Too often, moms neglect their own happiness and think that their sole source of joy has to come from their children. When you decide to have a child, being a mother does become your main role and most of your time is dedicated to being the best mom you can be...BUT you were someone before you became a mother and that person does not cease to exist after having children. She just gets a bit stifled and with a little help, she can resurface!
1. Find what makes you happy and do more of it - I could talk about self-care and how important it is and blah, blah, blah, but I find that not long after becoming moms, many women neglect self-care partly because they don’t have time but also because they don’t know what to do with their free time when they do get it anymore. Take some time to think about things that you miss from your pre-kid life, hobbies that you’ve always wanted to pick up or activities that you’ve always wanted to try and make it a goal to incorporate them into your life.
2. Put yourself first - Putting yourself and your needs first every now and again doesn’t make you a horrible person. It also doesn’t mean that you’ll neglect everyone that you love. It just means that occasionally you’ll decide to order food in and treat yourself to that mani/pedi that you’ve been putting off for years instead of cooking. Or that from time to time, you'll put off doing the laundry to go see that movie that you want to see.
3. Accept your reality over your fantasy - You know that idea of what you thought life with a family would be like before you had a kid? Ditch it! It’s probably completely unrealistic and influenced by things like TV, social media and selective portrayals of family life from people you know. Being in a relationship is complex and adding a child or multiple children to the equation makes having a family even more complex. If you talk to other moms and trade war stories, you’ll find that your reality is more of the norm than your hypothetical, fantasy life!
4. Don't sweat the small stuff - Control what you can but don't worry too much about the things that you can't. In your pre-baby life you may have felt as if you had it all together but throwing a baby into the mix has you all types of messed up. They're so unpredictable and you may literally feel like you're hanging on by a thread. One of the perks of being a mom is that you get to be a hot mess! Embrace it when there's nothing you can do otherwise.
5. Love your choices more - You're never going to get everything right, like ever so stop trying. Embrace your strengths, trust your instincts and believe in you and your choices more. Making decisions for your children that are different from ones that your mom, sister or friend would make isn't necessarily, wrong its just different. As long as you're doing what you believe to be in the best interest of your family, you are doing the right thing.
6. Lower your standards – Lowering your standards doesn’t mean that you’re completely letting go of your standards; it just means that you accept that nothing will ever be perfect and that you don't obsess with things being perfect. You accept that you are not a super mom but just a regular woman doing her best that is only capable of accomplishing so much in a day.
7. Embrace your successes – So often we’re more likely to beat ourselves up for what we didn’t accomplish than to celebrate what we did. If you have 10 things that you wanted to do in a day and you did 8, be proud of those 8 things that you managed to do rather than focusing on those 2 things that you didn’t.
8. Stop overthinking – If we used the time that we spend thinking or overthinking about doing things actually doing things, we’d get so much more done! Having a well-thought-out plan in place is great but all overthinking ever does is lead to inaction. The more you overthink, the more likely you are to read more into a situation than it really is and create hypothetical obstacles.
9. Live in the moment - From structured bedtimes and planned mealtimes to scheduled sex and coordinated daycare drop off, you may find you miss your past days where you got to throw caution to the wind. You will probably never get back the ability to be completely spontaneous but that doesn't mean that you can't occasionally toss the agenda for the day, live in the moment and let fate decide your plans for a part of the day or if you're feeling adventurous, the whole day!
10. Trying to please everyone – We spend too much time trying to please everyone else and it often leads to our unhappiness. We also end up tired and worn down from trying to bend every which way to make everyone happy. Start doing things more because you want to and not because you feel obligated to do so. Place the happiness of yourself and your immediate family first and those who truly care about your emotional and mental wellbeing will be happy as well.