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Are you wondering how to be a good mother? Good news! If you’re asking that question, there’s a chance you’re already doing great by striving to be your best self.
Being a mom is one of the world’s most important, challenging, and rewarding jobs. It’s also one of the most difficult to define. There is definitely no such thing as a perfect mother. Yet, most of us want to do our best to raise kind human beings who love us and their lives. Here are 16 tips.
1. First, Celebrate Yourself!
No matter how you slice it, motherhood can be hard. You have little ones depending on you and an ever-growing to-do list. Whether you’re the organized type that makes time management look easy or you feel like you’re drowning in chores most days, there’s always something to be grateful for.
A positive mindset can make all the difference in navigating the daily monotony of motherhood. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be.
2. Show Your Humanity
If you are overwhelmed and crying or snapping at your kids, it’s okay- it happens. What’s not okay is to blame your actions on them or pretend they didn’t happen. It’s okay to apologize, be vulnerable, and show emotions. No one is perfect, and admitting when you’re wrong is an important lesson for your kids.
3. Let Your Kids Be Vulnerable Too
If an adult was sad or mad and they were venting to you, you wouldn’t tell them to “suck it up” or stop. So why do we do this to our kids? We are all guilty of doing it. But do your best to give your kid’s emotions space and listen to them. Tantrums and misbehavior are often a cry for help and connection, so don’t be afraid to show them love (even when it’s hard) and let them know it’s okay to feel things.
4. Encourage Open Communication
We all want to feel heard and understood. So, talk with your kids. Ask them questions about their day, their emotions, and their goals. Show interest in what they say by encouraging responses and asking follow-up questions. In turn, this sets a good example for teaching them to be good listeners, speakers, and empathetic in general.
5. Ditch the Comparisons and Celebrate Your Unique Kids
For yourself and your kids, ditch the comparison game. We all have unique gifts, talents, and interests. Instead of comparing them to others or pushing them to do something that doesn’t interest them, celebrate their uniqueness and encourage their creativity in the areas they excel at.
The same goes for you, mama! Don’t let social media and online trolls dictate how you feel about yourself. If you are reading this, you are doing an amazing job.
6. Avoid Perfectionism
We all want to be the best parents and give our kids the world. However, aiming for perfection isn’t sustainable or even necessary.
Give your kids grace and yourself too! Allow them (and you) to make mistakes and learn from them. The goal is to raise kind, independent humans, not robots who are afraid of failure. Teach them that it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to try, and it’s okay to change your mind- for both you and your kids.
7. Focus on Connection and Quality Time
No matter how busy your life may be, make time for connection and spend quality time with your kids. Whether it’s cuddling on the couch, having a quiet conversation, reading a book, playing games, or going for a walk together, those moments are what will become your kids’ foundation and ensure a happy family.
8. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously
Kids need to laugh, play and just be kids. Make sure you’re taking the time to enjoy life with your kids. Do silly things like make blanket forts, have a dance party in the living room, or just lay outside and count stars – whatever it may be, make sure you’re having fun with them!
It’s easy to get hyperfocused on the day-to-day tasks and feel like there’s never any time or energy for fun. But it’s essential to take a step back and recognize the importance of enjoying life as well. (My 5-year-old is the best at reminding me of this!)
9. Lead by Example
Actions speak louder than your words. So, lead by example. Show your kids what respect looks like, how to be a healthy mom, how to be kind and compassionate, and how to take responsibility for their actions. Kids learn best by observing the people around them and mimicking their behavior.
10. Don’t Forget to Take Time for Yourself
It’s so important to take time for yourself. Self-care is not selfish – it’s essential for your mental and physical health and will make you a better parent in the long run. Don’t forget that you are an individual, too! Whether taking a yoga class or having a girl’s night out, make sure you’re taking moments to recharge to be your best self for your kids.
Plus, you are teaching your kids the importance of their self-care too!
11. Be Collaborative
Raising children is sometimes a team effort. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or take advice from experienced family members and friends. And don’t forget to include your kids in the decision-making process whenever possible. This will teach them responsibility, self-confidence, and respect for others’ opinions.
12. Recognize Your Own Behavioral Triggers from Your Childhood
Most of us have triggers stemming from childhood experiences that can affect us today.
As a parent, it’s important to recognize these triggers and know how they may manifest in your parenting. This will help you gain perspective and develop strategies for responding calmly rather than reacting with emotional outbursts or harsh words. If needed, talk to a licensed professional counselor for guided help.
13. Don’t Take Misbehavior Personally
Sometimes, kids just do things that are annoying or out of line. Take a few deep breaths when it happens, and remember not to take it personally. Instead, try your best to stay calm and use positive parenting strategies like redirection and logical consequences to help your child learn the right way to behave.
14. Let Your Kids Learn By Doing and Making Mistakes
Encouraging children to explore and learn through trial and error is important. It’s okay for your kids to make mistakes- it’s part of the learning process. So, allow them the opportunity to try new things and experiment without worrying too much about the outcome (easier said than done, I know).
15. Set Clear Boundaries and Stick to Them
Having consistent boundaries, rules, and consequences is essential. This will help create structure and safety in the home while teaching your kids how to manage their behavior in different environments. But, it’s important to explain why a rule exists and remain flexible if needed. And don’t forget to demonstrate your respect for those boundaries as well!
16. Give Yourself a Time Out
Do your best to lead with kindness and patience. When you’re struggling with this and just want to scream and throw an adult tantrum, try to take a time-out before reacting.
Instead of getting angry, take a few moments for yourself to breathe, get some fresh air (if possible), and reset. Or, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking some time for yourself and focus on self-care. This can help you gain perspective and refocus your energy toward parenting with more kindness and empathy.
For more ideas, great insight, and answers to your questions about motherhood, see the complete article here.
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