Growing up being a mom was something I looked forward to more than anything else. I couldn’t wait for the day to have kids of my own. When I had my first child there were days that were so beautiful that I knew being a mother was meant for me; then there were other days that seemed as if I had been thrust into the pits of hell and I couldn’t figure out what on Earth ever prompted me to have kids. I had one of those rough days last week where I was completely drained. I had a couple crazy days at work, my house was a mess, I had barely slept, B was whining over everything and I just broke down. I called Chris and was like I need you to take the kids – I need a couple hours to myself.
Even 15 years later I still have those pits of hell days. There was one day in particular last week where I just couldn’t pull it together no matter what I did. My house looked like a train wreck, I literally ordered take out all week long, and I was just over everything. On top of not being able to sleep because I was stressed out and overwhelmed, I finally cracked and had a complete break down in my husband’s arms. It was then I realized that I wasn’t taking care of myself like I should be.
I know I have written about the importance of self-care before. This is such an easy and important topic to write about, however, making sure you do it is a completely different beast.
Pre-kids I would always set time aside for me. Even with the first couple of kids I always made sure that I took time for myself. Whether it was going to get my hair done or getting a massage. However, since #3 and 4, it has been very difficult for me to always get the time I need to take care of myself.
We often don’t realize that by not taking care of ourselves, not only are we hurting us, we are hurting our family as well.
12 Ways To Increase Your Happiness & Become a Better Mother
- GET ENOUGH SLEEP – If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you need to do everything in your power to ensure you start. This whole notion of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is absolutely ridiculous. Lack of sleep contributes to a lot of issues, but most importantly overall it just isn’t good in the grand scheme of things. When I don’t get a full night sleep needless to say I my patience is short and my attitude is bad. Because of this I actively try and make sure I get as much sleep as possible. Granted I work between 6pm-Midnight, at the latest 1 am. And I will often sleep until 6 am. My kids will sleep until 8 am, so I can often sleep in longer if I have nothing to work on, but I like to get up before them and get in a bit of yoga and enjoy a cup of coffee.
- HAVE YOU TIME – You need time to yourself! I don’t always have the opportunity to get out during the day like I used to, so I have to get it in where I can fit it in. As previously mentioned that is before the kids wake up.
- DONT COMPARE YOURSELF – Social media has a way of making us feel inept or inadequate about our parenting. But the last thing we need to do is compare ourselves to other. As someone who has been in the blogging and social media game for a while, a lot of times these things are staged simply for social media. So just because a picture shows someone with a picture perfect home and Pinterest worthy cooking, that doesn’t mean they aren’t having a hard time.Remember social media is such a small glimpse of people’s lives!
- LEARN TO LAUGH – Parenting is tough, but instead of dwelling on how hard it is, learn to laugh. Even in the moments of chaos, a good laugh can make you feel better.
- GET READY FOR THE DAY – While it’s all good to wear the standard mom uniform (yoga pants and a tee), every now and then you want to actually want to get dressed. Do your hair and your makeup. It’s not about looking good for anyone, but getting dressed can instantly make you feel better. A good shower and a fresh look are all you need! Embrace the glow up!
- WAKE UP EARLY – Waking up early was probably one of the best things I have done for my well being. I absolutely need that time to myself before my kids get up. Being with them 24/7 literally is tough enough as it is, so I always make the extra effort to get in as much time to myself as possible.
- BE GRATEFUL – As with learning to laugh, it’s also important to be grateful for all the moments, both big and small, good and bad that occur.
- GET OUT OF THE HOUSE – I am really bad at sitting in the house for days on end (sometimes weeks) with out going anywhere. But it’s important for your sanity and your kids to make sure you get out of the house. You need and the kids both need a change of scenery. Even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood. You don’t have to drive somewhere, but it’s just important to make sure that you at least try to get out every few days.
- ENCOURAGE OTHER MOMS –It’s important for you to recognize you are not alone. If you have friends or family members who are young mothers connect with them and talk about what’s going on. Often times you will find that you are not the only one going through the pits of motherhood. It’s become so taboo that often times we hold it in, so that we can all pretend we have this picture perfect Pinterest-type life, not realizing that by not talking about it, we are doing ourselves and other mothers a disservice.
- LET IT GO – Don’t stress about being picture perfect. If something is a mess and you just aren’t feeling doing anything don’t stress getting it done. Whether it’s picking up the house, or finishing those emails for work, sometimes you just need to let it go. You don’t have to try and be super mom.
- DON’T FORGET YOUR SPOUSE – It’s important that the two of you continue to take time out for one another. Even if you can’t have regular date nights, try and have one outing at least twice a month. The rest of the time you can always have in-home date nights with one another.
- LISTEN TO THEM LAUGH – Embrace this time when they are little. Children grow up so quickly and before you know it they will be off to college. Have fun, get messy and laugh a lot!
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.