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Being a mom is such a special gift. The joy of raising a tiny human into their own person and the amount of things you learn about yourself while being their mom is truly life changing. But, let’s be real, it a hard job! As much as I fantasize about the perfect day frolicking through the flowers while my son giggles and smiles, that’s not what everyday motherhood entails. Some days are messy. Some days are a disaster. Some days are just too hard. But we get through it and we make it work; it might not be a pretty picture everyday, but it’s a picture nonetheless.
I have officially completed my first year as a new mom (applause accepted)! Now as my son gets us deep into the toddler life, I know things are going to be MUCH more challenging as he learns to test his boundaries.
After having multiple conversations with my other mommy friends, I realized we are all in the same boat: survival mode. We are trying to make it to the next day, the next milestone, the next celebration while keeping it together for our families.
The joys of motherhood seem to be put on the back burner more often because we are faced with the judgement of others, criticisms from well-meaning family members, struggles of trying to be the “perfect” mom, and still having the same expectations of ourselves that we had when we were not moms (i.e. the bikini bodies).
This new year, I challenge myself and other moms to follow this list of 19 goals that I created. I feel as though this list could help put into perspective how important all moms are as an individual as well as part of the family unit. Moms, it’s time to take on 2019!
1. Be forgiving
I think that we need to be forgiving with ourselves and not put pressure on looking like those models or fantasizing about how we once looked. Be forgiving in the sense that right now, the lives you created are flourishing and it’s because of the sacrifices your body made to provide them with life. Be forgiving with yourself when you have a bad day and lose your temper easily with your little one(s). You’re not a bad mom for doing it; we’ve all been there! Forgive yourself when you think you have fallen short some days because tomorrow will be better.
2. Be patient
This goal is aimed at being patient towards your child(ren) as well as yourself. Kids will be kids and as they learn and grow, it’s important to establish a trusting bond that they can be themselves with you while still listening to your requests. Yes, they will test your limits and push buttons, but we love them anyways. Our patience shows them that we are willing to help them learn about the world around them. Be patient with yourself also as you learn to navigate this motherhood journey and get into the thick of all the developmental phases of newborn, toddler, adolescences, puberty, teenage years, and beyond.
3. Take that bath
You’ve had a long day, Mama. Enjoy that extra 20 or 30 minutes to yourself to soak it all up (literally)! A bath helps to relax, recharge, and unwind a bit. You deserve it and there’s no excuse that you can come up with in your mind that will make that statement untrue.
4. Dramatically enjoy that beverage of choice
So this can get a little sticky… I occasionally enjoy drinking an Angry Orchard. When I drink it, I enjoy it to its fullest and drink it dramatically. What I mean by dramatically is that I release a heavy sigh every few sips to symbolically release the stress/tension that’s been built up. It helps me to unwind and relax for a bit. So when you go to enjoy your choice of drink, whether it be alcohol, a soda, tea, coffee, or even water, enjoy it dramatically!
5. Scream into your pillow
We’ve already established that motherhood is not easy so on the days when you’re at your wits end and have exhausted all your patience, scream into that pillow! Let out your frustrations and maybe even cry a little if you need to. From experience, this has helped me to just get that negative energy out faster. No, it won’t change anything about your current state. But it will help you clear out some of that negative energy so that you have room to put in more energy for your child(ren).
6. Get your hair done
I went almost a year without getting my hair done. Prior to becoming a mom, I was getting my hair cut and shampooed every two to three months. It was a luxury I let myself have because it made me feel good about myself and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love having someone else shampoo their hair while getting a scalp massage?! I wanted that luxury back so now I want to make more of an effort to get my hair done more often and you should too! It doesn’t have to be anything expensive; just a simple shampooing and a trim does wonders for you and of course, your hair!
7. Get your nails done
Why not? Do you know how many times a day a mom is washing her hands or using cleaning products or just doing everyday things with her hands? Let’s just say, it’s endless! After all that you do, your cuticles are dried out, sometimes your nails are uneven, and the beds of your nails need to be refreshed. Make it a point to get a manicure every so often to take care of those loving hands.
8. Say “no” to plans when you really don’t feel up for it
We’ve all been there; after a long week of doing all the things, sometimes adding an extra thing to do is just out of the question. I love days where I can just wear my sweats around the house, tie up my hair, and just breathe a bit. When you don’t have the energy this time to make plans, then you owe it to yourself to cut yourself (and your family) a break! It’s okay to decline plans with others. Try to be honest about how you feel and then try again next week or even next month.
9. Splurge a little on yourself sometimes
We get caught up in everyone else’s needs that we often put our own needs last. Treat yourself every now and then with a little shopping for something that makes you feel wonderful! Or buy that book you’ve been wanting to read. Something small that makes a huge difference is often more rewarding and encouraging to keep you going strong!
10. Ask for help
This one is a hard one. As a mom, we want to do everything and we often want to do it ourselves. I’m not sure why we think we have anything to prove, but maybe we can get out of that mindset a bit this year. Ask for help! We know you can do all things. Heck, you’re a mom (more like Superwoman). But why should you beat yourself up about doing it by yourself? Asking for help doesn’t make you any less of a mom. It makes you human. A little bit of help can go a long way in sustaining our mental health.
Whatever your beliefs are, a bit of quiet time is good for the soul. You can use this time to meditate, pray, or just be alone with your thoughts. Sometimes having a meeting within yourself with no other distractions taking place can give you some peace.
12. Communicate your struggles
Along with asking for help, sometimes communicating your struggles with your partner/spouse, friend, or family member can help relieve the burden. If you say it out loud to someone else, you can often hear a solution from your own words or employ the other person for their advice (if you want it).
13. Get a massage/facial
This one might be controversial as some people don’t like being touched. Nevertheless, I felt it was worth mentioning. Massages or facials help to relieve pressure in our bodies and therefore make us feel better. Mommy bodies go through a lot each day so a massage is a good use for rejuvenation.
14. Have a regular friends’ day/night out
This one I recently found out was so good for me to do. I had brunch with two of my sorority sisters from my college days and they’ve been there for me for all the important things in life and just have been such great friends. I was so happy to just hangout with them for a couple hours and felt a bit of a recharge of my batteries. I think having a regular friends’ day or night helps us moms remember who we used to be and helps us let loose a bit.
15. Get in the pictures
Of course, we all want the glamour shots with our children with the hair perfect and the makeup on point. But what you’re child(ren) will look back on is the fact that you were present in their lives and see you doing things with them in the pictures. They don’t care what you looked like; they care that you were there. So get in those pictures no matter what and share those memories with them!
16. Don’t worry what other people think of your parenting style
Each child is different, each parent is different, therefore everyone’s parenting styles will be different. Don’t let other people’s opinions discourage you. You are your child’s mother and you know your child best. Parent your child the way you feel is best.
17. Do what works best for you and your family
Does the 7 P.M. bedtime work for you? Or does the 9 P.M. bedtime work better? Either way you choose, you should consider what works best for your family. Don’t try to fit the mold that society tries to push you into. Your family has their own needs and what works for one family doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for your family. You do what you think is best.
When it’s all said and done, just breathe. You are a strong woman working through motherhood and all the quirks that come with it. It is hard work and you’re often left wondering if you did the right thing with your child(ren). When you’re at your end, just breathe. That’s what gets us through to the next day (that and some caffeine)!
19. Be you
You are your child’s mom; don’t ever forget that they love you for who you are. You are their world so in the end when you’re questioning everything and trying to be everything for your kids, just remember to be you. That’s all they need in their lives.
I hope my list gives you inspiration for a wonderful 2019! Are there any tips I missed? What’s on your 2019 goal list? Share them with me in the comments below!