Is being a full-time mum making you feel drained? Exhausted? Lacking in confidence or even depressed? Even if you just need a little pick-me-up, we’ve found some valuable information to help you feel vibrant and happy again.
According to Meg Meeker, M.D, a paediatrician that’s spent more than 20 years practising pediatric and adolescent medicine, there are Ten Habits of Healthy Mothers:
If every mother could wrap their mind around their true value, they would wake up excited for the day instead of feeling like they’ve been hit by a truck. They’d talk differently to their kids, fret less about the things they haven’t done, and would find more happiness in each and every day.
Nearly 90% of mothers feel maternal guilt, which is largely put down to feelings of “not being good enough”. Sadly, 21% of mothers feel this way all or most of the time. Have you stopped to think why? If you’re constantly saying to yourself “I should be doing this”, ask yourself who’s telling you to do that and why.
Friends enrich every stage of your life, but friendships during motherhood are a life jacket that keeps your head above water. When you’re a mum, getting a meal on the table can be a big deal, as can going to bed with the dishes done. In a time when life revolves around housework and making it through the day without getting spit-up on your favourite shirt, your friends can remind you that you’re more than ‘just mum’.
Living with faith helps you to see the goodness in the world. It means having faith in others, faith in yourself, and faith that hard work will pay off. It doesn’t always have to mean religion – faith is merely confidence or trust in a particular system or situation. Value your parenting practices, be it the art of creativity, imagination and play, trust, discipline, family unity, inclusiveness, listening, humility, affection, gratitude or prayer. Have faith that your parenting practices will help you achieve your goal of raising kind, caring, smart and wonderful children.
Being a mother and hanging out with other mothers is not that different to high school. The judgements are still there, the sizing up of one another is still there, and unfiltered comments can still cause you to curl up in a ball and hide under the doona. Comparison is a very realistic part of motherhood.
The negative side of comparison can quickly trap you as a parent and the ‘er’ words – better, thinner, faster, prettier, calmer – can bring you down. But comparison doesn’t have to lead to jealousy and competition. Support each other’s successes can breathe life into your parenting as there is power in getting eyes off yourself. It is also just as healthy laughing at yourself, why not share disasters, you’ll realise that not everyone is perfect. You might even be able to offer or gain handy advice – build each other up.
The complicated business of money stems from the fact that we all have relationships with it. These relationships can be complicated and unhealthy, and the more power we give the relationship, the crazier we get.
Instead of money, place your security in real things. Open your fist and grab someone’s hand – real security comes from solid relationships. Instead of giving your son money to get the latest toy, take him out for a walk to the park instead. Contentment will never come if you continually look outward to the next thing you must have. It will come if you acknowledge the struggle in appreciating what’s in front of you.
As a general rule, the busier you are, the more likely you’ll benefit from alone time.
Science tells us that alone time is important. It increases empathy by helping you develop compassion. It increases productivity by allowing you to concentrate. It sparks creativity by giving your brain a chance to wander. It reduces your chance of depression by improving stress management. It teaches your children that alone time is important and it helps you get to know yourself away from the kitchen sink and washing machine. So get proactive and set aside at least five minutes every day in which you can truly be alone.
If you’re like most mothers, you will have a preconceived idea of how your child will grow and develop. Your painted picture will have them behaving a certain way, excelling at certain things, academically strong, socially confident, and physically fit. High expectations are good, but they are not to be confused with giving love.
Kids need to feel that love is given unconditionally. This can be hard to do, and for many, it’s even harder to receive. Give love in healthy ways and accept it in any form whenever it comes your way.
Being a mother means you probably say yes to things you shouldn’t. This can make you busy and stressed and will take you away from what’s truly important. Make a list of the five most important things in your life. This is your “simple living” list. It can be done daily or it can represent your entire parenting journey. If you get to the end of the day and nothing else but what’s on your list has been done – that’s okay! You’ve done what’s important to you and nothing else matters.
Fear wraps its ugly tentacles around even the greatest of mothers. It’s the number one hurdle to great parenting. Fear makes sense too, with an increase of pressure from media, society, family and friends.
Fear stops you from letting your children go and discover themselves. It stops you from saying no, for fear of not doing enough. It stops you from disciplining your child and taking charge, for fear of not being loved. It stops you from slowing down, for fear that you’ll fall behind. Let it go! Teach your children to be independent, to persevere, to cooperate and respect adults, to be mindful, to imagine and explore their world with you happy and supportive by their side.
Hope is the vehicle that will get you through even the darkest of days. Talent, skill, ability – it all helps to get you there, but it’s hope that will get you over the finish line.
Life is difficult, especially with young kids, and hope will help you overcome the inevitable twists and turns of life. Hope allows you to approach problems with a mindset that good will come. More than just a feel-good emotion, hope is conducive to growth and development and actively engages you in your motherhood journey.
Exploring these habits and changing your ways where you see fit can help you to feel better about parenting. In turn, this will help you be the mother you want to be. Motherhood is not meant to be easy, but be mindful of where it’s taking you and it will get easier.