With our eight “big kids” headed off to elementary school every morning, and the baby sleeping most of the day away, we have been feeling a little bummed. Being a mom is a huge job that can leave you with the lightest or the heaviest hearts. Here are a few ways to be a happier momma….
1. Be real. Be yourself. It can be exhausting trying to be perfect when seriously, NO ONE is perfect. Embrace the things about yourself that really stand a chance of making a positive impression on your children. Perhaps you are a horrible cook, but a master at being creative. Instead of coveting the skills of your Betty Crocker neighbor, leave the cooking to your hubby and you and your toddler whip up some awesome napkin rings for the meal. Perhaps you are a great leader at your job and others depend on you to do you job well. Instead of feeling guilty about working, use your work ethic to inspire your kids. If you are okay with your imperfections, your kids are likely to be more confident with themselves as well. You don’t have to be perfect – just love them, ALL THE TIME!
2. Use paper and plastic. We are fans of going green and saving money, but every now and then, go easy. Save yourself a few minutes in the kitchen and use disposable plates. Use the time you save to play Candy Land or put yourself in time out (see number 7).
3. Go to bed. Once the kids are in bed we know the day is not even close to over. There are always a million things to do. However, you need your sleep. Nobody likes a cranky baby and even fewer people like a cranky mom. Everything is a little easier to deal with when you are rested. Perhaps the old 8 hour recommendation is unrealistic, so shoot for 6 and wake up refreshed.
4. Call a girlfriend, or better yet, go see her. The research on the benefits of friendship are astounding. Your husband may be great and your children are a treasure, but put a call in to your girlfriend and vent, commiserate, laugh, brag, cry and enjoy her friendship. There really is nothing like it.
5. Pace yourself. You may think your kids want to do a million things, but sometimes they really just want to stay home and play. Remember that unstructured play gives your child a lot of opportunities to learn, be creative, and keeps you out of that taxi you call a van.
6. Ask for help and learn to say no. In case you haven’t noticed, no one is handing out trophies for doing it all by yourself. There is not a person on the planet that can read your mind. If you need help, you won’t get it unless you ask. And you don’t have to say yes to everything that is asked of you. The world WILL NOT implode if you say no to the school bake sale.
7. Give yourself a time out. It may seem impossible some days, but take a time out (maybe 2 minutes, maybe 20 minutes). Use the time to breath in AND out. That may be all you have time for, but if your time out is longer, use it to do something that brings you joy. Read, stretch, pray, journal, whatever.
Just for fun we asked our kids what makes us happy and here is what they had to say.
Mary’s kids said….”When we follow directions the first time.”, “Being with her kiddos.”, “The beach and tacos.”, “Snuggling.”
Holly’s kids said…”Good behavior.”, “Me.”, “Um, I know! Doing laundry!”, “Playing with me.”