Repost: "Happy Mom, Happy house" cliché yet such a vital truth...
"Fall in love with taking of yourself!!!"
I have always been very fond of kids. I grew up as the designated babysitter for everyone. Even at church the little kids loooooved me cause I was that cool, jumping up and down and singing songs with them. I do this even with my own kids now, when we play the house instantly turns to day care play hour, shouting at the top of our voices singing nursery rhymes and our own made up songs.
The difference between the then babysitter me and the Mom me is that when you babysit eventually the parents arrive and take their kids and you have all the time in the world to rest and DO YOU. But as a mother, after you are done playing, there’s lunch, dinner, nap time, laundry and everything in-between and while this is all fulfilling on good days, at times you do need some quiet time, alone, to rest and have your coffee while it's still hot for a change. Having battled with PND just after I had TJ I have come to really appreciate and value setting time apart for myself, to do things that make ME happy. This does not mean that I love them any less when I break away for a moment, it just means that I recognize that behind the mom and the wife and the everything to everyone there is me and she also needs my attention.
Time off does not have to be the whole day though it can be if need be. It can be just a couple of hours or an hour but it needs to be done. In my journey I have cultivated some basic habits that I try to stick to that make me a happy mom, i'm not perfect nor do I know it all but I try to stick to them..
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF – Whenever you’re feeling down or stressed out, particularly about your role as a mother, don’t go compare yourself to other moms or compare your family to other families that seem to have it all together. Comparison is a killer of creativity and a thief of joy. Remember that you are the best mom for your kids and they would not have asked for a better mom than you. This for me was a struggle in the beginning because of mom guilt. I felt guilty about everything, about having a full time nanny while other moms do everything on their own, not seeing the kids before they to bed when I work late, when the kids when not happy about something and threw tantrums, I mean everything. Fortunately through some soul searching I came to a place where I identified comparison as the source of unhappiness that it is and that is honestly when I took my power and happiness back. I remind myself all the time that the parts of people’s lives that we in see in passing or on social media is only a portion of it and honestly speaking we tend to put the nicer and happier parts of our lives on public platforms and therefore it would be very premature for anyone to compare their whole to a quarter. Also, as moms and as people we are different, some moms give birth naturally, some via C-section and some adopt etc. Some moms quickly get back in shape just weeks after giving birth and some moms take while to shed off the belly and weight and some never do, but none the less each one of us is a mom great to their child or children. It’s important to remind yourself as a mom and as a person generally that you are doing a wonderful job, some days are better than other but none the less your are overall doing great stuff so don’t compare yourself to anyone, not even to your old self.
DO GO SHOPPING! ALONE! – Yes babe! I love going shopping on my own. I love shopping for makeup on my own. When I do this I get to spend time looking for and inquiring about all the different products that I may have seen on my favorite YouTube channels. I get to try them out and see which one would work for me without rushing. I get to play dress up and makeup (this has always been a favorite of my mine from childhood) with no interruptions and by the time I go home I miss them and I can’t wait to see them and listen to what they were doing while I was gone and they have my full undivided attention.
DO DRESS UP – Look I don’t take for granted that running after kids is cardio, ok, it’s a real workout so I treasure my yoga pants, leggings and sports bras. But with that said, when I dress up, I mean from sexy lingerie, hair did, smelling good, then I feel good. I come alive, it does something for my mood. Whenever I feel like I’m getting exhausted or I feel down or emotionally drained I find that getting myself all dolled up boosts my esteem and makes me feel better. It does not have to be a full date night look, just a bit of effort, enough to influence me to think positive thoughts again.
BE GRATEFUL – I cannot stress this enough! Whenever I feel like something is not going right or maybe I’m anxious about something, I try to remember what God has blessed me with. It’s very easy sometimes to focus too much on what we want and what we don’t have and forget that what we do have and that what seems normal to us might be all that someone out there is praying for. So I have developed a habit of counting my blessings, my kids being right among the top in the list. My husband and I remind each other all the time when either one of us is feeling down to think about what we are grateful for in that moment and this helps in channeling your one’s thoughts towards positivity again. Having an attitude of gratitude may sound so cliché but it is a great remedy for stress and as well as in times of disappointments. You need to be deliberate in counting your blessings so that they can stay at the forefront of everything else.
GO OUT ON MOMMY DATES – Being a mom can definitely be a struggle at times. Going out and socializing with other moms that share in the struggles can be very helpful. You can actually talk about the kids, you feelings, confusions and discoveries all night without worrying about being too mommy-ish. They understand because they are in the same boat as you and some of them may have actually found the magic tricks to some of the things that you may be struggling with. You encourage one another which goes a long way. I personally find that when I help other moms by either just being an ear when they need to talk or by offering advice or taking care of their kids while they nap or go somewhere quickly, I also get Remember what you put out there is what will come back to you. So I encourage having a mom tribe, particularly with kids of a similar age as yours. It’s a great support in this journey of motherhood.
DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STAFF! – Whether it’s picking up the kids toys and packing them nicely in the toy corner, or losing that extra kilo you planned to lose this week, sometimes you just need to let it go. This also speaks to the internal order of things as well, let go of that argument and forgive that person even if they are not sorry yet, just prioritize reaching a psychological and emotional equilibrium, lose the fight to win the battle. That may be all you need to tick off the list today.
PLAN DATE NIGHT – I have heard so many people talk about how you should not stop dating when you get married and when you have kids. At first I didn’t get it, I thought “but why would you stop dating” “what will you do if you’re not going out on countless date nights or dates in with bae?” needless I say, I understood exactly what they meant when we had our daughter, she took up a lot of our attention, it was great, amazing actually! But it also meant now we needed to be intentional about dating! It’s important to plan time alone with your spouse/partner. When I feel like I need to break away, sometimes my me time includes my husband, we do impromptu dates and they to me are the best, there’s spontaneity that just rekindles our spark so well every time. And as a bonus to myself I plan it in such a way that it gives me time to do my hair, get a face beat and dress up. Sometimes it’s just a planned quiet night in together after I put the kids down, I sometimes even ask the nanny to put them down so that I can prepare. However way date night is set up it always leaves me highly energized and ready to pick up on my working mom duties again.
PRAYER & MEDITATION!! - Wow, they say save the best for last. This for me is the best thing that a mother can do for herself. To set time apart to offload everything and putting it all to God. Truth is a mother carries a lot on her shoulders. She carries a bit of everyone with her. Her mind is always decorated with the schedules, troubles, joys, allergies etc of everyone in the family. But, the question is, who is there to save the hero?! Your partner? Yes, maybe! but He cannot do what God can do for the mom. Crying to Him and Praising Him does wonders for the soul. The bible says 'Do not quench the spirit' meaning what is inside of you let it out, you need a moment, alone, not in the family prayer time, alone with God and the word to renew your strength & mind. This for me was a light bulb moment when i suffered depression because of the many things that were happening inside of me. I spoke to my husband and he poured his heart to help me but when I started to spend time alone and meditate on the word of God, that is when the fog started to clear and the weight started to authentically be lighter. It didn't magically, instantly happen but it did, day by day i gained my strength and perspective back. I started being creative again, I felt my strength and purpose meeting me at the deepest point of my needs and pain. This I can talk about though sun rises and and sunsets. I encourage you mom, try it, see if it wont do something for you!
I hope this encourages all of you mamas out there and always remember that you are just the perfect mom for your tribe and you are doing great!
Mommy-ing In The City!