Being a mom really is everything it’s cracked up to be. It’s amazing and changes a woman’s life in countless ways. Despite all the beauty of it, though, being a mom is incredibly hard. Here are 7 tips that will make life as a mom a little bit easier.
1. Resist the urge to go it alone.
Total self-sufficiency is the motherhood kiss of death. Raising kids is hard, exhausting work. If you’re co-parenting, make sure your partner is doing their fair share. If you’re a single mother, you need to have a network of support. Whether you’re a single mother or half of a parenting dream team, you need to say yes to offers for outside help and you need to specifically ask for help. Family members and friends are usually eager to help out. It takes a village, and if you try to go it alone, you’ll end up permanently exhausted and unhappy.
2. Forget about perfect.
Forget the dreams you had about motherhood. Forget the Pinterest boards full of amazing kid ideas. Forget the images of perfect lives you see from other moms on social media. Lots of days of being a mom will be perfect, full of that incomparable joy you felt the first time you held your baby. But plenty of days will also be hard and messy and not at all perfect. Throw the idea of perfect out the window and you’ll learn to appreciate the magic packed into all those messy days. Stop giving yourself a hard time for failing to live up to those Pinterest boards and celebrity mom Instagram posts. Those are staged glimpses at ideal moments. They’re occasionally achievable, but that’s only one little piece of the picture. Reality, in all its messy glory, is its own kind of perfection.
3. Every age is the best.
Don’t approach your kid’s childhood as groups of fun ages and ages to dread. Forget about the terrible twos and the terrible tweens. Even forget about the magic of babyhood or the delight of having school-age children. Every single age of a child is amazing and special in its own way. Every age is also hard in its own way. The cliche is true: it all goes by so fast. Find something to love and cherish about each age. Don’t miss the magic of right now because you’re living in the past or the future.
4. Remember that mom stuff can be cute and stylish.
Being a mom means owning and hauling around all kinds of things for your kids. Just because it’s for a practical purpose, though, doesn’t mean it has to be ugly! Choose products that fit your sense of style, products that make you smile, products that will make you the envy of all the other moms. Choose a cute diaper bag and you’ll be prepared to keep your baby clean and happy when you’re out and about, but you’ll also feel happy yourself for rocking some sweet baby swag. Shopping for kid stuff can have the same joy as shopping for shoes or handbags when you realize that kid stuff can be cute and fashionable.
5. Remember that being a mom is just one part of who you are.
Motherhood is amazing and can be all-consuming. It’s all too easy to let it completely take over your identity. Remember that there are other parts of you, too. You’re still a partner, child, sibling, career-woman, painter, yogi, churchgoer, sports fan, or whatever else makes you uniquely you. Be a mom, but not a mom to the exclusion of everything else. Take time for yourself. You’ll be happier, but as a bonus, your child will learn a pretty important lesson in seeing you do this.
6. Watch out for clutter. Having kids means having a lot of extra stuff.
A lot of it is vital and a lot of it is imbued with all kinds of special memories, but a lot of it is clutter. Get in the habit of clearing out what you don’t need regularly or you’ll eventually be looking at a mountain of crap. Go through your kid’s clothing and toy collection and find a new home (donate, give away, sell, trash) for anything you no longer need. Kid art is particularly hard to part with, but you will amass a lot of it very quickly. Save the most special pieces and scan all the rest. You’ll still be able to look back at that scribbled drawing from age 2 and that self-portrait from age 5, but you won’t have to dig through 10 overstuffed bins of artwork to find it. You might even implement a rule that for every new item that comes in the house, one must go out. New toy in, old toy out. Decluttering kid things can get trickier as your child gets older, but it’s another great teaching moment. Involve your kid in the decision-making process for what stays and what goes and it will be less traumatic.
Children are hilarious and parenting is full of hysterical moments. Don’t forget to laugh. Laugh often and take the time to record some of the funniest stories. Keep a journal where you write down all the cute things your kid says or does and mark the date. Whether handwritten or digital, this will be a favorite thing to look back on for many years to come. You will not regret doing this. You might think that you’ll remember all of these moments, but you won’t. Sure, you’ll remember many of them, but a lot of gold will slip through the cracks of your memory. As your kids get older, they’ll love it as well and you can belly laugh about it together. Of course, some of the stories you’ve recorded are sure to be embarrassing to your kids as they get older, but sometimes that makes it even more fun.
Disclaimer: This post was sent to me as a guest post and none of these words are that of my own.