Moms, are we ever satisfied with ourselves?
Most of the time, we’re feeling guilty over something. And we always think the other Mom has it together and is doing a much better job than we are.
If you’re a stay-at-home Mom, you may wonder if what you’re doing is really important, as you change diapers and fix dinner and nurse the baby (all at the same time).
It’s pretty self-defeating to try to be a perfect mom, so that’s not what this article is about. This is about becoming the mom YOU want to be, which means aiming for more contentment and satisfaction in your mothering efforts.
To become the mom you want to be, it helps to stop and take stock of just what you’re doing and where you want to be. Here are some tips that may help.
1. Do What You Need to Do
Many of us moms feel like we can’t put the kids in front of the TV or DVD player – not even once. While experts are in agreement that daily TV viewing for hours on end is not a good habit, there’s no shame in letting them watch something so you can save your sanity (or read a book!). Sometimes you just need a few minutes, and then you’re a better mom after a little recovery time.
2. Exercise When and How You Can
Even if you can’t put in an hour in the gym (and many busy moms can’t!), don’t give up exercising altogether. Just because you can’t go all out and run marathons doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself some much-needed exercise (and the resulting energy boost). Do what you can do – walk with the baby in a stroller; take your child on a hike; run races; dance to music indoors. How about doing some stretches while the kids romp in the playground? I’ve even jogged around the playground just to get some exercise in. Sure, I felt silly, but I pushed my embarrassment aside, because my health is more important than what people think of me.
3. Stop the Guilt
Ah, guilt – moms are so prone to it that it’s almost a stereotype. I always say, when a baby is born, it has a twin and its name is Guilt.
To make things worse, guilt makes a circle – if you feel guilty about something, then you feel guilty for feeling guilty! And guilt can wear you out, physically and mentally. So remind yourself that you are doing the best you can; no mom is perfect. If you snap at your kids or “lose it” occasionally, an apology works wonders (once everyone has cooled off).
4. Don’t Live in Your Own Mom’s Shadow
This is a tough one. If you had a fantastic mom, you may feel pressure to be just like she was to you growing up, and may find yourself unable to measure up. If you had a lousy mom (or worse, an abusive one), then you may carry the fear of being like her and try to “rise above” your upbringing. Either way, you lose, dangnabit.
My Mom is wonderful with plants, people, and the house. She told me once that she actually enjoys straightening up the house. Wow, am I really her daughter? Plants come to my house to die. I’d rather not meet people face-to-face (I’m an introvert), and I always experiment with how long I can go without cleaning up. On the other hand, my Mom doesn’t cook much.
If you need to see a counselor or therapist about this, do so — it’s that important. It’s a good idea to “own” your mothering efforts and recognize that you are an individual. Your household won’t look like your mom’s household, whether that’s good or bad. And you shouldn’t expect it to.
5. Hear What Your Kids Are Saying
Really hearing your kids – listening effectively – is a key component to being the mom you want to be. Sometimes, that means biting your tongue and listening rather than immediately offering to solve the problem. Other times it means you need to be proactive and solve the problem. Most importantly, listening shows your kids that you do care and are there for them.
Our children teach us how to be the best Mom we can be, so look to them — not other Moms, other kids, books or so-called experts.
I hope this post helps you appreciate yourself better for doing what you can as a Mom. Last of all, remember, good enough is, well, good enough!
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