This past year, I’ve spent a lot of time working on self-care. Having 3 kids in 6 years took a toll on me, and I found myself drowning in the day to day tasks, and not taking nearly enough time for myself. I felt “lost” a little bit in motherhood. Sound familiar?
I couldn’t remember the last time I wasn’t running through a checklist in my head, or yelling at someone to stop fighting. Before I had a total breakdown, I took some time for me. To remind myself what I needed to feel fulfilled an happy. And, since that time, I’ve found it’s a daily struggle to find balance between the needs my family has of me, my role as a wife and mother, and my needs as a human being.
Moms often forget that if they are taking time out for themselves, and finding a balance, they will be happier, and so will their kids. Here are 10 things you can start practicing now that will help you strike a better balance between your job as a mom, and all the other parts of you that make you who you are.
Time Management. For me, this one is huge. I am so guilty of procrastinating tasks I don’t want to do (hello, mopping!) and end up wasting my time instead. Then I feel unaccomplished and guilty. Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, working on looking at how you manage your time can be life changing. It can also help get rid of the mommy guilt. Try setting aside a day for yourself, or even an hour. Don’t feel guilt if you have to say no to those around you. Know that you will be better because of it.
Create One on One Time With Each Kid. The other day my 4 year old was begging me to play a game with him. He whined for a really long time, and I found myself getting really frustrated because I just needed to finish about a million things first. He kept begging, so I finally gave in, and I was amazed at how much fun we had together and how quickly the mood shifted. He just needed a minute to reconnect with me (and so did I) then he played independently the rest of the day! Dedicate just a few minutes each day to each kid, and you’ll see it make a world of difference.
Give Yourself Screen Free Time. I’m guilty of managing everyone’s screen time in my house except my own. Carve out times every day to be screen free. Shut off your phone, and reconnect with the people you love most. You’ll find that you are happier knowing that you really engaged when it was important.
Date Nights. Whether it’s a date with your significant other, or your girlfriends, allow yourself kid free time out of the house. It’s a great reminder of who you are when you’re kids aren’t around. And, if you really want to go the extra mile, try not talking about your kids when you’re out!
Let Your Kids Plan Your Time Together. Last summer, I had my daughter make a bucket list of things she wanted to do with me when she was out of school. It was super easy to complete. It included things like, do art together, read a book together, etc. Your kids just want time with you, so let them plan your one on one time together. They will feel loved, and you’ll feel happy knowing you did something meaningful to them to connect.
Indulge in Guilty Pleasures. Whether you love running, reading, or taking naps, allow yourself those luxuries. The house work can wait, and my guess is you won’t regret that down time doing something that feels luxurious. As moms, we are pretty easy to please, and indulging in guilty pleasures is a great way to show yourself you matter, and you’ll feel recharged too!
Follow a Passion. This has been a huge part of my ability to feel peace and balance in my life the past few years. I found a passion I didn’t even know I had, and it has brought me a creative outlet that has helped me feel like myself when times are hard. Instead of feeling guilty for the time it might be away from your kids, look at it as a way to show your kids it’s important to follow their dreams.
Get a Babysitter. Whether you have an important deadline, or just want to repaint your bathroom, it’s OK to get a babysitter. Think about hiring a teenager to come over while you cook dinner one night a week to give yourself a break, or pay a kid to watch your kids while you do stuff around the house. It’s a great way to get uninterrupted time and feel more accomplished.
Meditate, Pray, or Read Something Inspiring. I don’t do this nearly as much as I should, but I’ve found that reconnecting with your spiritual side can help you feel more at peace. And, when you feel at peace, you’ll be able to show that calm side of yourself to your kids more easily.
Trust Yourself. What works for one family may not work for another which is why so much of finding balance in motherhood is trusting your gut when it comes to what you do for your own family. By doing that, you take away the worry and stress that comes with trying to keep up with what others are doing, or second guessing yourself. In the days of helicopter parenting, and over-scheduling our kids, we often forget that we are doing OK and our kids are going to be OK. We add a lot of fluff to our lives that doesn’t need to be there, and it’s OK if our kids watch too much TV one day so we can take time for ourselves. The saying is true that if you’re worried that you’re a bad mom, you probably aren’t. So let go of the mommy guilt and remind yourself it’s going to be alright.
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