Welcome back! Last week, we talked about accepting yourself for the mom you are. Hopefully, you’ve been tracking your Momcomplishments and are starting to give yourself credit for all the ways you’re a great mom. This week, we’re sharing some ideas to help you free up some time and play to your strengths.
Have you ever wished you had more time in a day? We’ve all been there, some of us many times each week. Sadly, we only get 24 hours in a day and we are under constant pressure to fit it all in. When we can’t, which is often (because we’re human), we feel like failures.
We’re not going to tell you stop trying. Instead, we suggest that you embrace the idea that good enough is good enough. You don’t need to be perfect or put in heroic effort for everything you do.
You play a lot of roles in life – mom, wife/partner, coworker/employee/manager/CEO, daughter, sister, friend, classroom parent, neighbor, carpool driver – the list goes on and on. Let’s do some math. If you feel pressure to be fully present, involved, and putting in your all for each of these roles, how does that add up? Giving 100% to 100% of your roles 100% of the time equals exhaustion, resentment, anger, disappointment, and eventually, you falling apart.
Today, we’re talking about some areas where it’s 100% ok to give waaaaay less than 100%. Guess what? Some of those areas involve your kids. Shocking, we know. Here’s the thing, if you stay up all night baking 500 cupcakes and frosting them to Pinterest perfection for your child’s bake sale, what’s going to happen? Is your child going to sing your praises to anyone who will listen? Will this go down as the single greatest day of his life? Will the PTO hoist you on their shoulders and parade you around the school as their hero? HA! Yeah, right.
Here’s what really happens: You’ll start the next day sleep deprived, kicking yourself for staying up so late. Your child may notice the cupcakes and be really excited, which will make you feel great for about 10 seconds, until you look at the clock and realize you’re all running late. You’ll then start shouting at the kids to hurry up. You’ll race them to school, shove the cupcakes into the teacher’s hands and race to work. You’ll show up late, get yelled at by your boss, then feel guilty enough to stay late. By the time you get home, no one will be done with their homework, dinner will be late, and things will be in a state of chaos. And that sweet, sweet child you stayed up all night making cupcakes for will have a tantrum to end all tantrums. At that point, YOU. WILL. LOSE. IT. This will include lots of yelling, your kids going to bed upset, and you feeling resentful that nothing you do is ever appreciated while also feeling guilty for losing it, then telling yourself that you’re the worst mom ever. Yikes!
Now, hopefully it won’t be as bad as all that, but at least some of those elements probably sound familiar. So, were those 500 perfect cupcakes worth it? If you said yes, then you can stop reading here. We probably can’t help you. But, if you’re reading this and saying, “500 cupcakes?!! You’re out of your mind!” - keep reading because we’ve got something for you.
It’s time to start thinking about some life hacks. We’re not talking about slacking off and not caring. We’re talking about figuring out when good enough is good enough. Remember our equation? You can’t do everything to the best of your ability all the time. So, why not think of ways to save yourself time and energy and, more importantly, give yourself permission to stop being Superwoman.
Sticking with the 500 cupcakes example, there are some ways this task could be easier. First, does it have to be 500 cupcakes? Could it be 50? Also, do you have to bake them yourself or could you just pick some up from the supermarket or local bakery? If you’re having a particularly stressful week when the cupcakes are needed, do you have to bring anything, or can you just donate money? If you don’t have time to bake, but you can free up time in the morning, can you help with set-up? See where we’re going here? There are always alternatives.
It’s ok to find more efficient ways of doing things. This applies to parenting, but also to other areas of your life. If you need some help coming up with your own life hacks, check out our Do This, Not That Worksheet. Have fun with it and remember, it’s all about making your life easier so you can show up for the things are truly important to you.
Start looking for the easy way! You've got this!
Reach out and tell us about your life hacks by clicking the link or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Twenty-five years ago, Jon Kabat-Zinn first published his seminal book on mindfulness, Wherever You Go, There You Are. Today, we’re drawing inspiration from this idea and applying it to parenting. No matter what kind of mom you want to be in the future, it’s okay to start from wherever you are as a mom right now. There is value in what you already do as a mom.
Let’s back up and consider a situation that could seriously test this idea. You made it through the holidays relatively unscathed, your kids are back in school (hooray!), and life can settle back into its normal, albeit chaotic, rhythm. You’re feeling okay. You go on Pinterest for some school snack ideas and are overwhelmed by the artistic lunchtime creations and colorful lunchbox notes. And, you see what “picky eaters” apparently enjoy in their school lunches and are horrified that your kids won’t even try any of those foods. You share your concerns about your kids’ eating habits with your husband, who tries to help by telling you “don’t worry about it.”
When dinnertime rolls around the next evening, one of your kids refuses to even touch the food. You. Lose. It. That night, you close your eyes and cringe at how things went. You just wanted to add a little variety to your kids’ lunches. You had good intentions but now feel like an underachieving mom and you’re upset with yourself for the evening’s epic parent fail.
Sound familiar? Being a mom is not easy. Even when we have the best intentions, things don’t always go as planned. So, it’s important to go out of your way to tune in to the strengths you already have and be a little more forgiving of your weaknesses. No matter what kind of mom you are and what kind of mom you want to be, you already have some things going for you! It’s just hard to remember those things when you’re only focused on your mistakes.
Now, take a moment to think about your expectations about how a mom should talk, how a mom should behave or what a mom should do for her family. Our ideas about how moms should be come from our own experiences as kids, from our own personal ideals, from seeing how other moms speak and act, from TV and movies, and from things our significant others, children, parents, friends, and, yes, even strangers convey.
Some, but not all, expectations are explicit. While your kids have undoubtedly told you at some point that you’re mean (at least we assume they have), it’s less likely that they’ve told you that “good moms never raise their voices or use a harsh tone with their kids.” You may still have a belief that “good” moms never yell, so you get mad at yourself whenever you do.
As we emphasized last week, the new year isn’t about being a whole new you. There are a lot of things about you as a mom that you wouldn’t want to change and that your family and friends wouldn’t want you to change either. Maybe you’re good at walking away when your teenager is trying to pick a fight. Maybe you’re great at lightening the mood in tense moments. Maybe you love coloring with your kids. Maybe you can see when your husband really needs you to tag in. These are the kinds of strengths that you may already have as a mom. Check out our free printable, Self-Talk for Self-Acceptance, for quotes and affirmations that can help you remember to be kind to yourself.
Moms have an uncanny ability to identify even their tiniest flaws but this week, notice some of your parenting strengths. Notice something positive about yourself as a mom on a daily basis and notice what it feels like to see the good that’s already there. You can use our free printable, This Week’s Momcomplishments, to help you keep track of your parenting wins. If you find that you’re beating yourself up or having a strong reaction to something you’ve said or done (or something left unsaid or that you didn’t do), see if you can identify the “should” that’s under the surface. You don’t need to change negative thoughts or feel bad about the fact that you have them! Just start thinking about where your negative thoughts come from and why it’s so easy see your faults and so hard to give yourself the credit you deserve. We hope this week’s blog and free printables will help you develop a more accepting, balanced view of yourself.
You're amazing! You've got this!
Reach out and tell us how it goes by clicking the link or emailing us at email@example.com!
Click here for a printable version of this post.
Welcome to 2020! You’ve survived the holidays and now it’s time to dive right into the new year. There’s something about this time of year that feels fresh and full of hope. If you’re like most people, you’ve at least thought about (or been bombarded with ads about) New Year’s Resolutions. You know, those huge, sweeping changes you’re going to make in 2020 that, just by stating them, leave you feeling exhausted and inadequate. Sign me up, right? Um, no thanks.
How about we try something new this year? It’s not about making huge resolutions and then giving up by the end of the month. It’s about deciding what’s truly important to you and then taking small steps to make that happen. This is something Sarah and I work with our clients on all the time. Think about it this way, when we start off the new year by trying to make huge changes, we start off with disappointment in ourselves. Who needs that?
Yes, we would all love to wake up on January 1st ready to become the perfect version of ourselves that we’ve dreamed up (you know the one). But, sadly, that’s not how it works. You did not wake up on New Year’s Day a different person. You did not wake up with new thoughts, new habits and a new way of being in the world. If you’re lucky, you woke up with some determination to make some changes in your life. Now for the good news - that’s all you need.
Here’s the key thing to remember – starting small is necessary. Human beings are just not made to make changes all at once. The reason we make resolutions in the first place is that we are not already where we want to be. If it was going to happen overnight or just because we made a declaration, it would have already happened. I wish we had that magic, but we don’t.
This blog post is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Sarah and I decided to start a weekly blog so that we can connect with you and reach more people with the work we do. We made a beautiful plan and talked through all our ideas. It was wonderful! The birds were singing! The unicorns were dancing! It was going to be AMAZING!
Then, I sat down to write this first post. And I PANICKED! I started thinking about how this project is so important to us and so big and so BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, that I couldn’t write anything. I just sat and stared at that blank page.
Until I realized I was doing what we all do. I was thinking about the BIG, HUGE GOAL and it was way too overwhelming. After I stopped laughing at that bit of irony (and Sarah stopped laughing, since I had called her in a panic), I stopped, took a step back, and reminded myself that the small step was to write one blog post, not all the blog posts. I also made a commitment to myself and to you. I will take the same advice I’m giving you and take small steps to reach big goals. When my mind wants to focus on the huge goal, I will take a step back and remind myself that one step at a time is how we get everywhere.
Now it’s your turn. Think about your life and what is truly important to you. Look at each area of your life and choose 1 or 2 areas where you want to start making small changes. Don’t go for the massive overhaul right off the bat. In those 1 or 2 life domains, pick 1 or two 2 steps you can take that will get you closer to your goal. If you do that, you’ll make real and sustainable progress without the drama and guilt that comes along with those dreaded resolutions.
To help you out, Sarah and I came up with a handy guide to help you come up with your goals and the small steps you need to reach those goals.
Each week, you will hear from Sarah or Lisa on topics related to your needs as a busy mom. We will talk about everything from parenting values, to life hacks, to realistic self-care. (Dads are welcome to the party too!)