We all want to be that happy, chilled out mum who makes everything look easy, but being a mum is hard. And you know what? Even that happy, chilled out mum has days that just don’t work.
We all battle with the kids, go through tough times with our partner and we’re all too hard on ourselves. Nothing is ever easy.
Having kids means that every day is full to bursting, but life would be empty without them. The laughter and the hugs, the bedtime conversations, the morning chatter. These are the rhyme and reason of life.
To enjoy being a mum you need to focus on the good stuff, and not get weighed down by the not so good. It all starts with rejecting the idea of perfection, and accepting the fact that you’re never going to be totally in control.
Here’s 10 ways to just relax and enjoy the ride…
Lower your standards
Since becoming a parent, I have learnt to let the idea of perfection go. It’s impossible and not worth the stress. You can’t get everything right, or be everything to everyone. And that’s OK. Life isn’t about being perfect. Do what you can, and do it with love. That’s more than enough.
Pick your battles
Being a mum of four, the most important lesson I have learned is to not sweat the small stuff. Only nag about what is really important. Pick your battles with your kids. TRUST your kids. Enjoy your kids. Go with the flow and don’t take things too seriously.
As tempting as it is to stay up late trying to get things done or to just get some time to yourself, you’ll wear out faster the next day. Everything is that much harder when you are tired, and you’re much more likely to lose it. It’s not just the kids that get irritable and cranky when they are tired.
Have each other’s back
My older boys used to fight constantly and my partner and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on how to discipline them. The more they fought, the more issues we had. It’s important to lay some ground and work as a team. Trust me, it’ll avoid a lot of heartache and lower the level of household tension.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Toss the mum guilt in the bin. Not as easy as it sounds? You’re right, but make an effort to take it easy on yourself. You’re doing a great job, and guilt is very unproductive. Remember that if your family is healthy, everyone has a warm bed to sleep in and food in their tummies and a smile on their face, everything else is a bonus.
Buy yourself some me-time
Make sure that you find some time for yourself everyday, whether its an hour or only 10 minutes. As a mum you always seem to put everything else before ‘you’: your kids, your partner, your job, the housework… It’s very important to take care of yourself first if you are taking care of others. Taking time to recharge your batteries will make those everyday challenges far less challenging and will also make you a happier mum.
Stop, smile, and breathe
Take time out to 1) smile 2) breath-in 3) access situations and breath out. It’s surprising how calming it is and how much happier it can make you feel. This basic three-step process ensures you never lose focus on the bigger picture. And that you never lose it with the kids.
Let it go, let it go…
Accept that you can’t have everything under control all of the time. Everyone has a mind of his or her own. Everyone gets sick, spills their milk, wants to wear the jumper that’s in the wash, and only eat Vegemite toast for a week, so rather than fight it, let it go.
Don’t feel like you always have to have a tidy house. Enjoy the mess the kids create. Don’t clean up until the kids are in bed – it takes less time and at least it looks cleaner for longer before they destroy it again.
Enjoy the moment
Remember why you love having children. Take the time to have fun with them everyday. Appreciate the people that they are. Find magic in the moment. Choose to be happy. Break out the ice cream and plonk yourself on the floor with the kids. Don’t stress about stuff that in the whole scheme of things doesn’t matter. Kids don’t remember a clean house; they remember a happy, stress free childhood and being part of a family where there’s lots of laughing and fun.
And remember… They have to sleep sometime:
Take a breath, count to ten and remind yourself that eventually the kids will go to bed and then peace and quiet will follow. And how angelic they are when they’re asleep!
My kids are beautiful and unique. They drive me crazy sometimes and they know exactly how to push my buttons, but they also make me smile and feel loved. Once you put it all in perspective you can enjoy this motherhood thing, no matter what it throws at you.