Photo by Kylie Turley
Ok, before you get all worked up about the title, let’s be really clear about something: you’re already a good mom. The fact that you’re even reading an article about how to be a better mom proves that you care. So you’re on the right track.
But no one is perfect. Goodness knows I’m not. I have a long way to go. But I’m still here and I keep trying. And clearly, so are you.
Every year I reflect on the advice I’ve gotten from others and how I’ve been doing on incorporating it into my own life. Some things I do really well, other things, not so much. My mom is one of my heroes. I go to her a lot for advice and guidance when it comes to my children and she always has these incredible nuggets of wisdom for me. I want to continually be a better and better mom for my kids. Here are some bite-sized pieces of wisdom that I’ve gleaned from my own mother (and others) that will help me be a better mom this year:
- Take care of yourself. There is nothing heroic about not taking care of you. And if you’re not taking care of yourself, how are you going to be able to fully take care of your kids?
- Kids are not little adults. They are kids. So let your kids be kids. When they make a mess, get really loud, say something silly and otherwise start driving you crazy, remember they’re just kids.
- Go with the flow. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if things don’t go along perfectly, the world won’t end. Just go with it.
- So you didn’t get the kitchen remodeled but you managed to organize the silverware drawer? Embrace the baby steps. Tomorrow you can tackle another small project.
- If your kids walk all over you, it could be because you’re not holding your own boundaries. If you want to stand your ground and insist on being treated with respect start with respecting yourself. Don’t put yourself down (especially not in front of the kids) and be an example of great self-respect.
- My kids love to hear about when I was little and I love to hear about my mom’s childhood. So, Tell your Story. Do it out loud or in a journal, but get the story out there for your kids.
- I used to say that my kids had a better social life than me. Not anymore. I made it a priority to have regular social time with other adults, girlfriends and professional connections and then I make sure that I protect that adult time.
- Not everything you do needs to be educational and constructive. Sometimes, you just want to have a dance party with your kids. So dance.
- Stop chasing work/life balance. It doesn’t exist. Seek out opportunities to demonstrate work/life harmony instead.
- I am guilty of getting so caught up in the busyness of life that I don’t really take the time to absorb what’s happening around me. It’s at those times I remember that I need to breathe, listen and appreciate.
- And just for good measure, remember to give yourself a break. No mom is perfect and those that claim to be are hiding their mistakes pretty diligently. Embrace the imperfections and know you’re on your way to becoming the mom that you’re supposed to be (not necessarily the mom that you think you should be).
Above all else, enjoy your children. They grow up so fast and before you know it they’re calling you to ask you advice about their own kids. I just hope that when my kids call me I can share even half the wisdom that my own mother has given me.