So, one of the things I have been thinking about recently is the importance of knowing what makes you a better mom. I often think about this when I am talking to my mom friends who are feeling worn out or like they aren't getting everything done that they want to. I often wonder how are you taking care of yourself? Are you doing what makes you a better mom?
I think that we as mom's tend to struggle with this for two reasons. One is that we are often so focused on taking care of everyone else's needs that we forget about ourselves. Or maybe, in reality, it is that we just run out of time to take care of ourselves because we don't make ourselves a priority. I often have this conversation with people I work with. There is a lot of guilt associated with taking care of oneself because so many others need us. However, if we don't fill into our own lives how are we going to have anything left to give to those we love? We must take care of ourselves first so that we can, in turn, take care of them.
Another reason I think that we are bad about this is that we buy into all the shoulds of motherhood. By that I mean there is always someone to tell us how we should do it. We should be at home, we should nurse our babies, we should feed our children only organic foods, we should... I find that we are especially susceptible to this in the church community. I am not sure why this is. But, the fact is, nowhere in the Bible does it say I have to be a stay at home mom to be a good mom. And the reality is what works well for me is not necessarily what works well for you.
That being said, if we are going to take care of ourselves and if we are going do what works well for us as moms we have to know what makes us a better mom. We have to think about it and be intentional about implementing it. Some times it may be trial and error, but working on taking care of yourself is important.
So, here are some of the things that I have realized make me a better mom:
-Working part time. I love being at home with the monkey, but I also love my career. But, more importantly than that, I need something that is mine, and I need time away from the monkey so I can better appreciate the time I have with her when I am home.
-Waking up a half hour before the baby. I used to sleep until the baby's cries woke me up. I tend to need more sleep than the average person and thought it was great that my schedule allowed me to sleep in. However, I soon realized that I was often cranky with the monkey first thing in the morning. However, if I wake up a half hour to an hour before her I can drink my first cup of tea, read my emails, and wake up a little bit...I am MUCH less cranky once she gets up.
-Girls' Night Out! I think every mom should try to make this happen when they can. I love having a night off from mommy duty to just hang out with the girls. Of course I talk about the monkey quiet a bit but it is also nice to have a meal without worrying about the toddler throwing food on the floor.
-Fostering my hobbies. I love to bake and cook, in fact, I find spending time in the kitchen to be therapeutic (at least I do when there isn't a toddler hanging on my legs begging to be picked up). So A and I try to make time every week for me to get some alone time in the kitchen. It doesn't happen every week, but making it a priority is important.
So, those are a few things I know make me a better mom. What makes you a better mom?