Be a More Positive, Happy Mom for your Kids
Being a happy mom is harder than it sounds, isn’t it? Do you have a picture in your mind of the “perfect” mom? Or at least, what you would be like as the perfect mom? I know I do. And I really did before I had my baby.
Want to know how much of that picture I’ve lived up to since?
The reality of motherhood has radically altered my vision of “perfection.”
Because being a mom is hard. It takes every last bit of us…and then it demands more.
It requires things from us that we didn’t even know we could summon at a moment’s notice. But when baby is in need, we pull through…often times at the expense of our own sanity.
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I want to be real with you…
If I were living in my “perfect” mama world I would: have my newly 2-year-old on a precise sleep schedule, he’d very rarely watch t.v., his room would only have Montessori-style toys, I would home-make all of his organic and super-healthy food, he would have been potty trained by 18 months, and we’d have grace-filled discipline down to immediate obedience.
Our first year of sleep-training completely trampled us and ended in utter failure. Our second year consisted of short naps and frustration. T.V. has become a limited, but daily occurrence. My son’s room and play room are filled with loud, plastic toys. I only have time to home-make snacks occasionally, the rest come in a box from the store. We haven’t even really started potty-training. Annnd as of his 2nd birthday, he’s now starting to really develop the defiant “terrible-two’s” kind of misbehavior. Yay.
As you can see, I’m nowhere NEAR the perfect mark I planned for myself. But I’m also kind of glad.
There’s way too much joy to be had in motherhood to overwhelm ourselves with expectations of perfection.
I’m sooo not perfect. I don’t really want my kids to think I am, either.
So, here are my tips on being a more happy mom and how to trade perfection for sanity…and why it’s super important that we do.
Create a childhood, not a photo op
In the day of Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, it’s so hard not to attempt picture-perfect moments with our kids. From adorable monthly photo shoots in baby’s first year to super-creative DIY projects with our toddlers, we want to create images of what we think perfect life with our children would look like.
But that’s dumb.
When we really think about it, wouldn’t we rather create freedom and memories for our families than these mock-Photoshop lives? I want my babies to look back and remember getting messy and laughing loudly. I want them to remember color and liveliness and joy. These things come naturally. They come through spontaneity and flexibility. That kind of childhood is fostered by parents who are simply present and happy to just BE with their kids. Let’s do that. Forget what it looks like on camera.
Mom for your kids, not for other moms
On a daily basis, who are we “momming” for? Of course, we instantly think “for my kids!” But how much of what we do is based on how other mamas are doing things? Better yet, how much of what we do is based on how other moms may perceive our parenting?
I’m totally preaching to myself here.
I’m challenging myself (and you too if you’re a “challenge accepted” kind of gal) to filter all of my decisions through what’s really best for my particular kid and for me. In my 2 years of momming, I’ve found that very little of what I see other moms doing really works best for my son anyway. I’m choosing to do this mom thing for him and our family, not for the idea of how “she” might do it. I think that’s key in being a happy mom.
This is sort of the premise of my entire blog. Because I spent sooo long trying to fit into my ideal “perfect-mommy” mold, I want to help other mamas break free. The more I talk with other mamas, the more I’m convinced that NO ONE has it figured out. Even the seasoned mothers who I most respect have only arrived in their parenting groove through trial and error. And they’ll be the first to tell you they don’t feel like they have it all together at all.
Motherhood is a work in progress…just like we are.
So let’s not fake it. When it’s hard, call it. When you don’t know what to do, openly admit it and ask for help. If we are real and honest, I think a lot of the pressure will ease up. The truth is, only you are expecting perfection from yourself. Your husband, your friends, your in-laws…they just want to see a mama who loves her kids. And I suspect that if you’re reading this, you already have that down.
Stay sane, not perfect
This is so important. This is the BEST lesson I have learned as a new mom. It is sooo not worth it to go crazy all for the sake of achieving some “perfect mom” status. By that I mean the perfect image we have of ourselves in our minds. That’s not how to be a happy mom, that’s how to be a stressed-out, faking it mom.
Sure, I would LOVE to be a no-tv household…but you know what? My kid is super clingy and doesn’t sleep much during the day. He doesn’t like me to focus on much of anything other than him. So when I really need to get some work done…I turn on the T.V.
THERE…I said it. I still limit the amount that he watches and I control the content, but I’ve become ok with an hour of Super Why or Daniel Tiger once a day. It’s not worth me getting so overwhelmed that I get frustrated with him or breakdown at the end of the day.
Example B: Like I said, I buy my son’s snacks. I love to bake and cook and he loves to help me. When it’s feasible, we make muffins together or some peanut butter cereal bars and we love it. But for the most part, I order some dairy-free semi (but not always) healthy snacks from the store. My kid eats a TON and he’s growing a bit pickier than ever before. There’s just no way for me to stay on top of that. Maybe in another season of life, but when I’m working full-time on my blog, nannying most of the week, and in my third trimester with baby #2…nope. Not gonna happen.
I’ve grown to be ok with that. I have to be. The amount of stress and pressure and guilt that I felt before just wasn’t healthy for anybody…including my kid.
So…I give. I’m not the perfect mom. But I’m a happy mom. Most of the time! And I hope you can say the same, Mama. Go ahead and trade in that perfect mental image for some peace and sanity…we won’t judge. And you’ll be glad you did.