This article is also published in Holistic Parenting Magazine.
10. Wear Maxi Dresses
In the warm (sweltering – if you live in Texas) summer months, what better way to keep your style low key and effortlessly chic, with a flowy maxi dress. Both fashionable and stylish no leg shaving is required! The longer the better to cover un-manicured toes too. Not to mention when the self-tanning goes awry, call in your maxi dress for full coverage. For many mothers, myself included, showering is a lost art. Finding time to shave your legs is a luxury reserved only for date night. Enjoy my tip and worry no more; the maxi dress will cover up your secrets.
9. Listen to Audio Books
Whether you borrow books from the library, listen to podcasts or subscribe to Audible this is the best way to tidy-up the house at the end of the day. When all my kids are asleep, my home is left looking ransacked – the culprits, my children. Of course, we all know I should involve them in the clean up process, instilling responsibility, pride and leadership. However, sometimes (okay most days) it’s easier to just do it myself and avoid the arguments, relentless stalling and subpar results. Diving into the fictitious world of Liane Moriarty’s latest mystery, reveling in the real life suspense of Serial or feeling inspired by Sandberg’s “Lean In” rhetoric can enhance the relentless tidying, wiping, folding… and repeat.
8. Call Your Grandparents
There is nothing more grounding than catching up with your grandparents. If they are no longer with us call an older cousin, aunt or uncle. Touching base with your parents can be compounded with strings and baggage, but grandparents are there to smother and love. After talking to my grandparents I am invigorated by their wise anecdotes and encouraging words. I feel youthful and rejuvenated with a sense of where I came from, which helps me navigate where I’m going in my role as a mother.
7. Give In To Your Coffee Habit
If you’re working on a family financial budget, often one of the first suggestions for cutting back is to do away with coffee expenses. I beg to differ. My coffee habit is for the safety of my family and therefore supersedes any budgetary restrictions. Without coffee I can’t communicate, drive, let alone parent so therefore take my advice, drink up. It’s for your family’s safety.
6. Find Something You Love Outside of Motherhood and Pursue It
I recently became a Certified Bradley Method® of Natural Childbirth Educator and this has actually provided me with more energy. The buzz I get from coffee pales in comparison to the adrenaline rush I experience from teaching. This type of energy is deeply rooted in my soul, igniting a vitality that I thought I lost in the sea of sleepless nights and unyielding demands of motherhood.
5. Just Say Yes
When a friend offers to bring over dinner or your in-laws want to babysit, just say yes. If your spouse suggests you sleep in or offers to fold the laundry, let him and let go of control. It may not be done to your exact specifications but it can help innumerably. This is guaranteed to make you a happier and more patient mom, at least for a few hours.
4. Get to Know Your Neighbors
We live in the suburbs and really do have the ideal relationship with our neighbors. Whether I need to borrow an egg or I am in need of wine and girl talk, our neighbors are unfaltering. I lose my keys on a regular basis and the neighbors have saved us every time. Thank you to them for unlocking the spirit of community.
3. Stop Comparing
This applies when comparing mother-to-mother and child-to-child. But the more damaging of the two is when moms compare their children to other children. Every child is different and every child has their strengths. Of course, as parents we need to be aware of our child’s developmental milestones. But comparing their abilities like walking or talking to other kids their age is only creating an unhealthy competitive atmosphere. This can undervalue your child’s intrinsic strengths and emphasize what they have not yet learned as opposed to what abilities they already posses. It is beneficial to feel inspired by other children’s achievements and introduce new goals for your child, but we must value our children as individuals, each with their own agendas.
2. Lose Your Pride
Perhaps I am an over sharer and therefore I would benefit from some refinement, but not at the expense of losing my authenticity. It is essential to be honest with both yourself and others. What is the point of perpetuating a disingenuous life? Be real, faults and all. I remind myself often of the quote, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.
Spend 30 minutes a day doing something outdoors that gets your endorphins pumping. If running feels impossible start by walking, if walking is too high impact, swim. My 97-year-old grandfather exercises every day and if that isn’t enough of a testament I don’t know what is.