I am not entirely sure that I am qualified to write this post, but I’m going to give it a shot. Every once in a while, my kids tell me I am the best mom in the world. On a few occasions, I have even had strangers in a store tell me that I am clearly a great mom, so it has made me to believe that I am some sort of expert. (However, if you have read Mommy’s Downfall or Building Better Habits, you may have a very different opinion of this matter). Either way I am going to share with you, in my honest opinion, what it takes to be an amazing mom. And let me preface this with telling you that to be an amazing Mom, you do NOT have to be a perfect Mom. There is no such thing. And just like every child is different, every mother is different.
- The hardest part of being a mom for me was learning how to take care of myself while making sure I kept my tiny humans alive. The very first, and most important way to be an amazing mom, is to make sure you are taking care of yourself. It is incredibly difficult to take care of others when you are running on empty. I know in the early stages of new motherhood this is hard, because you have a newborn clinging to you 24/7. But as that baby grows and learns some independence, you also need to grow and learn some as well. I think as mothers, we tend to spend all of our energy making sure everyone else is taken care of, and we rarely take the time to practice self care. I am new to this too, but I have learned quickly that it helps me to be a better mom when I feel better about myself. Some of my favorite self care activities include a relaxing bath, a glass of wine and a good book, some hot tea and journaling, and of course writing. Find what makes you happy, and what calms your soul, and make sure to spend a little bit of time each day focusing on yourself.
- Stop saying yes to everything. I know it is sometimes easier to say yes to avoid a fight with your kid, but trust me, this is usually a bad idea. As long as it doesn’t become a habit, I am all for picking your battles. Kids are hard, and they WILL push you to your limits to see how far they can go. If you give in to them more times than not, they will take advantage of you. I know this first hand, because I am currently struggling to get back the upper hand in this epic battle. Avoid getting to this point by sticking to your guns in the first place.
- Don’t worry about what other moms think of you. This one is hard, but it is also one of the most important. As Rachael Hollis says, “Other people’s opinions of you, are none of your business”. And she couldn’t be more right! Every mother is different, with different needs and different children, different life circumstances and different upbringing. If we all tried to be the same, we would all be miserable trying to do the impossible. We need to celebrate our differences, and accept the fact that no one can tell you how to be a mom. Use your beliefs and your instincts to raise your kids in a way that works for you.
- Help your children to learn kindness. I have learned that the more I teach my children about kindness, and doing good for others, the more they want to help me around the house. This one is easy- and it is a win-win! You get to raise amazing humans that are going to grow up saving the world and restoring kindness to humanity, and at the same time they learn that being kind to mom is a great way to practice! I recently sat down and talked with my kids about spreading kindness, and challenged them to do nice things for others every day this week to see how it made them feel. You know what they chose to do first? Help me make their lunches and get ready for school, and even held the door for me. The look on their faces as I praised them for being so thoughtful was priceless. They were proud of themselves, and it made them feel great to help me.
- HAVE FUN!!! My favorite activity to do with my kids is to have a dance party in our living room. This happens at least weekly, and we dance until our legs feel like jelly. When my 7 year old daughter and I are walking from my car into a store, we hold hands and skip. When my son is in a bad mood and a tantrum is brewing, I tickle him until he is laughing so hard he forgets why he was upset in the first place. When we go to the beach in the summer, I put on my bathing suit and splash around with my kids. I go on roller coasters even though they make me nauseous. I play super heroes, chalk on the driveway, go on bike rides, build forts, and make silly faces. I don’t make my kids feel like their interests are below me, or that I am too busy to play with them. Honestly, the best part of having kids is being able to act like a kid again myself!
If you struggle with any of these things, you are not alone. Being a mom is HARD. It is the most demanding job in the world, and one that gets very little support or praise. But you are doing a great job! I am certainly not perfect, and I struggle daily to try and stay on the right path with my kids. And there are some says where I lose track and fail miserably. But there is always tomorrow, and another chance to do better. And the best part? Kids are resilient. As I stress away over yelling at them too much yesterday, they wake up ready for a big hug to start the day. Yesterday is gone, and today is a new day to try again. They will not hold it against you, as long as you just keep trying.