timmy from throwing up in his car seat while driving down the highway, or stop screaming Suzie from waking you up every hour on the hour for months on end.
BUT you can train yourself to park the negative thoughts and think on positive things. You can decide what you think about and dwell on and BELIEVE. You’ve got this momma!
(11) BONUS. Look in the mirror and say ~~~ “I love my kids. Today that is enough. Tomorrow that is enough. I am enough. I am a good mom. The end.”