It was about a year ago that I believe I was the worst version of myself. As a mother, as a person. I had just moved to this wonderful city of ours and was staying home alone with our two kids. In retrospect, the stress had gotten to me. I wasn’t being the best mother I could be. I was short with my temper. Had ridiculously high expectations of my kids.
I was too much down in the trenches dealing with everyday drudgery and wasn’t taking the time to stop and look around. My patience, ladies and gentlemen, had expired. It was gone. Kaput. Finito. I barely recognized myself anymore. I was raising two perfect little people imperfectly. If I was my boss, I would have fired me. But instead I gave myself another chance. I made a pact with myself to change. To be patient no matter how many times the milk got spilled. To view my children as the little beings of wonder that they actually were. To not raise my voice — no more shouting. Had I really become a shouter? Yup. I could do better, and I knew it. Here’s how I did it.
You know that moment when you discover your child has unravelled the entire roll of toilet paper? You have a choice. You can either get really upset, as this is the THIRD time this week he has done it, or you can pause. The pause is possible, but it takes practice. Try it. It’s worth it.
I’m serious when I say this, and I have no idea whether medical evidence backs it up, but I NEED endorphins every day in order to not only be a good mother but a good human being. Some people need coffee, others a chat with a friend. Me? I need 30 minutes of exercise a day, and I would venture to guess that this would benefit most people. Do yourself a favor and work out! Go for a good fast walk. Or do a workout at home if you can’t get to a gym. Either way, make it a priority.
Look at your children. REALLY look at them as if you’ve never seen them before. They are perfect. And they’re just trying to figure things out. You are their guide. It’s a heavy responsibility, but if you find yourself getting annoyed because once again your 3-year-old needs help putting on socks, just back off and realize that this stuff is hard when you’re 3. It’s your job as a parent to help them up.
A good friend with three kids under 5 told me the other day that she’s learned to take more. Don’t be a martyr. Ask for help. Demand time for yourself. Reading alone in a coffee shop, even if it’s just once a week, can do wonders for your mental health. Don’t feel guilty.
I am by no means super mom, but I can say I’ve adjusted my parenting, and my mothering has vastly improved. I am happy. My kids are happy. We’re making memories here, and I hope my kids can look back at their childhood and remember being loved and being happy. And that I was happy. Because that counts.