Don’t Be Afraid to Pamper Yourself
A lot of people believe that mothers are supposed to be completely selfless, perfect beings – angels without the wings. Most moms at some point in time or other fall into this line of thought, which can be detrimental to their physical and mental well-being. Why? Because no one is perfect and if you put that much pressure on yourself to attain the impossible, you’re setting yourself up for frustration, disappointment, and possibly even depression. Mothers are people too. We’re individuals and it’s time we allowed ourselves to get pampered every now and again without the guilt.
Embrace life outside your home
Childhood isn’t all shiny new toys and trips to the cinema. Kids have much more emotional intelligence than we think and they know and appreciate when their mom and dad are happy and satisfied. It’s important to show your kids that you’re a full human being besides being their mother. Young boys and girls need to see you engaged in the community and world around you – whether in charity work, hobbies or friendships.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom, charity and volunteer work is a great option to look into. You can decide how much time you can devote to each project and focus on areas that interest you the most. Do you like animals? Call up the local shelter and see if they need help. Are you political? Perhaps there’s a political campaign you can volunteer for and help out the larger community that way. Connecting with the world outside your own family does not make you less devoted to them – on the contrary, it teaches your kids an important lesson about civics and duty.
When you became a mother, all the things you liked doing before didn’t just up and disappear. Unfortunately many friends I’ve talked to have expressed guilt about missing hobbies and activities after having children. Don’t feel guilty! Set aside some time for yourself. Take a dance or music class for adults. Learn a foreign language. Dig out your old art supplies and start painting again. Your children will appreciate how well-rounded their mother is. A few of my friends started making jewelry and their kids just adore the handmade gifts they receive.
The next point cannot be stressed enough. You must maintain friendships. It’s so difficult to plan friend dates when you have young kids, but it needs to be done. By being social, you’ll teach your kids how to be social. You are the best teacher your kids will ever have and it’s so incredibly important that you show them how to maintain strong, healthy friendships for life. Absolutely do not feel guilty about calling a sitter for a night out with good friends.
Keep your dreams alive
J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, E.L. James – all these women wrote super successful book series while raising their kids. Don’t use your kids as an excuse to not follow your dreams. Moms should have plenty of ambition!
Have you always wanted to own a flower shop? Draw up a business plan and see if it’s something that can work for you and your family. Have the acting bug? Why not try out for a local community theatre production? Whatever you choose to pursue, your kids will be in awe of your talents and fearlessness.
Dreams can be simpler than becoming a local actor or successful writer. Take Jenn Burston for example. This mother-of-two from Exeter won £3 million from the National Lottery by playing the lottery online from the comfort of her own home. There are lucky moms on both sides of the Atlantic. Marie Holmes, a single mom of four in North Carolina recently won hundreds of millions in US Powerball. Obviously winning the lottery is incredibly rare, but it can be a really fun activity to daydream about what you’d do with the winnings. Iconic songwriter Patti Smith’s mom used to write down a list of what she’d buy with a lottery jackpot, which inspired Smith to later pen “Free Money”.
Jump back to reality and write a list like Smith’s but with things you want to accomplish or experience that can be more easily attained. Work your way through the list and satisfy some of your desires and dreams.
Treat yourself and your relationship right
This is the most obvious point, but you deserve a treat every once and awhile. Don’t feel guilty when you book a salon or spa appointment, as long as your finances allow for such a treat. If you’re on a budget, invite some of your fellow mom friends over and do each other’s nails while the kids watch a movie or play together. Take some time out every day to read a book. Relax and enjoy.
Talk with your spouse if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a break. Suggest a date night for the two of you and go to a nice restaurant, art gallery, or live show. Maintaining a romantic and loving relationship with your spouse is one of the most important things you can do for each other and your children. They need to see a healthy relationship in action, so never feel bad about taking a night off for a date.
Your most important job is to keep your children happy and healthy. But remember that to do so means that you need to also be happy and healthy. Strive for that and do it guilt-free.