Thursday, October 28, 2010

Secrets of Happy Moms?

I have to say that I have learned a lot since I became a mother 5 1/2 years ago. One of the biggest things I have learned is not to sweat the small stuff! Life is way too short. I pick my battles, when something doesn't go as planned, I try not let it ruin my day. If Leila wants to wear her tutu and rain boots to Malakai's soccer game (which she did last weekend) whatever. Who is it hurting? It makes her happy and it isn't going against any moral parenting beliefs I have, so be it. If Josh forgets to tell me he has to work late, when I am expecting him to be somewhere with us that sucks! But, does anyone really benefit from me being so pissed about it I can't even enjoy an evening with my children, who are not stupid and will be totally effected by the fact I am in a bad mood. Am I still guilty of this...yes? However, I am aware of it now and do a much better job of putting myself in check.

I learned throughout the years, and I've said it many times before, that I (the mother) set the mood for the entire house. That's a lot of pressure for one person!! But it is so true...If I am unhappy, grouchy, annoyed, etc. so will the rest of my house. Now this doesn't mean I'm never allowed to feel like this, but I just make a more conscience effort of evaluating the reason that is making me feel this way and asking it really worth it?

I will be the first one to say that I am FAR from perfect....what is perfect when it comes to parenting anyway? I think one of the biggest steps I have taken is I have stopped comparing myself to others. Who cares! My social anxiety still has A LOT of work to be done on!! I have HORRIBLE OCD when it comes to things being done a certain way which constantly interferes with my parenting. What can I say, I'm a constant work in progress...

What sparked this? I came across an article written by about the secrets of happy moms that I would like to share with you below. She makes some great points!! It kind of annoys me how she uses the term "Smart Mom" but oh well :)

I've added a few of my own little comments along the way....

Have you ever noticed how some Moms seem to be very contented and confident in their role as Mothers, and others seem chronically stressed and approaching burnout? Why are some Moms unflappable and able to keep their sense of humor, while others overreact to the slightest stressors in their day?

I’m currently observing and interviewing these happy Moms as I conduct research for an upcoming book. While all Moms are different, these women usually have several of the following traits in common.

1) They keep it simple.

I know one Mom who grocery shops every two weeks and buys the exact same thing every time to prepare the same menu of 14 dinners. Why does she do this? She’s picked the family’s favorite meals for her menu to save herself time and arguments at the dinner table. Anyone with kids knows they like to eat the same things over and over! This Mom has decided not to reinvent the wheel twice a month. This is just one example of keeping it simple.

2) They teach their kids to be independent.

This doesn’t mean they leave them to their own devices all day. But a smart Mom knows that a 2 year old can put a dish in the dishwasher, a 4 year old can prepare his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a 7 year old can sweep a floor (albeit imperfectly!). Call it “outsourcing” for Moms.

Ummm, the thought of Malakai making his own sandwich gives me anxiety...definitely could work on this step...I totally have the thought of it is easier if I just do it....probably why he can't tie his shoes ;)

3) They drop the SuperMom complex.

Not sweating the small stuff seems to be a common trait of happy Moms. They learn to pick their battles. Getting buckled into a car seat? Not negotiable. Pink paisley pants with the orange plaid shirt? Fashion creativity.

Happy Moms also realize that being an awesome Mom doesn’t mean being a perfect Mom. ‘Nuff said.

4) They can often be overheard repeating the phrase “This too shall pass”.

It doesn’t mean that bothersome behavior in kids should be overlooked, for discipline is a huge time saver in the end. It means that Moms realize that children are…well, uncivilized creatures, and that much uncivilized behavior will simply go away on its own as the child matures. Smart Moms are also keenly aware of their child’s development and don’t expect more of them than they are able to give.

Doesn't really make a 2 year old temper tantrum in the middle of Target any more easier to get through...

5) Smart Moms take care of themselves.

They don’t blame the baby for their extra weight when the baby in question is potty trained! They put emphasis on good nutrition, avoiding too much by way of stimulants (caffeine, sugar), they get adequate rest, and daily exercise. They realize that you can’t pour from an empty bucket.

I least the caffeine part...and the adequate rest part...I guess I have the exercise going for me :)

6) They live in the moment.

Happy Moms realize that the days are long but the years short. It’s not that they are impervious to stress, it’s that they have learned to lower their expectations and be in the moment when things get difficult. When your toddler is puking all over the house, this is not the time to reorganize the hall closet. A sick day then turns into a time to create sweet memories of hours spent reading and cuddling on the couch.

Work in progress...

7) They don’t worry about what others think.

Whether it’s the disapproving glare from the old lady in the checkout line, the Mother in law who is convinced you’re starving the baby by breastfeeding, or the Pediatrician whose medical advice strays into parenting advice, happy Moms learn not to give too much weight to the opinions of those who don’t live in their home.

In other words, they trust their instincts.

Whether it’s taking the baby to bed with them so they can get more sleep or taking a bullied child out of public school, smart Moms know that they are the expert of their own babies.

9) Happy Moms have “something else”

It may be a part time home based business or a hobby like belly dancing. These Moms know that some day their babies will fly the coop, and they make sure they have a passion that will give them purpose when that happens.

I'm pretty good at this one...

So, I would LOVE to hear your opinions :)



Katie Thomson said...

LOVE this post. "Don't sweat the small stuff" is something I am definitely working on here also. So what if Rylee wants to wear her pajamas to her babysitter's house (why fight with her to put on clothes)....So what if we are out one night past the 7:00 bed time(she will catch up on sleep the next night).....If I get stressed and mad about things then she definitely knows and that just makes TWO cranky people in the house and that's NEVER good! :o)
I just need the constant "putting myself in check" part! Sometimes it's just all too easy to get frustrated, lose patience and get mad.

Melissa said...

I also love this post!! First of all, I don't think you give yourself enough credit, Karissa!! I think the hardest thing for me, especially as a new mom, is not listening to what other people think. Every one wants to give you advice but that advice doesn't necessarily work for every one. That's a good article! I'd like to think I do a pretty good job at most of those traits!