Many young women dream of a future that includes children. They picture sweet giggles, those first steps, hearing their baby say “mama,” dance lessons and sports practice, and an immeasurable amount of love and affection. But once those dreams become reality, the reality of being a mom isn’t always what we expect. Sure, we know there will be dirty diapers, bottles, and a lot less sleep. But, until you experience it for yourself you can’t relate and understand the way your life changes (no matter how many times your well-intentioned friends tell you).
The life of a mom can be so chaotic that we don’t realize we have lost ourselves. Days, weeks, and months go by before we realize the happiness we envisioned has turned into exhaustion, frustration, and in some cases depression. We are in a funk as we go through the same day to day tasks, we lose our patience repeating ourselves over and over again, and we are no longer happy.
I found myself in that exact situation and realized I needed to do something drastic to get my life back. My happiness now affects my kids and raising them is the most important responsibility I’ve ever had. I would not let my kids have a cranky, impatient, over-tired mom.
Over the past few years, I have worked hard on my personal development, finding my Why, and changing my mindset so I can be the happy mom I envisioned. Here are my ten tips that allowed me to find confidence, balance, fulfillment, and happiness as a mom and businesswomen:
1. Make Your Personal Development a Priority
Until a few years ago, I had never read a personal development book. I accepted things the way they were and didn’t consider that things could be different because it seemed too hard. When I stopped devoting my life to a job where someone else was getting rich, and I was working on someone else’s terms, a whole new world opened to me. I began reading A LOT. I opened my mind to things I once thought were silly. I started practicing affirmations and meditation and realized how fulfilling it was to continuously challenge my mind, push myself outside my comfort zone and see the world through a different lens.
Your self-development journey may start with changing or modifying your current job/career, or perhaps you need to find a babysitter so you can get a few hours to yourself each week. Could you work on a plan with your partner to help with the kids more, allowing you more personal time? Or can you and a friend take turns watching each other’s children once a week?
Start by finding your Why, picking out a motivational book to read, or perhaps finding a counselor or life coach to help you. Wherever your journey starts, start NOW.
2. Let the Cleaning Go
I’m not suggesting you let your house turn into a wasteland, but don’t worry if you haven’t dusted in two months or if your toilets are starting to get that ring around the bowl. Clean as you go, teach your children to help when they’re old enough and remember…someday, much sooner than you’d like, you won’t be cleaning up toys, crumbs, and paint stains. You won’t have to do laundry more than once a week because your kids will be living in their own house, doing their own laundry, and picking up spills from their own kids. Embrace the mess, wipe down your counters, give the carpets a quick vacuum, and if the toilets have to wait, so be it.
3. Ask for Help
Moms have a really hard time asking for help. We don’t want to admit we aren’t “Supermom” and can’t do it all, and we don’t want to inconvenience anyone. But here’s what I’ve discovered…other moms want to support each other. If they don’t, they aren’t your people. Other moms are happy to help you because they’re in your situation and they know you will return the favor. I am happy to take my friends kids for a few hours here and there, and most of the time it gives my kids someone else to entertain them other than me, so it’s a win-win. When I need a few hours to myself, my friends happily do the same for me!
It really does take a village so if you don’t have one, find one. Go to playgroups and meet mom friends, introduce yourself to the neighbor down the street, or get involved at your child’s school so you can meet other parents. If making friends and connecting with others moms is hard for you, then go back to #1. Start by making your personal development a priority, so you can feel comfortable connecting with others and asking for support.
4. Find Your Balance
Find your work/child/life balance. This is going to be different for everyone. Some people have to work every day. Others couldn’t imagine leaving their children and going to work. Some people want to work part-time, so they have a few extra days with their kids while still having a life away from kids. For me, my balance is working from home four mornings a week while the kids are at school, and spending the rest of my time with them. I find that I am a better mom when I have a few hours each day to focus on building my home business. It gives me a purpose and fulfillment outside of being a mom but still allows me to spend more time with kids and keep them as my top priority.
I realize you may be thinking “I can’t have my perfect balance because I have to work full-time even though I don’t want to,” and I get it. I have been in the same situation, and there are some situations where we have to sacrifice. I believe that everyone is capable of having the life they dream of, but it takes a lot of hard work and again, it starts with #1, personal development.
A dream without a plan is just a wish and a family without a plan is pure chaos. My husband and I use google calendar so we can see what is going on each day with our family. We talk about the upcoming week and make a plan for who needs to be where and how we can help each other out. We have routines to make our day to day lives easier. I know that he’s going to cook dinner and I’m going to help my daughter with her homework. I know that while I’m taking a shower he will get the kids breakfast and he knows that while he’s at work, I’m juggling everything at home. Children thrive on routine so make sure you have routines, plans, and most importantly COMMUNICATION in place.
6. Say No
Being a mom means you are pulled in a lot of different directions. You will be asked to coach your kid’s soccer team, volunteer for the PTA, bake for the school bake sale, bring your kids to a birthday party, the list goes on and on. Sometimes you have to say no…to your kids, to your partner, to your friends. I’m not suggesting you stop volunteering at school or helping your friends, but before you say “yes” stop and say “do I have time to commit to this or will this cause me stress?” Most people are going to understand if you say no. If they don’t, they’re not your people. Move on and let it go!
7. Have a Morning Routine
Mornings are tough. You have tiny humans to feed and dress. You have teeth to brush, bags to pack, and places to be. If you are running around the house like a wild woman each morning, STOP. Figure out a routine and stick to it. It may be challenging at first, but in the end, your life will be so much easier. I used to wake up when my kids woke up and I dreaded it every single day. Now, my morning routine includes waking up about an hour before my kids so I can start my day intentionally. If you’re not dealing with middle of the night wakings and really early risers, I highly suggest you wake up early and take some time for yourself. That time is my most productive hour of the day, and I value it so much more than that extra hour of sleep.
8. Make Time for Yourself Every Day
If you’re not taking time to take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your children. If you’re not happy and fulfilled, your kids are going to see it. Don’t worry about the dishes and stop to read a book. Take an hour and go to the library or the local coffee shop. Take a walk around the neighborhood by yourself or with another mom friend who needs a break. Reward yourself with some retail therapy and pick out a new pair of shoes. And get a pedicure while you’re at it! Make time to do something small for yourself every single day. I make it a point to read every day because it feeds my soul. If it’s nice outside, I tell my husband I’m going to take 15-20 minutes to go for a walk before dinner. I also make plans to meet up with friends for dinner every couple of months. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.
Need some help getting started? Check out the Life Well Designed Journal on Amazon. It’s a simple but effective plan to help get you started and hold yourself accountable.
9. Practice Gratitude
The best way to be happy is to see the good in everything around you. Start a gratitude journal and write down three things each day that you are thankful for. Try to see the good in even the worst situations. Write a note to a friend or leave a random card for your partner. Stop and enjoy the sound of birds chirping, the raindrops, or the wind blowing through the trees. The more you do this; the more your mindset will change.
10. Choose to be Happy
It’s as simple as that. You can choose to embrace the chaos or you can choose to be miserable, angry, and unhappy. You can choose to look at the glass half empty or half full. You choose how you react to the whining, the hitting, and talking back. You choose your life and your future. Choose HAPPY!
Where does it all start? Back at #1 – focus on your personal development and changing your mindset! You got this, Mom!
Looking for help getting started on your personal development journey, but not sure where to start? I would love to help you! Check out my free email challenge – Take Back Your Life