Let’s be real. Sometimes motherhood is just about surviving. I am no expert, but I consider myself a veteran with a toddler and an almost 1 year old. Everyday is a rollercoaster of emotions for me, but I wouldn’t trade any moment for the world. I made a list of some tips I thought I could have used when I became a new mom:
- Have an outlet– Everyone needs an outlet, kids or no kids. Every mom needs an outlet without their kids. My outlet is running, even if it’s downstairs on my treadmill for 30 minutes between getting out of work and picking the kids up at daycare. I have many outlets, but running is my go-to to shake off the anxiety or negative energy. When I run, I feel accomplished.
- Schedule time for yourself/Prioritize yourself–
Everyone needs to take care of themselves, whether it’s getting a massage, going to the gym, getting a pedicure, taking a bath, going grocery shopping alone, etc. SCHEDULE time for yourself to recharge. I usually try to schedule the big things in advance- like getting a massage, getting my hair done, ME time….but the little things like taking a jacuzzi or watching mindless TV happens when my babes go to bed. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to. I teach my students to “fill their buckets.” Do something nice for yourself every so often, fill your bucket =)
- Ask for help– Designate a babysitter. Grandparents are amazing, but they don’t want to babysit everyday and aren’t available all the time, rightfully so. Find a fun and reliable babysitter who you know and knows your kids. Thank you Erin! Thank God for Mimi and Nana for always helping around our house- folding laundry, washing dishes– when they are over here. It is SO helpful. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help!
- Join support groups– Facebook has some great groups (Mommywood, Moms Supporting Moms, Breastfeeding Mamas, CT Moms Club, etc). There are great blogs and Instagram profiles that are awesome to follow. Support groups in person are also great, but for me personally, they just don’t work because it involves more work to find someone for the kids, or then if I bring the kids, it’s harder to be involved in the group because I’m so worried about what they’re doing.
- Take tons of pictures and videos– And don’t feel bad about it. When you want to scream, when your kids do something for the first time, when you go places…take as many pictures and videos as you can. I LOVE Shutterfly for storing all photos. I take so many videos on my phone, but I never had a good place to store it. I just downloaded DropBox for storing all my videos and I love it. Videos are so important to me and I never want to lose them!
- Be Present– No matter how many dishes need to be washed or how busy you might seem, it can wait. The clothes don’t need to be folded right away. I am so OCD, that I feel like I have to get everything DONE before I enjoy time with my kids. I want the laundry to be done, the dishes loaded or unloaded in the dishwasher and the house clean before I lay down and play with the kids. Let’s be honest, it’s not realistic or then I would never spend time with the kids. Also, put the phone down. I am so guilty of constantly checking facebook and scrolling through Instagram while I am with my kids because I want to shut my brain off. I don’t want my kids growing up with the reality of a phone always being in our face. Pictures and videos, yes, social media no. We are so addicted ugh!
- Forgive yourself and your kids– There are going to be so many times you feel like a failure or that you’re mad at your kids. You will snap or feel like snapping and just know that you are entitled to feel that way. Accept those feelings and know this time will go by quickly. Someday we will look back and think that potty training and being up at night was the hardest thing, but compared to the teenage years, it was cake.
- Let it all go and just dance in the kitchen with your kids– Like I said before, the chores can wait. Blast on some dance music and just dance. These are the moments they will remember.
- Set goals- And smash them! I have always wanted to run a full marathon. I have 3 half marathons and every time my time has gotten faster. I ran my fastest half 6 months postpartum- and 2 kids later. Make that outlet/time for you part of that goal. When you set goals for yourself, you start to re-establish yourself a little more. It’s so easy to lose yourself in the chaos of motherhood that you tend to forget about yourself- AKA brushing your hair, personal hygiene, appearance, etc. When you set a goal and accomplish them, you start to
- Give your kids compliments ALL the time/Build their confidence– Along the same lines, don’t bash yourself. Everyday when I’m getting ready with Juliana, I tell her she’s beautiful and I’m beautiful. Every night before bed, I ask her who’s beautiful and she says, “Me and you, mama.” Even when my toddler is in the most terrible, cranky, and defiant spot in her day, I explain how I love how she is such a good big sister or she does puzzles so well. Even when they are tiny tiny babies, remind them how much you love them. Talk positive. I know it’s hard to do this all the time, but try so hard to be cognizant. I know when Howie and I have a dumb fight, I try so hard to be careful with my words because kids internalize everything.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, especially “the perfect moms”- Be the best mom YOU can be. Your kids are your kids, not anyone else’s. Social media paints a picture that all these moms have their shit together all the time, but truthfully, they only do sometimes. Every mom experiences the motherhood storm and we all need to stick together. Let those perfect moms with perfect hair, a perfect family, and a perfect Instagram be perfect. In reality, they probably aren’t and have had hot mess days. Embrace those hot mess days and stop comparing!