We’re busy. Almost all the time. And in the busy it’s easy to just keep moving and moving and racing and running and moving again and living out of breath. And then at night it’s much too common to miss seeing all of our awesome and fantastic things that we do as moms. So why these twelve habits? Because these habits can help alleviate that crazy busy frantic mom journey we’re on just a bit – maybe we’ll still have a tremendous amount to do – but our perspective can shift.
1. Limit the Negative Self Talk. I don’t measure up. I messed up. I’m not good enough. I’ll never get it done. Enough, sweet moms, enough. That negative talk becomes the target of who we are – think about the power when you switch those words to be I am enough, I did my best, I’ll get it done, I don’t need to compare to others. Listen to what you tell yourself and make an effort to replace fallacy with truth. I get really worn when I let myself think poorly of what I’ve done and I know the difference in mindset when I change it from the negative to the positive.
2. Take time for You. This. That’s part of our goal for the 2015 Happy Moms Project. There is no guilt in taking time for yourself. In fact, when you cultivate you you then become a better mom for your kids. One cannot fill another person’s tank if their own is empty. Replenish it. Find what you love. Watch a show. Go get coffee. You do not have to work 25 hours in a 24 hour day to be a great mom. Learn to take time for you. And this means giving yourself enough rest.
3. See what is right versus what is wrong. It is so easy to go to bed at night and to go through the day and see every single place where we didn’t do what we wanted. We can see the to-do lists half done and know that the kitchen still needs to be tidied. We’ll remember the times where we didn’t respond the way we wanted and then sometimes we can go through that list of angst items and beat ourselves up over it. Make it a goal to see what you did right first. Every day go to bed and if you see the problems think of two awesome things you did instead. And yes, making lunch, driving them to school, helping with homework, folding clothes, kissing them on their heads, letting them wear mismatch gloves (see pic below) — that all counts. Perfectionism is exhausting. Real is life.
4. Choose one Good Thing. This goes along with see what is right, but every day try to make it a habit to do one thing that makes you happy. One thing. Maybe it’s laughing with your kids. Getting Starbucks. Being grateful for the sunset. Gratitude is a powerful motivator and mind shifter. But here’s the deal with gratitude – it must be practiced practiced practiced. So share your list with others and choose joy in the midst of the busy. I know it can be hard when it feels like all we’re doing is sprinting in a marathon of motherhood. But trust me, that one thing can change your entire outlook.
5. Don’t hold onto regret. There are so many things that I’ve regretted. I regret not spending as much time with my olders when they were little. I regret the times when I never got to that book that I wanted to read to them. I regret that I lost perspective of the important and let the to-do list dictate at times. It’s just easy to hold onto regret and then let it cloud today. Let it go. The past is the past. We can learn from the past and plan for the future but we are really given the gift of today. Holding onto regret can be exhausting. Maybe you didn’t get your toddler in all the classes you wanted or you didn’t make those holiday cookies or you had to work extra hours – that is okay – it doesn’t define your awesome in today.
6. Find Community. For real. There are so many of you that email me saying that you feel alone. I hear you. Part of my dream this year is to create community here (and on the facebook page here -> findingjoyblog) but then to also begin to create local community groups of moms. Why? Because community matters. There is great beauty in linking arms with others especially when you know that you can be real. Let me tell you – you can be real here. This is a place of no judging, but rather support, encouragement, and belief in the tenacity of what we can do as moms. Community brings life and energy to our lives. If you don’t have community let’s work to build community.
7. Tell those you love I love you. This. Sure it may seem redundant or just like words, but I know the value behind those words. There is a reason I tell my boys have a great day at school today – I love you and am proud of you! every single morning as they tumble out of the Suburban when I drop them off. I want those I love to be reminded of it. Even though it may be just words those words form a bank account of deposits in the lives of those we love. Add good. Value. That matters tremendously during these busy motherhood days.
8. Eat with each other. I know, simple right? But it is an excellent habit for us busy moms. I know again that our schedules can be absolutely crazy. There are so many nights when I barely have time to get dinner on the table and we’re racing from here to there back to here and then I realize I forgot to go there. But time together around the table is beautiful and it matters. Make it a habit – or at least try to implement it several times a week. But, listen, there is also grace (And no guilt) as maybe the season of eating together is as you race to practice here ore there. It’s really about time. Not perfection.
9. Create Space in your Life. Whether it is space in the online busy social media world or if it is simply getting rid of clutter or it’s lessening your schedule – try to make it a habit to give yourself a buffer in life. Margin, that little bit of space around a paper and writing is a beautiful thing because it lets you breathe and see the text clearer. Think how awesome it is when you have a day where there is nothing on the calendar. I mean seriously, in my world that’s a dancing around in the kitchen extra cup of coffee and happy morning. If you can – schedule some of those this year just so you can chill and have a moment away from the busy.
10. Don’t Compete with Other Moms. Yep, this one. Perhaps it should say don’t compare your awesomeness with another mom’s awesomeness. Because let’s face it – there will always be another mom doing something better than us. And that is okay. Because there are some things that we do awesome too. When we compete we lose community. When we love each other for who we are and the gifts that we bring to the table then we are stronger. Let’s choose that.
11. Let go of Fear. For years and years and years I was afraid to speak my heart. I’d mutter things like I’m fine and it doesn’t matter and I don’t care and then I’d keep myself busy with things that didn’t really matter. Truthfully? I was afraid. I was fearful of people not liking me, loving me, or standing by me if I spoke my heart. Motherhood is full of fear moments. We can get fearful about every single decision out there and partially because there are no right answers to 98% of things out there. Vaccines versus no vaccines. Breast versus bottle. School options. Parenting choices. And on and on. Sitting in fear of making a wrong choice allows no choices to be made or worry to creep in. Make the best choice for your family. Let go of fear.
12. Laugh. Or work to be happy again. That’s my goal this year. It’s to find joy and be grateful but it’s also to find that happy part of me again even in the busy. How about you? Do you want those moments where you just feel content? I think that part of getting that back in our lives is letting ourselves have those moments of laughter. Deep laughter. That’s our habit now. Let’s laugh and dare to love life with the exuberance and joy that we see in our children.
Those are my twelve. If you have some to share I always love hearing your heart.
Love~thank you! So true!
i understand what you are saying here, however putting whether or not to vaccinate in the same category as “school options” and that there are “no right answers” is just dangerous. it has been scientifically proven that vaccines do not harm a child and that not vaccinating does harm, not just to your family, but society. please consider revising.
Really? You missed the entire point of this article. Save your opinions re vaccines for an article that the was actually written about that topic.
Get over yourself! How can you read this article and pick it apart like that? Negative and annoying! To vaccinate or not is a decision to be evaluated. I am not pro or anti vaccines. I AM PRO MAKING EDUCATED DECISIONS! And that would mean both sides.
That would entail understanding that vaccines can have very serious* side effects for some children, although rare- family history and immune issues need to be taken into account also. It is not just a black and white issue. Since you are pompously pro vaccinating you should learn some tact in communicating and people skills. I’m pretty sure this self righteous attitude rubs off and has negative effects with family/ friends/ etc. so work on it 🙂 life will be more balanced.
Many of my friends make vaccines- and each of them have a balanced view of the positive effects and the possible side effects.
some of my kids are fully vaccinated and some are not. My daughter almost died from getting a shot at age 3. Immunology and vaccination specialists at CHOP all said NOT to vaccinate and how I saved my child’s life by not vaccinating again ( as I felt pressure too) — every child is its own case. We all need to make educated decisions, not ones based out of fear or bc we are just going with the intense routine set.
I just eat this article for the first time and thought the exact same thing.
I needed this. Oh, how I needed this! The fear I feel turns into anxiety and then tears. I’m making a commitment to say to myself every morning that it will be a good day. And even if it turns out that it’s not, I’m going to look at the good of the day. Thank you for writing this.
Dear Rachel, Thank you for the positive energy you create in the world. I met you at the MN Bloggers Conference. My book, Laugh Yourself Happy: Kids Say Delightful Things, will be launched as an eBook on Tuesday, Dec. 23rd. You and your readers have delightful stories to tell. My intention with this book is to support families in getting the stories from the elders while they are still available. We think we cannot remember. This book, with its 170 one-liners and anecdotes will help “prime the pump.” Thanks for anything you might do to encourage your Moms to give themselves this gift of humor. Tuesday it is available on Amazon for $2.99. Buying it on Tuesday will help in my campaign to make it into the Top 100 in the books category. Thank you!
Read the article on my way back from work, really made my evening.I was in desperate need of an article like this.
Great reminders, especially during these busy seasons of life. Finding community is something I struggle with. Sometimes just thinking about getting my kids out of the house and loaded up in the car is enough to deter me from going places! It’s on my list for the new year though – finding a new playgroup.
I love how you made me feel less guilty. There will always be way more awesome people out there!
i think this was great- don’t revise anything! I don’t understand judgmental/ one sided views – you are correct in your opinion that it IS something to evaluate. As with all decisions in parenting. Just doing, without research and care -is not wise. You are doing a great job and I am all over your community goal!
I think I would add for me- creating boundaries and Xing out negative/ judgmental peers. Creating Boundaries changes every ripple effect in a day and in our lives and limiting time/ energy spent on negative people = results in freedom and learning to trust your inner voice and focus your energy where it truly is needed.
Great post! I am going to print a copy of #3 and #4 and put it on my nightstand 🙂 I agree community is key, my one piece of advise to all new mothers is to find/form a community.
This was a great article! It pointed out a few different things I need to work on. Mainly #2. I can’t remember the last time I made time for myself to just relax or do something that I enjoy. I have four boys and one on the way. My youngest is almost 2 and it is rare when he is not home with me. Once a week my mom takes him for an hour or so, but I usually end up getting caught up on my work (I work from home) or household chores. I guess I really need to find a happy median but I just haven’t been able to. Definitely something I plan on working on.