Before becoming a mother, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.
My husband and I were happier than ever, excited, and started dreaming about what our life would be like the minute the stick revealed a positive.
I thought I knew what to expect. But oh boy, was I ever wrong!
I never imagined that my life would resume itself to caring for my children, and nothing else. It quickly went from exciting to exhausting and in this chaos, I forgot to take care of myself.
It wasn’t my family’s fault, in fact, I had put myself in this situation because I had the idea that to be the perfect mother, I had to devote myself to my children completely.
It didn’t work out so well for me. I have since learned that being a good mother doesn’t entail giving everything you have. A good mother is a mother who loves and cares for her children, but most importantly, if you want your children to be happy, be happy yourself!
Here are 5 tips to self care and happiness:
1. Make time
Now, I know that being a mother is a full time job whether you have 1,2, or three children, let alone twins! The reality is, if you don’t make time for yourself, no one will.
You MUST take time for yourself.
If it takes writing on your calendar or to do list “wash hair”, “coffee with Kate” for you to actually act on it, then do what it takes. See that laundry pile? It is not pretty and kind of annoying to see it there, abandoned, but it won’t go anywhere. It will be there tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. So how about you take an hour for yourself. What would you do with a whole hour to yourself? Take a bath? Call your best friend? Watch Netflix or have a well deserved nap?
You will feel refreshed, happy and consequently, more productive in the long run.
2. Prioritize and reevaluate what matters to you
It is easy to forget what it is that really matters to us. But what do you really want out of life? What is it that you really want for your children? What you think is expected from you by society (family, friends, strangers) is not what you should expect from yourself. Nowadays, it seems that being busy means you are important. Busy is not cool. Cool is enjoying life and taking the time to wake up and smell the coffee. Try to think about what it means to you.
3. Stop comparing yourself to other moms
Remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.This amazing mom you met at playgroup may well be as overwhelmed as you but hides it better than you do!
We all have our struggles. Open up. You would be surprised to realize that we’re all wondering whether we’re doing the right thing. We all cry or drink too much wine. It comes with the joy of being a parent. Just be honest and open up to your friends: you will feel much better and more at peace with yourself.
“Do what makes you happy. Your family will follow, and your children will be just fine.” is what my friend told me after letting me cry on her shoulder. And this is the most valuable piece of advice I have ever been given as a mother.
4. Organize yourself
“I am a fairly organized person, and yet, somehow, I often feel like I have no control over my life.” If you can relate then know that you are not alone in this and it will get better. Being organized will bring peace and joy to your household. It takes effort and time but it is well worth it in the long run. It will also allow more time for relaxation and quality time with your family. I personally feel way more confident as a mother when the girls’ clothes are ready the night before as well as lunch box, snacks and field trip money prepared on the table. I wake up and somehow I feel like I will get through it. It is as simple as that. Other times, I go to bed early and watch a little too much Netflix and wake up on the wrong side of the bed. It happens and that’s ok too. Just do what you can!
5. Paint your nails
Painting my nails makes me happy. It only requires 10 minutes of my week, but brings me joy for days. It may sound superficial, but it makes me feel good about myself. If everything fails, and my hair’s a mess, I can look at my nails and think: “you still got it sister!”. It might be different for you but just try to think about a small thing that makes you happy. Is it a Starbucks drink and a gossip magazine? Singing in the shower when the babies are asleep or dancing in the kitchen on Beyoncé’s last hit? Just do it. Even if you feel out of it, even it sounds silly and not as important as the rest of your todo list, put it at the top of your priorities. It will make you happy and the rest will follow.