15 June 2017

14 Ways to Bring Calm & Peace Into Your Parenting

As moms, we have a wonderful way of beating ourselves up a lot over every little thing. In reading through my social media posts daily, it seems as if this trend of self-shaming has become the rule instead of the exception.

Parenting is hard. It's a crazy combination of feeling like it's the best thing you've ever done with your life coupled with the nagging feeling of, "WTF am I doing/thinking?" While I'm clearly no pro at this parenting gig, I've come to learn a few things over the past five and a half years that help me invite calm and peace into my parenting which in turn, makes a profound difference for both myself, Maddy, and our family. If anything, take comfort in this advice and know that whatever struggle you're going through right now, some mother somewhere is right there with you. You're never, ever alone. 

14 Ways to Bring Calm & Peace Into Your Parenting

Not breast feeding isn't the end of the world. Don't ever let anyone make you feel bad for choosing not to do it. The important thing is that your child is fed and is thriving, regardless of the method by which it happens. 

If you have to/want to work, find a day care you, but more importantly, your child loves. It will give you peace of mind while you're away during the day and
finding the perfect center is worth its weight in gold.

Live with less. It is amazing how little "stuff" baby and kids really needs and there is no need to go into debt for things that are temporary and will be outgrown/out-used before you know it.

Follow the adage, "Sleep when the baby sleeps." I did the complete opposite as a new mom because I felt like I had to keep all the balls in the air all the time. I got very little accomplished and still wound up frustrated and exhausted. There will always be laundry and housework to do so let it be. 

Follow your gut and intuition. Many people will have an opinion of how you should be taking care of your child(ren), but only you know what is best for you and your kids. It isn't called "Mother's Intuition" for nothing. Trust your gut, that bitch knows what’s up.

Remember you. Do your best to keep up with hobbies and the things you enjoy doing outside of your child. Yes - our children are the priority but for us to be our best selves for them, we need the time and opportunity to remember who our best selves are without our kids.
It’s okay to be selfish with ourselves and our time every now and again.

Learn to let go and let your spouse/partner take over. If you're a control freak like me, this will be hard to do at first but in the end, you can't carry everything by yourself. It doesn't matter if the laundry isn't done the way you like or if the kitchen isn't cleaned to your liking. The point is - it's done. You don't have to worry about doing it. Simply be appreciative and move on.

Learn to say "No" more. You don't have to be everything to everyone. Period. 

Find a good set of mom/parent friends. As much as you like to think that your kids won't hinder your relationship with friends who aren't parents, it will. It is the truth and the reality of becoming parents that no one likes to admit or talk about. The bigger reality is that they will have no clue {to no fault of their own} on how to fit in with your new lifestyle. You don't have to lose these friends, but it helps to make new friends too; mommy and parent friends will be able to help you laugh, commiserate, and work your way through parenthood.

Stay off the Internet researching everything under the sun. It will drive you crazy and to madness!! Picture this: there was a time when people managed to raise children successfully without the help of the Internet. Hard to believe I know, but it's true. I found myself spending hours of wasted time in front of my laptop for every little thing that I felt was wrong with me or my child and you know what? In the end, reading things off the Internet only made me feel worse. 

Let the kiddos be young. This is the only time in their life that they can act free and uninhibited. Let them do it! It goes against every fiber of my "everything in its place, neat and tidy" being to let Maddy be messy, but I do it; finger paints, playing in the dirt, the messy room - all of it because bottom line, it's her happiness and in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter. It can all be fixed and cleaned, momma. They only get one childhood – let them be little.

Tell your child "No" every now and again. We've all encountered, or had our own kids be “that child.” Enough said.

Be the disciplinarian - not the best friend parent. Bottom line, you have a job to do. Raising a human is no joke, y'all. You will have time to cultivate a friendship with your child when they are an adult. Right now, it's time to take care of business. I didn't understand this growing up with my own parents but I do now that I have my own child and I THANK GOD every day that they understood and implemented this very fine principle for myself and my two sisters. 

And finally, when all else fails, drink a fabulous glass {or two} of wine.

What are your best tips to make it through this journey of parenthood?