Source: Magdelana-Smolnika / Unsplash
One of my stepdaughters is and was my role model for how to live and, more precisely, how to be a mother. She raised her children in a casual way: her parenting style is very humorous, but not perfect and the over-fulfilled forces that drive parents today. And she is happy. Whenever I ask her how she did it, she shrugs her shoulders. It’s like saying that she’s like all other mothers. But most mothers know that it isn’t.
Most of the time, motherhood is difficult – full of stress and extreme periods when you feel overwhelmed and exhausted. As I noted earlier, motherhood is “not what is commonly advertised”.
For my daughter, her sunny, seemingly relaxed approach can be traced back in part to her personality. However, it is more likely that she chose to be a parent. She takes great care to be engaged to her children without losing herself.
The challenges of a totally joyful motherhood
For too many mothers, the intense competition to raise star children makes parenting difficult by striving for perfection (or closeness), feeling pushed and pulled on so many fronts, and being responsible. Joy seems to be in short supply. In the midst of the chaos that changes with every age and stage a child enters, it’s very easy to get lost … and even easier to forget about your own needs.
Rebecca Eanes, founder of Positive-Parents.org, references many of the feelings and thoughts that plague mothers from time to time, if not constantly, as they discuss their lives. She realized that she was sacrificing her own happiness: “Feelings of guilt crept up next to me and whispered my doubts and shortcomings. Fear had become a constant and unruly companion. “She wasn’t happy and wondered,” Would I rather be a perfect mother or a happy one? “
Change your thinking
For many devoted mothers, the prospect of making time for self-sufficiency seems almost impossible. However, it is important that you put on your oxygen mask before helping young children, as recommended in aircraft safety videos. As you learn to focus more on yourself, you can change your attitudes, outlook, and how you deal with overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressful. The good news is that no matter how much you focus on the negative aspects of parenting in your life, how you see them, it is possible to restructure your thinking. In her book The Gift of a Happy Mother: Letting Go of Perfection and Hugging Everyday Joy, Eanes reminds us, “Our brains are changeable … we can rewire our brains to be more positive and optimistic.” In fact, they are changing the neural structure Of your brain. In this way, mothers can get out of a state of overwhelm and stress and stop indulging in our negative thoughts and actions. But how?
Eanes answers that question and gives readers concepts and tools to become a happier mom. This happiness is a gift – as the title of the book suggests – to both your children and yourself. Here are a few highlights to help you take care of yourself to move you in a more comfortable and sustainable direction. Some will surely work for you; Pick a few to try:
1. Change your exercise to suit. Can’t go to the gym or work through a full video program? Instead, settle for short workouts: stretch with your baby on the floor; jog on the spot; Throw in some jumping jacks when you have a few minutes. Short bursts of movement release endorphins, which reduce stress and stimulate happy feelings.
2. Find your own voice by reducing mental clutter. Simply put, don’t stay on the internet and social media for a day. See fewer or none of the friends draining your energy – whether it be by offering opinions that confuse or conflict with you, or by unwanted criticism.
3. Discover or invest some time in a creative outlet. Could be gardening or baking; Painting or knitting; Writing a story or lyrics about a situation that upset you; or throw out a few songs wholeheartedly. Try different pursuits until you find one that inspires you.
4th Clean up the clutter. Take a little time every day if you prefer clear spaces. Clean or organize a corner or drawer when interference is bothering you. You will feel happier.
5. Learn to say no. Nothing protects your borders or gives you more time for yourself and the people who matter most than generously using the word NO with friends, family, work colleagues, and even your children. Are you too much of a yes parent?
6th Giving up guilt. You yell at your child for no logical reason or let endless “ought” swirl around in your head. Go on. If you allow guilt to gnaw on you, you are undermining your happiness.
Source: Sai De Silva / Unsplash
7th Experience special little moments: your child’s hug, your partner’s kiss, the sun streaming through the window while your toddler plays quietly near you. In short, think of the common things that give you pleasure.
8th. Laugh. Be sure to use humor in what your children say and do. Tell jokes or watch comedy programs. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
9. Remember that perfection comes with a cost. Trying to achieve perfection as a parent will wear you down.
10. Remember that time is precious. The speed at which children grow up shocked parents. For many of us, we look back and see how much we missed because we focused on the wrong, often stressful, aspects of parenting – rather than taking care of ourselves and the bright spots, the quiet times of reading together enjoy a book. or take the time to just be together.
None of these take up inordinately of your time, and the ones you do make you a much happier mom – a way your kids will notice, appreciate, and likely take in. My stepdaughter’s children, now young adults, have followed their mother’s example. They too put their lives and their stumbling blocks in perspective and extract fun and joy. They focus more on being happy than on being made miserable by all of the “ought” that get in their way.
Copyright @ 2019 by Susan Newman