May 6, 2014
Being a mom is one of the most important jobs around, yet also one of the toughest and often most thankless. With job requirements of 24x7 availability, master multi-tasking, first aid skills, culinary abilities to make healthy meals with whatever ingredients are in the pantry, unlimited driving potential and the ability to drop everything at a moment’s notice to fix a broken toy, clogged toilet or tween’s emotional breakdown, it’s amazing how many women excel at this true labor of love.
“Motherhood is another full-time job,” says Brittany Hughes, massage therapist at Elements Glendale and mother of two kids ages 3 and 4. “I’ve realized that I’m never going to sleep again and raising your children takes a lot of work. But, my kids are awesome and I’m very happy.
"It can be hard to know as a parent if you’re doing the right thing because you’re learning as you go. But, as long as you always want the best for your kids, then that’s what matters most.”
In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend, it’s a good time to re-evaluate what you need from yourself and from others to master the task of being the best mom you can be. To ace the all-encompassing job of motherhood, it can be helpful to incorporate these simple, but effective, guiding principles into your lifestyle.
Keep it Consistent
Daily struggles like getting the kids ready for school and out the door on time, minimizing talking back or arguments over trivial subjects, or having your kids pick up after themselves can really wear down a mom over time. To help keep peace in the household while maintaining your sanity, it can be useful to establish consistent daily routines and responsibilities for everyone in the family.
Making responsibility charts or writing down your child’s routine can help everyone be on the same page on what is expected of them, as well as help your children visualize the order in which they need to complete tasks. It also can help moms and dads get on the same page in regard to responsibilities, disciplines and expectations.
When parents and kids both know what to expect, it can make daily struggles a lot easier to overcome without pulling out your hair or yelling at your kids and spouse.
“I think a lot of moms are exhausted because we work so much and try to do whatever we can for our kids,” says Hughes. “We end up giving our kids whatever they want to keep them quiet or to give us a break. The hardest thing about being a mom is not being your kids’ friend, but to be a parent. I see a lot of moms who give their kids whatever they want and they’re running all over the place. It’s not good for the kids or the parents. It’s better to be consistent with your kids, especially in the long run.”
Ask for Help and Accept It
It has always taken a village to raise a children. But in today’s day and age where many households have two working parents, the need for help has never been greater. However, the level of pride, especially for moms, getting in the way of accepting help has never been greater as well.
It takes letting go of your guilt, pride and maybe even a little stubbornness to not only let people know when you need some help, but to accept it when help is offered.
“My biggest struggle with being a mom is parenting my kids the best I can and the financial stress, too,” shares Hughes. “Right now, I work full-time six days a week to make ends meet. But I’m one of those people who feels awkward asking for help.
"Sometimes you have to get over your pride and just ask because you have to do whatever it takes for your kids. My biggest support has been my work and the people I work with at Elements.”
Put Yourself in a Time Out
Moms carry a heavy load of stress, responsibilities and obligations on their shoulders every day. To keep from getting overwhelmed, give yourself regular time outs to regroup, recharge and revitalize your mind and body. Whether it’s taking five minutes of quiet time in the bathroom, dropping your kids off at the kid’s gym while you work out or sitting in your car for a few minutes after dropping your kid off at practice, giving yourself even a little time each day will pay off big time when it comes to releasing stress and anxiety.
Don’t feel guilty about it either. Taking time out for yourself isn’t only good for you, but also for your kids. It teaches them to value personal health and well-being, while also giving them the opportunity to take direction from someone other than their mom if they’re in a childcare situation.
“Trying to find free time for myself is really difficult as a single mom,” shares Hughes. “But, I have found a way to go to the gym and I take my kids to the daycare there. This allows me to get an hour of ‘me time’ and they get to play with other kids. They love it and are always asking me to go to the gym.”
Have Fun with Your Kids
Kids grow up faster than you realize. If you don’t take the time to play with your kids and have some fun, then you’re missing out on making memories that will last a lifetime.
Play tag with your kids on the front lawn, build forts in the living room for a family sleepover night or lay on the floor laughing at each other’s jokes. Share special times like these with your kids and you’ll set the foundation for building strong, healthy relationships with your family
The bottom line is that when mom’s happy, everyone is happy. And, isn’t that what we’re all striving for – a happy, healthy lifestyle for everyone in our family?
If you’re a mother, take a moment this Mother’s Day and give yourself credit for a job well done. For kids and spouses, give mom extra attention this weekend and this month so she knows she’s loved and appreciated for everything she does for you and your family.
Happy Mother’s Day!