I wrote this in response to the hoards of “Ten habits of happy moms” articles out there…
Come on. No mom is perma-grin, always happy, always patient, always together. No matter what their “habits” are, all moms have their psycho-mommy moments.
Some of my personal favorites are:
The “Oh-damn-I-just-made-my-kid-cry-over-spilled-milk-and-now-I-want-to-cry-with-him” moments:
The “Just-let-me-have-five-minutes-to-lock-myself-in-my-room-and-bury-my-face-in-a-pillow” moments:
And the “Seriously-contemplating-throwing-all-the-messy-things-in-a-pile-and-setting-fire-to -them” moments:
(Well, I am speaking for myself, but remember, I have a job which makes me privy to what really goes on behind closed doors in our minds and in our lives….So I can say with confidence, that it is not just me 🙂
What I am about to write is not the secret to moms becoming blissfully happy. It is, however, a guideline to help moms manage to “only slightly lose their shit every once in a while”:
1) Moms who rarely and only slightly lose their shit know that all moments are temporary. They sit through a car ride of screaming, insane, fighting kids, knowing that some-way, some-how, twenty minutes from now, everything will be calm. They look at the smiling, stinker-of-a toddler who decided to contaminate the pile of clean laundry with scoops of sticky peanut butter, and think, “By tonight, the laundry will be re-washed, and I won’t even be giving this moment a second thought.”
2) Moms who rarely and only slightly lose their shit anticipate problems, and are flexible to run interference when necessary. This type of mom might scrap plans to take baby out for dinner if nap time was spent climbing out of the crib instead of sleeping. This type of mom makes sure to pack the i-pad, ten different snack packs, a pacifier, and a stroller since she knows her toddler will never sit through his sibling’s Christmas program.
3) Moms who rarely and only slightly lose their shit have an attitude of deservedness and pride instead of an attitude of inferiority and guilt. This allows them to ask for help when it is needed, get a babysitter without feeling guilty when necessary, and participate in self-care activities such as exercise, socialization, and leisure.
4) Moms who rarely and only slightly lose their shit are intentional and proactive (instead of reactive and passive). These moms know what their needs are, and do something to meet these needs. They notice if they are becoming increasingly crabby, unfulfilled, lonely, etc. and they do something about it. This type of mom notices she needs more sleep, and asks her husband if he can get up with the baby; She notices that she is feeling lonely, and makes an effort to reach out to friends and ask her husband directly to text her a couple times during the work day; She notices that she is feeling sluggish and irritable, and makes it a point to walk once a day and eat healthier.
5) Moms who rarely and only slightly lose their shit surrender to the things they can’t control (#4 covers how they also change the things they can control). They don’t fight realities such as tantruming children, messy houses, noisy lives, and general chaos. They consciously chose to accept that these are realities instead of channeling their energy into trying to fight an unchangeable thing (a bad habit that only leads to anger and desperation.)
6) Moms who rarely and only slightly lose their shit strive for improvement with an attitude of acceptance. They are realistic and accepting of imperfection and limitations in themselves and in their children. At the same time, this type of mom makes a conscious effort to “do better next time” when she misses the mark. This type of mom is genuinely not hard on herself when she forgets to return the permission slip for her son’s preschool Bike-a-thon, but then she decides to make an organizational system so no necessary papers get thrown away. She is genuinely not hard on herself when she loses her patience with her kids, but she asks herself if there is something she could do differently to make it easier for her to manage frustration in the future. She genuinely does not think less of her children for their limitations, mistakes, and imperfections, but seeks to guide them toward growth and improvement without judgement.
7) Moms who rarely and only slightly lose their shit don’t take anything too seriously. Remember the story about the toddler smudging peanut butter all over the pile of clean laundry? Pretty funny, right? These types of moms are able to take a step back and genuinely laugh about the ridiculous that is sometimes motherhood. These moms are also able to step back and realize that things we believe are “crises” in the moment are really not that big of a deal. This type of mom reminds herself that the world is not going to end if her child is 45 minutes late for school one day because his little brother decided to send mommy on a detective hunt for her car keys. (Hint: They’re in the toilet almost every time; Hence another opportunity for humor.)
Just something to think about!