Motherhood can be the most rewarding and amazing experience in the world. But, it can also be one of the hardest. It’s easy for the stress of mom life to become overwhelming. If you’re working, you somehow have to juggle a work schedule and job demands, in addition to fulfilling expectations at home. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, it can be all too easy to surround yourself with the pressures and stress of motherhood, and forget to ever come up for a breath. For me, when that stress starts to bubble over, it really affects my relationship with my husband and my kids. When I start to feel like this, I know it’s time to reset my motherhood mindset.
How to Reset Your Motherhood Mindset
Spring is all about starting fresh, but this year I’m reminding myself that it’s not only a time for cleaning and freshening up your home. It’s also a great time to invest in yourself, and take a reset on motherhood. So in honor of fresh starts, let’s take a pause, and follow a few quick steps to reset your motherhood mindset.
Breathe and Let the Little Things Go
The next time you think your toddler’s latest epic tantrum is going to send you over the edge, take a deep breath and walk away. I know — children seem to be built knowing exactly which buttons to push to drive us nuts. However, before you respond to whatever epic mess was just made, first stop and think: is it really that important?
Whether the answer is yes or no, take a deep breath in for five seconds then slowly breathe out. Repeat it as many times as you need to. Once you’re calm, get on their level, and talk and/or discipline as needed.
Losing your cool on your child may be a temporary release. But it almost never makes us feel better after the fact. Remember that not everything will be perfect, clean, or unbroken. But things can (usually) be cleaned up or fixed. If you think you’re going to lose your cool, it’s more than okay to take a minute, and walk away.
Reassess What’s Important to You and What Makes You Happy
Part of what makes motherhood hard is that it’s very easy to throw yourself into caring for others, and completely forget about yourself. Remember that person you were before kids? Yup, she’s still in there. If you’ve forgotten who that girl is, it’s definitely time for a motherhood mindset reset.
Take five minutes (hide in the closet if you need to!) to jot down a list of 10 things you enjoy. Are you doing any of them? Once a week? Once a month? Never? If you’re not doing at least one, it’s time to make some changes! Which leads me to . . .
Take Time for Yourself At Least Once a Week
Take one of the items from your list, and do it. At least once a week, take 30 minutes (or hopefully longer!) to do something you enjoy. It can be with your kids, or without, and can be anything as simple as reading a book, going for a bike ride, or watching a reality tv show. Giving yourself just a little time away from the grind can make a world of difference.
Remember That They’re Only This Little Once
Whenever someone would tell me to enjoy the tininess of my newborn, or to relish the time before my baby started crawling, I would groan internally. All I could think was, it’s so much easier to say “enjoy the moment” when you’re not the one in it!
Here’s the thing, though — as time passes and hindsight becomes my best friend, I’m realizing that it actually is a really valuable point to keep in mind. Yes, waking up at 2am to feed your baby for months on end is exhausting, but I miss those nighttime snuggles so much. Yes, it’s a relief to finally have two toddlers who can feed themselves and run around outside fairly independently. But oh how I miss being able to just hang out with my baby while she stared contentedly at the lights of her jungle gym. And seeing my son’s smiles as he tried new foods for the first time.
The point is, perspective is key.
Take a step back occasionally, and remind yourself that this phase won’t last forever. And this goes both ways! When the days are especially rough, remember that at some point, they will go to high school and they won’t be screaming and rolling around on the floor in a little tiny ball of fury then (way too embarrassing). If things are good, cherish those moments. It’s 100% okay — and realistic! — to not enjoy every second of motherhood. But cherish the times when they want to snuggle in bed with you because they had a bad dream. Or cuddle on the couch while you watch a movie. Or carry them around everywhere because they just can’t get enough of mom. Those are the moments to remember. So sit back, soak it in, file away the happy memory. And keep going. We’ve got this.