Motherhood – it’s a strange thing isn’t it. One minute you are walking around with a big ball for a stomach, and then (not so suddenly), you are handed this tiny little baby. Right from that moment you feel like you are trying to catch up. There’s all this stuff that you feel as though you should just know, but you don’t, because how could you, you’ve never done this before.
It’s not always an easy thing to do. In fact, there are days that are just a downright struggle. They can make you want to curl up into the fetal position and cry. I promise you, I know how that feels, I’ve been there are one point. Along the way though, I picked up on a few things that helped me to really enjoy my role as a mother. While they might seem like such small things, they make a world of difference to your parenting joy.
This is the advice I have given to my friends when they have asked how I manage to enjoy motherhood.
IT’S ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE
I’ve always felt that a positive attitude leads to positive outcomes. Even on the darkest days of my life, (and I have had a few), I try to find something positive to focus on. You may not be able to control every situation in your life, but you can control how you react to them. When it comes to my role as a parent (notice I don’t call it a “job”), I like to view it as an absolute privilege.
I remind myself everyday that there are women out there who would do anything to realise their dreams of being a parent. There are many others, (myself included) who know the grief of losing a child. In my mind, motherhood is a precious gift not bestowed upon everyone. Knowing that helps me to keep bad moments / days in perspective.
HAVE FUN, BE SILLY
I know, you feel as though there is so much to get done. There are clothes to be washed, homework to help with, dinner to be cooked. Really, it can all wait for 5 minutes though, can’t it?
Your kids will only be children for a small period of time, it goes by faster than I can even make you understand. One day you will find yourself regretting those missed opportunities if you don’t grab hold of them.
My favourite memory from my childhood, is that of our mother dancing with us. She would pop on one of her 45″ records and we would dance around the living room with us to her 60’s music. It was so much fun. To this day, my mother will still dance around the house with her grand-kids, even if she is the biggest dork doing so. The kids love her for it, and so do I.
BE AWARE OF YOUR EMOTIONS
That may seem like a strange thing to say, but your children are in a very real way, mirrors to your emotions. You might have noticed that when you are angry, your kids seem to exhibit bad behaviour. When you are in a great mood, they generally are too.
The lesson I took from this realisation was to to be mindful of my moods. I personally struggled with anger issues when I was younger, so for me, I had to learn methods to control my temper. When I did, I could not believe how much of a difference that also made to my girl.
DON’T TRY TO BE SUPERWOMAN
You can do most things, but you cannot do everything. The dishes might have to wait until the evening, or you may not get the beds made every single day. It’s okay. It will get done at some point. Learn to accept that you are not perfect and you will be so much happier. No one expects you to “do it all”, and if they do, show them the front door.
I used to focus my energy on the rooms that people would actually see if we had visitors. As long as those rooms were tidy I was happy. Bedrooms have doors for a reason. Eggs on toast, or pancakes for dinner every now and then is not going to hurt anyone either.
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
You know this woman who is not only a great mother, but she also works a full-time job, has an immaculate house, a home cooked meal for her family every day of the week, and does it all looking like a supermodel. I promise you, comparing yourself to her will only cause you heartache. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but comparison is the thief of joy. Be your own kind of mother, your kids don’t need you to be like someone else, they love you AS YOU.
Does all of this mean there won’t be days when you are frustrated? Of course not. I do believe it makes those moments easier to deal with though. Maybe you have some tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.