Moms are so much more powerful than they realize. How they are feeling on a particular day can have significant effects on the entire family. A Mom can and does influence so many things in her environment. And that can affect how she feels, and in turn how the other family members feel.
When she is feeling good, happy, relaxed so are her kids. They have more energy, laugh more and get along better. On the other hand, if she is feeling frustrated or bogged down by all the things going on, the kids seemed to know that, and they argued more, were hard to keep busy and were less focused.
What Mother hasn’t felt at her wits end with her kids? The colicky baby who won’t stop crying, the kids who won’t stop arguing, the lack of time she has to herself and the limited adult interaction. She’ll call a girlfriend or her own mother to talk for a few peaceful minutes to vent or to get advice. She will put the kids’ favorite movie on so they’re occupied and we can have a few minutes to ourselves. It would never fail, after a few minutes into a conversation the kids will start to call for Mom. They need to ask a question or they need a referee because, “he hit me,” or they want some juice. On it goes when a few minutes ago, they were fine. We try to appease them, even leave the room or multitask in some manner. When nothing seems to work we hang up feeling irritated and frustrated. Low and behold, all’s well and the arguing stops. It’s as if that big white device in our hand was a signal to start vying for mom’s attention, and in a way, to our children it was. Yet the feeling of frustration lingers for the mom, long after she has hung up and peace is restored. It can affect the rest of the day, and by the time our spouse comes home, she’s more than ready for them to help, even takeover.
It only makes sense then that our thoughts affect our relationships as well. Take this example, with a stay at home mom in mind. Their husbands are off at work, and their kids are off at school, so these moms spend their time doing as much as they can around the house. They will straighten, pick up, put away, clean or whatever needs to be done. If they walk around with negative thoughts, such as; “I am always picking up after everyone else,” and “no one puts anything away,” and “I always have to do everything myself” and “this house is such a mess” and “I never get to do anything I want” and on and on. By the time these people get home, they will be so worked up and upset, that they might yell about it, or want nothing to do with them. Either way it affects the entire rest of the day, for the whole family and in a very negative way. The frustration produces more frustration in others, spreading it around and bringing more of it into the home.
Being a mother and raising a family is one of the, if not the hardest thing a woman will ever do. It would be helpful if kids came with instructions, but they don’t. Therefore, a solid support system is essential for every mother because taking care of your home and your family is hard enough without leaving much room for self care. There are often feelings of frustration, isolation and an inability to do what they want. There are simple and effective things you can do to make all this easier and to feel more like ‘a happy mom.’ I have listed three of those ways below:
1. Schedule me time in to every day. Time for yourself is so critical because moms are called upon to give so much and to sacrifice so much that we need to replenish our energy ‘supply.’ We can be very quick to drop what we are doing for someone else that having ME time scheduled in to our day makes it more likely to happen. It is important for these activities to be quality, things that bring us joy and nurture our spirit.
Treat this time like a doctor’s appointment, one that you wouldn’t cancel on a whim. It is okay to say that you are busy or that you have other plans when others make requests during this time. I would also like to promote that moms don’t feel guilty for taking time for themselves either. You need to be cared for and nurtured in order to fully care for others, and feel good about it.
2. Connect with friends every day either in person, or even over the phone.Making an effort to connect with a close friend who is nurturing, positive, encouraging and supportive can help moms feel more connected and more supported. Mothers are often referred to as the center and heart of the home. They are usually the ones who take on the majority of the parenting and household responsibilities. The demands of parenting and running a home can be overwhelming and even isolating. An increasing amount of time is spent on the needs of the family; home, spouse, kids on things such as running errands, driving to activities, helping with homework. Moms work long hours, on a daily basis. It is not uncommon to feel isolated and disconnected.
3. Learning to say ‘No’. It is okay and even encouraged to say no to things you really do not want to do. Saying ‘yes’ to tasks or activities simply because we are asked is an easy trap to get in to. Stay at home moms for instance, often feel that they have to volunteer their time because they do not have an income and therefore do not have money to donate, so they donate their time. In addition, we want others to be happy and for people to like us so we quickly agree to what is requested of us. Unfortunately, when this has nothing to do with our priorities or what we’d really prefer to be doing, it is just another obligation and makes us feel unhappy, powerless and lacking control.
One way to avoid this is to take some time to think about the request before answering and committing to it. For some a few minutes are all that is needed, for others it is better to give it 24 hours, and ‘sleep on it.’ The key is to follow through with what is important to you. So the next time you are asked to chair that committee or volunteer in a classroom, respond with “I really appreciate you thinking of me and I need some time to think it over and check my calendar and get back to you. Would it work if I let you know tomorrow?”
Then take some time to ask yourself, “Is this really in line with what is important to me?”And make your decision with this in mind. This allows you to take more control of your time and your choices, feeling more in control and empowered to make the decisions that are in line with your priorities and your own wants.
Try implementing at least one of these suggestions this week, and see what difference it makes for you and your family.