Being a mom is so hard! What are the essentials of doing it well?
Being a mom is so hard, let's be honest. It has become even more difficult with the addition of technology where Pinterest, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram have given everyone the impression that parenting can be a perfect process full of the best coordinated outfits, hair, and cupcakes decorated like adorable bunnies that turn don't out like a lump.
Yikes, I feel tired just thinking of all that!
The most common thing I hear as I provide counseling to moms is that the advice is conflicting, confusing, and overwhelming. It feels like one piece of candy could mess them up for life and the quickest way to go off the rails is for them to have too much screen time.
Now, I'm not saying that we don't and can't have convictions as moms, but the point is that we all get to have them and they can be different.
You may be asking, what are the essentials of parenting well?
Be a good enough parent. There is no perfect parent. Let me repeat there is no perfect parent. Let that go completely. Seriously! A good enough parent is one that attunes to their child and meets their needs most of the time. When you get it wrong (and you will), repair. Say sorry, learn and do it differently next time, whatever the case may be.
Meet your own needs too. You cannot help your children if you aren't taking care of yourself. I'm not just talking about chocolate and bubble baths (although those are nice). I mean daily habits that lead to health. Take a walk. Let someone else do bedtime sometimes. Drink water. Eat meals and snacks. When you are not meeting your needs and at the end of your rope you cannot meet the needs of your child.
Have a supportive community. This culture is fixated on being independent and doing it all...supermom to the rescue! Nope, nope, and nope. You need other people to help you and so do your children! Your children can and should learn from many different trusted adults. Lean on friends, family, and your community for support. You can't do it alone, really!
Let your children be bored sometimes. We think we always need to entertain our children with activities, screens, playdates, or games. All of those things can be lovely...but let them be bored sometimes! Boredom can enhance creativity, create interests, and teach children that you aren't a one woman band.
Take a break when you need to. It is okay to tap out. When your child is having their 5th meltdown of the day let someone else handle it, your nerves are probably frayed. Or, go to a different room and take a break. It is okay to take break and then come back together.
Get away from social media. The pressure to be a great mom is already there without constantly comparing yourself to other moms. Let go of social media sometimes...or altogether. Everyone is different and trying to be the same as someone else isn't going to work. Also, social media typically represents the best part of our days. The perfect hair before gum got stuck in it. Don't let it get you down!
Know that sometimes you're just surviving. Some days we thrive, some days we just survive. Both happen and are okay. Heck, you may have an entire season of survival. That is okay, just be a good enough parent.
Enjoy your children. This is tough to admit as a counselor, but I sometimes struggle with this. I get so focused on tasks and turning them into functional human beings that I forget to enjoy my children. Stay in the moment and listen to their hearts. Enjoy their personalities. You can't control the future, so stay present in the now.
You are human and imperfect...embrace it! When your child sees you embracing imperfection it gives them permission to do the same.
This all comes from one imperfect mom to another, you're reading from a work in progress over here! We're in this together!