Being a mom is challenging. Being a working mom is challenging. Keeping track of who I am as an individual is even more challenging. I run a tribe of 5. There is my husband, our three boys under 13, and me! Every day is a race to get somewhere in one piece without forgetting something the boys need, I need, the house needs…Oh, and let’s not forget that I want to make time to ask my partner-in-crime how HE’S doing!
But I do it. And I do it calmly and happily because I have NO guilt about keeping the “me” in MomME. I celebrate the fact that I am my family's backbone, and I recognize that I require self-care in order to be the rockstar captain of our ship. I respect my own needs so that I can be 100% present for my family, which gives ME greater joy and creates a super happy and calm home for my family. Here are my secrets to being a happy mommy:
SELF-CARE EVERY DAY
I get a full night’s sleep every night. I wake up before my children and then meditate and workout. I get myself ready first and have taught my children to respect my morning routine, so that I'm not punching in on the mom clock until 6:30AM. I eat regular meals and snacks because I know if I'm hangry, I'm not a nice person. I get my nails done and I buy myself flowers. - All simple self-care practices that keep me calm and healthy so that I'm not spending energy battling sickness, bad moods, or resentments that take time away from my gang.
KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL
I'll be honest – my children, my husband, my friends – they all bug me. Not all of the time, but every single day I want to haul off and tell at least one person that they drive me nuts. But I don't. I keep my mouth shut and take a few moments to marinate on what is really causing my annoyance. Is it me being impatient while my kid takes his sweet time getting his backpack, or am I being too judgmental of a friend, or am I just being plain old needy? Nine times out of ten, I can work through the situation on my own without creating friction with the people I love – and all because I kept it professional.
HAVE A MANTRA
Mine is, "I'm a really good mommy." Not just a good mommy – I am a REALLY good one. I'm not bragging – I can just see that it’s the truth because my kids are happy and thriving and not jerks. At least once a day I think to myself, "Hot damn, you're a good mommy!" And you know what, I listen to myself. I believe the words. Positivity feeds positivity and good self-esteem makes it even easier to bounce back from those not-so-great moments when I do suck because I know it’s not the norm.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
I have a ridiculous internal clock. I always know what time it is without looking and how long it will take to accomplish complex maneuvers with my family. Because of this, I'm able to create realistic schedules for moving my troops between activities. I'm not sweating or yelling at my boys, which means we arrive at our destinations stress-free. As moms we know what time we need to be somewhere, so make yourself a mental itinerary: take into consideration everything you need to get done in order to get there, how long each task is going to take, and then build in an extra 15 minutes. The secret to on-time departures is prioritizing, staying on task, not getting cocky and biting off more than you can chew, and GO!
I think of my life in 5 segments:
- 2.My Husband
- 3.My Kids
- 4.My Business
- 5.My Home
I keep tabs in my head of how things are going in each area and make sure to check in daily, so they know I'm paying attention to them.
Me: Do you need a nap today? Heck yeah. Ok, take 30 and get back to life after.
Husband: What do you need to do this weekend? Haircut, some work, yoga? Alright, I'm here when you need me to make it all happen.
Kids: Everyone feeling connected with their classmates? Do we need any play dates? YES! Ok, pick a friend and I'll text his mom.
Business: Have I responded to clients? How are longer projects looking? Everything is under control....for now. Phew!
House: I see you need a new lightbulb up there, ceiling. I’ll grab a new bulb and get to it - eventually.
Sure, these are happy, shiny examples of inner dialogues I have with my life segments, but the underlying point is that I talk to each one every day to keep up. And when one falls apart, I compartmentalize the hot mess until I can get to it, so that it doesn't spill over into the areas of my life that are running well.
Your kid drops an open bag of flour on your black hardwood floors? Your toddler draws a picture of poop in permanent marker on your living room wall? Your dog pukes on the carpet right before your in-laws ring the doorbell? Infuriating, unpredictable, messy life happens, and my survival mechanism is to walk away from insane moments, so that I can hit pause and collect myself before I go ape crazy. Be a grown up and notice when it's YOU who needs a time-out. Take a breather instead of blowing up at your little one who is simply learning how to BE.
What I've learned is that to keep it all together, I need to focus on me and how I react to life. I know that I can control how I behave, and if I've got it together, my family will, too. Now, excuse me while I go get a manicure and whisper to myself, "You're a really good mommy."