If you’re a mom then it’s no secret that being a mother is not easy; in fact I’d venture to say that it’s an understatement to say that. There’s no rule book 101 on the best way to raise your kid because everyone is different, right down to the personality of your children. Parenting is all about how to find the balance and maintain the peace and productivity of your household. This is quite the juggling act. I am no “expert” by any professional, doctor standard, but I am a mom and I think that qualifies me to give my opinion at a minimum. Here are a few tips I use to help myself out when I’m feeling overwhelmed with mommy-hood.
1. Call Your Mother
Believe it or not your mom was a mother too! I can’t speak for anyone else but I will go on record as saying that my daughter has picked up many of my traits. The not so nice ones to be specific. When I think my head is going to explode I give my mother a call. Who better to advise me than the woman who raised me and dealt with my craziness? In the beginning of my parenting journey I was young and hot-headed. I was still feeling rebellious (I was 18 after all) and I thought that I was going to be a better parent than my mom. I swore I was going to have the plan of all plans and that it was going to be a breeze. Needless to say that line of thinking went straight out the window when reality paid me a visit. More and more I found myself resorting to methods my own mom used with me. She’s 60 years old, I’d like to believe she’s got some wisdom packed in that brain of hers. More than anything, sometimes it’s just nice to vent your frustrations to someone you know will understand.
2. Stop Expecting Perfection
We say we’re not looking for perfection; but the reality is sometimes we are and we don’t even know it. I am a stickler for making my children follow the rules; maybe because I’m afraid they’ll make poor decisions like I did. I realize that I can get upset when things are not just so, sometimes not even taking into account that my children are really making an effort. In those moments when I catch myself or my children and husband point it out, I find it beneficial to take a step back and really consider what my expectations are. Once I’ve done some internal reasoning and have weighed the pros and cons of my requirements; often times I find my children aren’t as awful as they sometimes appear to be.
3. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Believe it or not we were once their age too. We had the same silly questions, personality quirks, questionable habits and exhausting energy they did. I find that when I truly recall my childhood and the things I did; I realize my kids really aren’t half as bad as I was. They’re a little less savvy when they’re attempting to be sneaky; but in the end that’s a great quality. I don’t want my children to be good at deception! 🙂 I remind myself what life must be like in a world like this. Before I make assumptions about their choices and behavior, I try to remember that I too was once 11 and 6 years old. It keeps me humble and my kids find me to be more realistic when I communicate how much I understand them because I’ve been in their shoes.
4. Take a Day Off
This is like a myth in motherhood. Time off? What’s that? A necessity is what that is. We can’t do it all no matter how much we impose these superwoman like qualities on ourselves. We can’t prevent falls at the speed of a bullet, I can’t leap tall buildings with laundry baskets in my arms and I’m certainly not made of steel when I’m stepping on Lego pieces and Barbie doll shoes. Between homework, school activities, at home activities, supervising chore schedules, handling my own chores, being a psychologist, nurse, tutor, wife, cook and attorney sometimes I think I barely have room to breathe. It’s okay if one day I say this load of laundry is happening tomorrow, or hey kids it’s cereal for dinner tonight. I’m not June Cleaver, I’m just not. And I’m perfectly ok with that. That load of laundry will always be there; that opportunity to rest may not. Take it.
5. Stay On Top of Your Mental Health
This is so, so important. I can’t advocate for this enough. We often let our own mental health needs go because we’re so busy taking care of everything else. The reality is that it’s not healthy. One thing that has always stuck with me that one therapist said? You are no good to your family if you are not good to your mental health. You can’t do it all. You may have some downs, some blues you can’t seem to shake, feelings of inadequacy etc and it’s just so important that you talk to a professional about it if it’s a pervasive feeling. You’re not crazy for talking to a therapist; you’re crazy not to. Sometimes we just need someone un-bias to help us process our feelings and emotions. Better to stay ahead of any issues than fall so deep into our own mess it’s hard to climb out. There is no shame in asking for help!
So now I’ve shared my coping tips, what are some of yours?