As a mom, every day is a new chance to make changes that will help you and your family have a more positive life, bringing more peace and laughter to your home. Here are four things to work on that will make you feel better about yourself and how you relate to your children.
1. Take time to rest
Children – even babies – see themselves through your words and actions. The tone of your voice, your expressions, and your body language affect your kids and how they see themselves. If you are not taking time for yourself, you will be understandably more stressed out and unprepared for the day-to-day struggles that happen in life and parenting.
While I understand that it is difficult to get enough sleep with very young children, the importance of sleep is well documented. Sleep is when your brain detoxes and recharges your system. The more sleep you can get, the better your health will be. You’ll also be happier, and your decision-making skills will improve. As parents, we need all of these things to be the best we can be.
Take steps to wake up slowly. Take 30 minutes for yourself to take a shower, meditate, exercise or do whatever you need to prepare for the day. You will be amazed how it gives you perspective and prepares you for whatever your kids throw at you.
2. Make time for yourself
You need creative outlets and people who will listen to you vent about your day, just like your kids do.
Set aside some down time, especially when you are having a busy or stressful day. Just a few minutes on the phone with a good friend is imperative to your mental health. Keep a journal if that’s your thing. It does not have to be a flowery, beautifully written future novel. It can be a bullet-form list of items that are bothering you, people you met, things you loved, or fantastic things your children did.
Escape or create, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Read an excellent fiction story to escape to another world. Listen to a podcast, do yoga or choose another outlet that has the same effect. The bottom line is this: make time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. You need to get what you need to be fully there for your children.
Finally, spend time with your family, free of work and thoughts of work. Do not make this a time to discipline or lecture children on behavior; this is time to be together doing what you enjoy. Create a
designated, sacred time for your family to be together, and stick to it.
3. Choose your words carefully
Avoid using words as weapons. “That was a stupid thing to do” or “Why aren’t you more like your sister” are statements that can damage a child’s psyche. And that damage is hard to undo. Keep in mind that the words you use will resonate in their brains and be hard to reverse, whether they are beneficial or detrimental.
Praise their accomplishments, no matter how small, and help them feel pride in a job well done. When they do things that are not quite excellent, compassion is essential. Let them know that everyone makes mistakes and life is about learning, and that you love them no matter what.
4. Catch them being good
Sometimes, it’s hard to find outstanding achievements in the day-to-day. But think about how you would feel if your boss treated you with negative guidance, even out of care for your future. The more things you can find to recognize, the more your children will see that a right choice results in positive feedback, and the harder they will work to achieve that.
Establish boundaries and discuss them as a family. In some cases, work with your children to create rules and consequences. This will make them feel like a part of the process, and it’ll assist them as they grow and mature.
Finally, be generous with your hugs, love, and compliments. Make communication a priority and listen respectfully to their points of view, even if you do not agree. Parents who take the time to reason with their children help them understand and learn about life and the choices people make. They will learn to judge the action and not the person.
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