Every year I find myself making the same resolution…go to the gym. And every year I take that on for a few weeks before deciding that I don’t have enough time, there’s too much to do, I don’t have a babysitter, etc., etc., etc.
This year I decided that while I still should be working on the whole exercise/eating healthy thing, I needed to sit down and think a little about my mental health too and I compiled this list of things that I personally think every mom should try to do.
1. Stop feeling so guilty.
I don’t know about you, but almost every mom I know, myself included, is constantly asking themselves “am I making my kids happy enough?”, “do my kids have all the stuff they want?”, “am I doing what my kids/my husband/my partner/my parents/etc. want?”. Here’s the thing – we are one person with two hands and 24 hours in the day. If we are doing our best, with love and good intentions, then that is probably enough. It’s time to stop feeling guilty for things that are out of your control. Our kids love us because we love them unconditionally and would give them the moon if we could. This doesn’t mean that they need every toy/outfit/activity that they ask for. Respond with your heart and they will be okay.
(The same goes for your husband – no hot meal on the table every night does not mean you don’t love them! Are you reading this, honey?)
2. Stop worrying so much.
This is me. I am a constant worrier. I want my kids wrapped in bubble wrap and in my arms at all times. I don’t want them to scrape their knees, or have hurt feelings, or be exposed to the very sick and cruel things that are unfortunately happening all around them. However, this is all part of growing up, and again, it is impossible to control everything. Kids will fall, but they will get back up again. They will be teased, probably do some teasing themselves, and they will grow up seeing and hearing things we wish they would never have to. But it’s okay. My kids know how much I love them and I do everything in my power to raise them in a safe and happy environment while preparing them for their lives as little people. There isn’t much else I can do, and I need to remind myself often that they are strong, smart little things and that they will be just fine.
3. Sleep a little more.
I know what you are thinking. Yeah, right. Here’s the thing – it is so important for both your physical and your mental health that you give your body time to rest. I know it may be impossible to nap, but if your little one(s) do, tell yourself that is okay to join them. Did you know that sleeping with your child is not only an extremely effective way to bond, but there are new studies that say it’s actually good for child’s health?! It’s true! So cuddle up! (Of course safety is the number one concern, so only do this if it is in a way that presents no dangers to your little one!) And if you can’t nap because your kids don’t or you work, then allow yourself to leave the chores for the weekend, or only do 1 load of laundry a night instead of 3, and go to bed early! Turn off the TV, get off the Internet, and power off your phone. Enjoy the silence, decompress, and get some rest!
This leads me to my next resolution…
4. Ignore the mess!
I have a cousin-in-law who I love dearly and who I admire so much as a mom and a women, and she has a sign in her home that says “Please excuse the mess, my children are making memories.”. I LOVE it! I’m not so sure my husband understands but I am not going to chase my kids around the house cleaning up everything they take out. I love watching them use the couch cushions to make forts, and when they
dump all the blocks and start building cities I want to cheer! These are budding imaginations at work! These children are our future and I want them to think outside of the box. I also want them to remember Mommy sitting on the floor doing puzzles with them, or making
art projects, or cuddling and watching a movie, not just Mommy doing dishes or vacuuming or on the computer. I know this stuff has to get done, but not all at once and not all the time. Who cares if the sink is full or the laundry basket is overflowing. Let it go for an extra day and just enjoy! Or, get your kids involved! My son loves to help put the laundry away, or dry the dishes, sit next to me with his little computer
and “work” while I do. And honestly, the toy bin will be dumped first thing tomorrow morning anyway. It’s okay if you forget to fill it back up
And last, but certainly not least…
5. Allow yourself some “me” time.
Anytime that I get invited to go out for dinner with a friend, or work an event that is out of town, or even take a few hours to shop with my girls, my first instinct is to say “I can’t.”. But why?? Well, because I feel guilty that I won’t be there to tuck my kids in to bed (see #1), and I worry that they will be sad or will get a booboo, or won’t be able to find their lovey and I won’t be there to help (see #2), or that the dishes won’t get done, the laundry won’t get folded, or the bathroom won’t get cleaned (see #4). But I need to let it go. Talking with my friends and having some adult time is so incredibly therapeutic for me! They get it! They have kids, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, jobs, families, and
homes, and they understand. It’s important to know that you aren’t alone in your stress, and that there are ways to deal with everything going on in your life while still enjoying it and having fun! Take time to go get a manicure and listen to the silence. Let someone pamper you! Go to the grocery store and take the long way home so you can blast your favorite music! (Heck, circle the block a few times!!). Go out to dinner, indulge yourself, and then go home, kiss your family, tell them you love them.
These are my new rules this year. You know what they say “Happy wife, happy life. Happy mom, happy home.” .