Three Things that Can Make You a Better Mom
Though we’re all probably doing a fine job of raising our kids, it seems we’re always looking for ways to improve ourselves, anyway. Here are some of the things that have helped me lately:
Get up earlier: I despise getting up early. My ideal schedule has me in bed at 3:00 in the morning and then I wake up happy at 11:00. The months I spent on that schedule were the only ones in my life when I remember feeling refreshed and alert after eight hours of sleep.
That’s not exactly reasonable as a mom (or, arguably, a functioning adult unless you’re in total control of your work schedule and no one else depends on you for getting them dressed or to/from places), so I’ve had to suck it up and go to bed a little earlier and wake up earlier, too.
For a while, I would wait until my daughter woke me up around 8:00. After all, if I went to bed at 1:00 or 2:00, surely I shouldn’t feel like a lazy bum for getting up at that time. Waking up then, though, meant I had to jump right into a list of demands.
I’ve found that I’m much more patient, even if I’m more sleep-deprived, if I get up an hour or two before she’s likely to wake up. That gives me time to listen to the quiet, sip some coffee, and set my intentions for the day. Before, I’d wake up in a near-panic trying to take care of everything at once.
Read something, anything, that isn’t a kids’ book: If you can’t take a real, kids-free (and maybe even spouse-free, depending on what you’d prefer) vacation, you can take one in your mind.
Whether it’s a trashy magazine you love or some educational non-fiction, grab yourself something intended for grown-ups to read and carve out a little bit of time during the week—maybe in that quiet morning time, maybe after everyone’s gone to bed–to fill your mind with something that isn’t the daily grind.
I’ve read in the car line and waiting outside of dance class, and even though I only had a few minutes here and there, it still felt restorative. If you can get a full hour or so to yourself, though, grab it.
Ignore the kids sometimes: Hand them to your spouse or a babysitter (or mommy’s helper if that’s all you can/want to afford and don’t mind sticking around the house) and just take some time to do whatever you want. If your kids are older but still act needy just so you’ll do things for them that they really should be doing themselves, ignore them (within reason).
My daughter likes to say she’s “starving” after a meal when there are snacks within her reach and she just wants me to get up and hand her something, or that she “needs help” cleaning her room when what she really wants is for me to do it for her.
Though it would be easier to jump up and hand her a banana or toss all her blocks in her bin for her, she needs to learn to do some things for herself. These won’t be the most relaxing moments of your life because you’re bound to be met with some whining, but it’ll pay off in the long run, hopefully. That’s what I keep telling myself.
Photo credit: Nathan O’Nions