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I’m not one to add more things to your already overwhelming list of things you need to do in order to get through your day, but I am one to try and help you get through it a little easier. And that’s what this is about.
Because honestly, motherhood is hard. Some days it’s bloody awesome, other days you’re likely to find me rocking back and forth in the corner with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. It’s all about balance right?
But here’s what I’ve realised. Dealing with it all, the good and the bad, all comes down to the habits we create.
Because half the time we are doing this motherhood thing on autopilot because our baby has decided to change their sleep pattern, or because our 6-year-old has realised they were supposed to bring food for the bake sale an hour before they’re meant to be at school, or because we choose to stay up late and enjoy those moments of silence binging on Netflix instead of going to bed for that much needed sleep.
So instead of adding more to your list and telling you that you have to do more or be more, I’m sharing some habits you can create that might help you deal with motherhood a little better. You don’t have to do them all, you don’t have to do any of them, but if they resonate with you and they help you get through, then my job here is done.
1 – Do Something For Yourself
Okay, before you roll your eyes at me and are like ‘bish… ain’t nobody got time for that’ just hear me out.
You were you before you were a mother, and you are you now. Motherhood isn’t ALL of you. Which at times is so difficult to comprehend, because it feels like you have to be everything for everyone and there’s not much left for yourself. Which is why it is SO IMPORTANT for you to schedule in some self care time.
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It doesn’t have to be a full day at the spa (but come on… wouldn’t that be amazing??), a simple coffee and cake at your cafe, or a walk by yourself, or even a nap can all be things that you can do and can make happen.
We create time when we need to for others, so we need to do the same for ourselves.
2 – Ask Your Child ‘What Was Your Favourite Thing From Today’
Bedtime is honestly the most stressful part of the day. Well, it is for us. I have the kind of kids that just don’t sleep (I had horrible insomnia as a kid and most of my adult life, so I understand), which means bedtime is met with big grins, giggles, running around and tantrums (mine, not theirs).
In order to make bedtime a more ‘happy’ experience, we started asking our kids one question. This one question will make you feel like you’re actually doing good at this whole motherhood thing. Even if their answer is ‘eating nuggets’.
It’s ‘what was your favourite thing from today?’ I love hearing the stories, I love hearing things from their point of view and I love that we turn something that is usually stressful into something happy and a little calmer. And honestly, it makes me feel like I am connecting with my kids more.
3 – Write A To Do List – With A Twist
I don’t know about you but I could not possibly get through my day without a to do list. I’m as type A list lover as they come and my to do list is essential to my day.
That being said, it can get pretty darn stressful. Especially when the to do’s keep piling up and it doesn’t feel like you’re getting anywhere.
So, instead of calling it a to do list, call it an ‘achievement’ list. Or a Ta Da list.
The idea is still the same, but add all the little things too – even things like ‘checking emails’ or ‘stacking dishwasher’. This way you’ll see the big list of things you actually do, even if you don’t usually put them on your list, and it will become more of a ‘ta da’ list!
4 – Drink The Damn Coffee
If you’re the kind of mama that needs a litre of coffee before you can even function of a morning then lady, you do you.
And go one better – drink it while it’s still hot.
I tried giving up coffee once, it was a horrible few hours. But really, I don’t drink coffee to keep me awake, it lost that effect on me a long time ago. I drink it because I love it and it’s my little start to the day that is just for me. Plus, I like to read the articles that tell me how good coffee is for me, then I feel like I’m ticking something in the ‘healthy’ box too.
If you’ve got medical reasons why you can’t drink coffee then that’s a little different. But if you love your coffee and someone somewhere is making you feel guilty for it then bugger them. Drink your coffee and enjoy every bit.
5 – Say ‘No’
Saying no to others often means saying yes to yourself.
Sometimes as mothers, we feel like we have to be everything to everyone. We have to say yes to helping out at school, say yes to the friend that wants a coffee catch up, the grandparents who want to come for Sunday Lunch, the sleepovers, the play dates, the work, the extracurricular activities… it feels like it never ends.
Saying no to others isn’t about not being there for people, it’s not selfish, it’s not about missing out on family time or anything like that. It’s about giving yourself space to breathe and learning which things are important, and which things you can say no to.
6 – Do One Thing Today To Make Your Life Easier Tomorrow
This right here is a gamechanger. Often we are our own worst enemy, we make things more complicated than they need to be, we put things off to the last minute (just me??) and we put so much on our plates.
To really help yourself out, do one thing today that will make life easier tomorrow.
This could be as simple as packing the lunches tonight instead of in the morning, laying out your clothes to wear for tomorrow, ordering your groceries online for pick up instead of having to go grocery shopping, plan out your meals… anything. Anything you can do now, that will make things easier tomorrow.
Your future self will thank you for it.
7 – Put Your Husband First
When people read this for the first time, their reactions fall into either one of two camps – the ‘heck yeah’ camp, or the ‘wait, what?’ camp. If you’re in the latter, let me explain before you totally write me off.
We are often told we should put our kids before our husband, and some women believe they should put themselves first (which, by the way, is absolutely fine) but it all plays in together so just bear with me.
This works when you put your husbands needs first and he puts your needs first. You no longer have to put yourself first and make sure your needs are being met or make sure you’re getting time for self-care, because your husband does that for you, and you do it for him.
Sometimes this is a subtle thing that we do naturally in a relationship without making a conscious effort, other times it takes recognising and putting in a bit more grit to make it happen.
This doesn’t mean we completely ignore and neglect our kids, their needs are being met, without question. But, it means that we do put a priority on our marriage, we know that after our kids grow and leave home we need to still have a solid foundation of our marriage and we lead by example and show our children what a happy and healthy relationship looks like.
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8 – Get Your Finances In Order
Lady, you have enough to deal with as it is, you don’t need to add stress about money on top of it all.
Did you know that money is one of the biggest stress factors in our lives? Of course you did because chances are, you’re probably stressed about them too (over 80% of women in a survey I conducted said that money was the number one stress factor in their marriage!!).
Understanding your finances is one of the biggest steps towards reducing financial stress, and you and your spouse both need to get on board. Have weekly finance chats, even if he claims he doesn’t want to know about it and he trusts you. It’s not a trust thing, it’s about you both being on the same page.
Money should not be something you argue about in marriage. Money doesn’t cause stress, it’s an inanimate object that cannot do anything without us creating an action for it. Our reaction to money causes stress.
So get your finances in order, make them something you talk openly and honestly about and cut that stress from your day.
9 – Educate Yourself
You know how they say there’s no book to tell you how to do this whole parenting thing? That’s not true. Sure, there’s not a manual that says this is the ONLY way, but there sure as eggs is a whole lot of help out there if you’re willing to look (and I’m assuming you are because you’re reading this).
Even if reading isn’t your jam, YouTube has TONS of channels about parenting, there are podcasts and audiobooks and so many different ways to consume information (including my favourite – TED Talks)
You might not agree with it all and that’s totally okay. Some things are like sifting through a haystack to find the needle and that’s okay too – because when you do find that nugget of good information it can be absolute GOLD.
10 – Talk To Someone
We all need our tribe, because as we have said over and over, motherhood is hard! Find someone you connect with and be sure to talk to them. You may not need to do it every day, but maybe you do for a while.
There are so many different people you can talk to. You might have a great little group of friends (how good is group chat on Facebook for this?), or maybe you need to venture out and find people you resonate with more as a mother. There are often little local mothers groups, or even Facebook ‘due in’ groups where you can find women to chat.
Plus remember, there’s always family if you have that kind of relationship, and your husband can even be your tribe if you need him to be.
You don’t have to do this alone. Ever.
11 – Write, Journal, Or Express Yourself
When we were kids in school we were taught to express ourselves in different ways. We had writing classes, art classes, music lessons, sports lessons. We had different outlets for our creative desire. Even as teenagers we felt more secure in our ability to express ourselves creatively.
But somehow, when crossing that barrier into adulthood, many of us lost that ability.
One of the best ways to process emotions, stresses, thoughts, and feelings is doing so in a creative way. You may not even understand them, and that’s totally okay. Do whatever feels good. Express yourself in whatever way you want to.
You might want to write, or journal, or paint, or use one of those adult colouring in books (which to me always sounded like it was something R rated…), or you might even express your creativity through baking, or craft, photography, or anything else that switches off that analytical side of your brain and lets the creative side take over.
You don’t have to share it with anyone else, it can be just for you, or you can share your amazing talents with your family, community or the wide world! It’s up to you.
Motherhood is pretty full on. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of ‘oh my gosh I love my kids so much’ to ‘oh my gosh, who is this maniac’ 100 times an hour… over and over again. You may notice that these habits all have a theme, and that’s because the best way to deal with motherhood is to make sure that you are okay and that takes effort and conscious choice (at first) and then becomes a habit.
So which of these are you going to do today?