Motherhood isn't necessarily something that comes easily to every mom just because they managed to pop a baby out. It is a huge adjustment on quite a steep learning curve to say the least. I am a mom in just about every way you can be a mom... step-mom, birth mom, adoptive mom... to a gaggle of kids ranging in age from 2-29. And guess what... I still can't seem to figure it all out. What I have figured out is that there are a few things that help me get through my days in one piece...
- Laugh. They say laughter is the best medicine so... Laugh at yourself. Laugh at your partner when you really just want to punch them in the throat. Laugh at the annoying things your kids do day after day. Laugh at the ridiculous things people say to you...preferably in their faces. Laugh even if it's just to keep you from crying.
- Know your limits. We all have our limits, some more than others. The important thing is that you know your own limits, communicate them and honor them because we all know what happens when we have gone past the limit and it's not pretty.
- Don't punish yourself. Parenting is hard and you are guaranteed to get it wrong more than once in your kid's lifetimes and maybe even several times a day. It happens. Acknowledge it, let it go and move on. I promise your kids will give you your far share of torture.
- Make time for you. I know it's easier said than done and it sounds cliche but it's a necessity and even every once in a while is better than never. You have to make the time to give yourself the space and peace you need to fill your own tank because you can't give what you don't have.
- Ask for help. Parenting can be overwhelming and even the most seasoned moms need help. When you don't ask for help those around you assume you have it all under control. Then you end up pissed and muttering under your breathe while you do it all and that's no good for anyone.
- Don't compare yourself to others. Nobody else has your kids or lives your life. And lord knows nobody is sharing the full truth on Facebook or Instagram. Everyone puts on their best face in public and there is no way to know if the mom at school pickup yells as much as you or if your neighbor serves her kids cereal for dinner too. And yes they probably do.
- Make friends. It's hard to find mom friends but there is nothing like having friends that just get it. They won't hate you for canceling last minute because your toddler suddenly got a fever or blame you if you just don't have the energy for girl's night out. And having someone to call when you have locked yourself in the closet and are 2 seconds from losing it is a god-send. Besides, you also need someone to help give you a good dose of laughter on a regular basis.
- Honor the sexy part of you. You may spend half your days wiping snotty noses and dirty butts, breaking up ridiculous fights and cleaning messes you have yet to identify but you still deserve to feel like one hot mamma. And even though you have more stretch marks, saggier boobs and the number on the scale mocks you, that doesn't mean your sexy is gone. So take a long hot bath, buy yourself something nice and sexy or get that haircut you have been putting off. You deserve it.
- Use the word no and mean it. No, I can't join the PTA. No, I can't volunteer as a room parent. No, I will not go pick up the homework you forgot. No, I cannot stay after work for a 5pm meeting... I know it doesn't always feel good but it is necessary if you want to maintain some level of sanity.
- Don't apologize for not being able to do it all. I have said it before and I will say it again...Moms are super but not super human. Sometimes the laundry won't get done, sometimes dinner is cereal and sometimes you just need a mental health day. It is impossible to do it all, all the time and none of us should be apologizing for that.
I don't claim to have mastered this list at all. Some of it I am great at and some I have to remind myself of daily. We are all works in progress trying our best...sometimes nailing it and sometimes falling flat on our faces. But we have to keep on going because we are moms and motherhood doesn't slow down for any of us. So, you may be half crazy and permanently exhausted but just keep telling yourself... I Will Survive!