When I was growing up, I was so excited to one day become a mother! Seriously, my parents were slightly concerned when I was 17 and just dying to be a mom! (It would be 7 more years until I had my first child) But one of the reasons I went to nursing school was because I felt it was the closest thing to being a mother! I find the greatest pleasure when I’m taking care of someone else so becoming a nurse was an obvious next step!
Some days I feel like the best mom in the world! You know those days… the days when you cook a healthy meal that they LOVE or clean the whole house before the kids even get home from school? Or when you witness a first step or your preschooler reading by himself for the first time… those days when you’re like… “YEAH! I’M SUPERMOM!” But yall, there are days when I find myself nearly in tears because I don’t think I’m a good enough mom.
Earlier this week, Linden kicked his soccer ball in the house and it knocked my water glass to the floor causing it to shatter into the biggest mess. On top of that, Lofton was throwing a major fit because I wouldn’t let him spend all evening watching youtube videos and eating candy instead of his dinner. Yes, it was one of THOSE days!! Lance was working late that day but when got home I simply said, “dinner is on the stove, please hang with the kids so I can go take a bath…. I need a moment to myself.” And yall, that was not like me at all! I never need a time-out as a mother, but I realized that I hadn’t been spending any time on myself!
In the past, I set aside time every week to do something for myself, but the last couple weeks have been so chaotic that I’ve neglected “me” time and it was starting to affect me as a mother! So I took the time to write down a few things that I do that allow me to destress and be a better wife and mother.
- Be Grateful – Every night at the dinner table (well we try to do it every night but sometimes we forget, or end up eating takeout on the couch) Lance and I say what our favorite part of the day was. Sometimes when you think about the day as a whole it can make you feel like a failure, but when you take time to remember the little things that you are grateful for, or the things that made you smile, it can put things into perspective!
- Get Enough Sleep – No really, THIS IS A BIG ONE! When I don’t get a full night’s sleep, my fuse shortens (ever so slightly.) Some people get by on less sleep and that works for them… Lance only sleeps like 5 hours a night even if it means waking up at 4am! His body is just used to those 5 hours, and it won’t let him sleep any more than that. I’m a solid 8-9 hrs a night kind of girl! So if I get less than that I find myself a little on edge all day, which is never good for anyone! So put that phone down, and get some sleep!
- Have A Date Night – This is one piece of advice that you’ve all probably heard about. However, it’s easy to forget about it or put it last on the list of life’s to-dos. As parents, you need alone time with your spouse! Lance and I are not only parents together, but we work together every single day. So we are either in CEO/COO mode or parenting mode! Turning all of that off and growing the bond between each other is seriously SO important and will help you be better parents all around!
- Wake Up Before Your Kids – This is a hard one… especially when your kids are toddlers and love waking up with the sun! But I promise that you’ll be amazed at how great you feel all day when you wake up 30 minutes before your kids! Take that time to have a cup of coffee in silence, have some quiet time for devotions, and make your kids (and yourself) breakfast. When I rush and scold my kids to get dressed for school and send them off with just a juice box and a cereal bar I am totally ruined for the day. That’s not fair to them, and it’s certainly not fair for you either, mama!
- Take A Mental Health Day (or break it up into mental health hours)– Everyone needs time for themselves; even if they aren’t a parent!! I used to HATE getting my nails done because I was always worried that I was missing something at work or that I could be doing something more productive. Only recently did I realize that the hour it takes to get my nails done in complete silence was so great for my mental stability throughout the week! I now keep a standing nail appointment every 2 weeks, and I’m not sorry about it! Not only do I get that time to be alone and reflect on my week, but I also get to walk away with pretty nails… and seriously, who doesn’t love pretty nails!?
- Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Moms – “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”. – Philo This quote is obviously reminding us to be KIND, but I think it also reminds me that even if it appears that another mom has her sh*t together more than you do, she still has her own struggles. Look, I’m a working mom… I don’t have all day and night to plan a Pinterest worthy half-birthday party for my 2.5 year old. So when other mom’s are living the Pinterest life I tend to get jealous of their ability to be so perfect but yall, what works for one family does NOT always work for another!! If you’re feeling down or stressed about your parenting, remember that social media is just a small glimpse of people’s lives. The filter goes way deeper than Nashville or Valencia.. I promise!
- Prep as much as you can in advance – This is a hard one for me. I KNOW that meal prepping on the weekends saves time… and I KNOW that laying out clothes is great, but it’s hard to actually stop what you’re doing on a Sunday and do these things. But I’m telling you from experience, GO DO IT. Nothing is worse than running around like a crazy person in the morning trying to find socks for your toddler (because we all know those things disappear) or throwing a cereal bar at them as they run out the door. Sure, they will live… but it causes unnecessary chaos and makes you feel like a bad mom. I’ll definitely do a longer post on this later, but for now… here are my 3 major prep tips to help you be a happier mom:
- Lay out a week’s worth of clothes for your toddlers on Sunday evening. (if your kids are older have them do it themselves!) This will immediately take away the stress of finding something for them to wear in the mornings.
- Plan each dinner for the entire week. You don’t have to necessarily COOK everything in advance but having a guideline and shopping list will help with those nights when you have NOTHING to cook so you throw chicken nuggets and fries in the oven for the 3rd night in a row… (please tell me I’m not the only one who has let this happen)
- Start the dishwasher every.single.night. Yes, every night. Unload the clean dishes, load up the dishes that have accumulated in the sink, and turn it on. You’ll be much happier the next morning when you wake up to a clean kitchen!
- Laugh It Off – Chaos is synonymous with kids and the more you learn to laugh at the imperfections the more relaxed you will be! Instead of literally crying over spilled milk, know that your kids are KIDS. They are clumsy little dirt magnets that just want to make you proud. So laugh it off, and start making some memories with that spilled milk! I promise, your kids will remember it for years to come and so will you!
- Know When To Let It Go – Whether it’s folding more laundry, (does it ever end??) or responding to a few more work emails, sometimes you just need to let it go. There are days everything doesn’t get done, and it’s ok! You can always wait until the kids go to bed or finish in the morning during those 30 minutes before your kids wake up!
- Listen To Them Being Kids – There is no sweeter sound than your children laughing. Make it your goal everyday to get at least one crazy uncontrollable laugh out of your kids! They will love it, but you will love it even more!
I wish I could hug all of the mama’s out there and tell you all that you are doing a PERFECT job. Your children love you even when you don’t have time to fix your hair for the day or match your shoes to your bag. To them, you are Wonder Woman! So don’t forget to take time for yourself and enjoy the little things!
“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”