Monday, August 25, 2014

10 Things That Help Me Be A Better Mom

Posted by Devin


Being a mom is HARD. It's a 24-7 job that sometimes throws stuff at you in a helter-skelter, machine gun kind of way.  It can also be monotonous and frustrating and make you feel like you are just treading water. Not to mention the fact that you are constantly bombarded with mommy guilt (it's everywhere, right?) and hoping and praying that you are doing a good job because after all... this is the most important thing you have ever done! These precious babes are your life and please oh please tell me I am not screwing them up! 

Phew... Ok, wait. This post is not meant to make you (or me) panic. On the contrary, I HOPE I can possibly throw a little life preserver out there and share some things I have found that make mommyhood a more successful experience for me. Because this crazy, stressful job is also the most amazing and rewarding and profoundly important job I will ever have. Like all moms out there, I simply want to be a better mom every day. None of these things are mind-bending new concepts, simply reminders of things you have all probably heard before and that I like to put at the top of my "Mom Priority List." Some you may relate with, some you may not, but hopefully you will find a little inspiration or a reminder of something you want in your own priority-list. So here are the basics for me, that I try to focus on.

1. Staying Close To My Heavenly Father 

I think the first thing I have to realize is, I can't do this on my own. I need the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my life to be a good mom. I need to feel my Heavenly Father's love and support and I need to be ready to help guide my children in the direction He would have them go. Remembering to say my prayers and read my scriptures and doing these things together as a family as well are of the utmost importance. Not only do I need His daily presence, but I need to teach my children to rely on it as well. Even knowing how important this is, does that mean I'm perfect at it? No way! Sometimes I can't even call myself good at it! But I am trying every day to do my best and hopefully that will be a little better than I did the day before. And in the end, that is all He asks of us and the most excellent way I can find to be a good mother.


2. Making My Husband My Numero Uno

I believe one of the very best things I can do for our family is show how much I love and respect my husband. Which is pretty easy to do when you still think your guy is "like so totally dreamy" after 14 years of marriage. ;) But seriously, I want my boys to know that their mom and dad love each other and always have each other's backs. We are partners and we set the tone in our home. Being a good wife equals being a good mom, in my book.


3. Staying Organized

For me, a big part of being a mom is being our family organizer. I keep track of game and practice schedules, school field trips and concerts, doctors and dentist appointments, play dates and birthday parties, grocery and chore lists, etc, etc. Staying organized helps me to insure that our home is running smoothly. To-do lists and my iPhone (click here for my post on Ways My iPhone Keeps Me Organized) are two things that help me stay organized, but no matter what methods you use, putting in the effort to be an organized mom is always worth it.

4. Throwing Out The To-Do List and Playing

And with that being said, I sometimes have to force myself to chuck that old to-do list and just spend time with my kiddos. As a very task-oriented person, this can sometimes be difficult to do. But my kiddos need my TIME more than anything and I need to make sure I am giving it to them. A lot of times I feel like the to-do lists help me to get what needs to be done done so I have the time to give them, but sometimes it gets in the way and I need to throw it out for awhile.


5. Being Ooey-Gooey

This ones important to me. I like to be an ooey-gooey mom. I sing my boys little cheesy songs about their dimples or freckles or sugary kisses and I try to make sure to hug and squeeze and kiss them every day with lots of "I love you"s thrown in between. I know that what I do is more important than what I say, but I think it's good to make sure they are hearing how wonderful I think they are and how much I love them pretty often too. As my older boys are getting bigger they are starting to roll their eyes a bit more, but I still spy grins on their faces when I go into ooey-gooey mode. It's fun and playful and makes them feel loved. We'll see how well they tolerate it when they hit their tweens. ;)

6. Working Out and Finding Hobbies

As I have already mentioned, being a mom can be a little frustrating and monotonous at times. I need some "me time" and I need to "free my endorphins," as my Endomondo app puts it. Working out is a total stress reliever for me and it makes me feel better about myself. Both of which add up to a happier mama when my boys get out of bed in the morning. I don't always work out, but I feel like a better mom when I do.

7. Getting Enough Sleep

I am the kind of person that needs my sleep. Less than 8 hours means a mom who is running a little slow. Less than 6 means a mom who is barely running at all. And less than 4... well, you really don't want to meet her. Don't get me wrong, I love staying up late and enjoying the quiet time in the house, but I usually pay for it the next day. I need to be on my toes and I really, really want to be a happy and pleasant presence in my boys' lives. In order to be that, I need my sleep. Period.

8. Giving Our Family Free Time

I really don't like to have too many things on my plate at one time. If I start to feel like our family schedule is getting out of control, I become a very stressed out and snappy mom. "Get your stuff!" "Your shoes aren't on yet?!" "What do you mean you have homework, it's 10 o'clock!" "If you don't all settle down right now my head is going to explode and lava is going to come spewing out of my neck hole!!!" I may or may not have actually said that a time or two. Thankfully it usually makes the boys giggle rather than run for cover. So these kind of comments are going to happen no matter what. We are a busy family who likes to participate in lots of activities and events. But I really try to manage our schedule so that we are not constantly booked to max capacity. Sometimes we have to say no to things we'd like to do or places we'd like to go for the sake of our united family sanity. I relish our free time and our easy-going Saturdays and try to make sure that we get our fair share of it. I know this is only going to become more and more challenging as the boys get bigger, but by golly, I am going to fight for it!


9. Taking Short Cuts and Using Paper Plates

Sometimes it's good to remind ourselves that we can't do everything and occasionally we need to use short cuts to make things easier. If I am feeling like a tractor ran over me by dinner time, I may have to cut myself some slack and settle for grilled cheese sandwiches on paper plates for dinner over that fancy meal I had planned. I never thought I would say this, but I have become one of those people who cringes when we use paper plates. Have you heard about the giant floating island of garbage bigger than Texas roaming around the ocean?!! Anyways, every now and then I need to take some short cuts that allow life to run a little smoother in our home. And try not to feel guilty (sorry floating trash island!).

10. Trusting My Instincts

Sometimes things come up in my boys' lives that I need to get some advice on. I may talk to my parents or in-laws, friends, teachers, doctors, etc. to see what they think about the situation. But in the end, Jake and I are their parents and we know them better than anyone. It is up to us to trust our instincts, pray and ponder over our decisions and actions, and ultimately do what we think is best for our kids. There is never any harm in getting more information and opinions, but I like to make sure Jake and I are trusting ourselves to do what we feel we should when parenting.

There are probably a thousand other things I could add to this list that I think are important to remember to do as a mom (and let's not even get started on all the things I need to focus on NOT doing), but I hope maybe a few of these spoke to you. I don't pretend to have all the answers, every day is a new challenge and a new opportunity to do better, but I love to read when other mothers share their insights with me and my purpose in writing these words is to possibly do the same for you. Keep up the good work, mamas!

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1 comment:

Ginger Bergemann said...

Oh boy does this ring true for me! So many of the items on your list are exactly how I feel too. It's nice to know that other moms get tired and frustrated and they need the same things that I do to recharge my batteries.

Visiting from Just Us Four Pinworthy Projects. If you’re interested in linking up to some new parties, there is one live now at Gingerly Made. I’d love to have you over!