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Everyone has heard the expression “Take Time to Stop and Smell the Roses.” Our lives are busy! We are running here, running there with millions of things that we have to take care of or accomplish. I know that some weeks it feels like I have an imaginary fire extinguisher in my hands and all I do is run from one place to the other putting out this fires. I barely have time to breathe, and someone is telling me to stop and smell the roses? Really?? Now?? I have people calling my name, “Mom! Can you… Mom! I need this… Mom, I have to go to…., Honey, can you please do me a favor? “ It is overwhelming at times! It is then that I slip into “survival mode.” Meet ultra-efficient SUPER MOM!!!! The woman that has time for “just one more thing,” usually at the expense of her sanity.
You know what the thing is about “Super Mom”? She’s fiction. She is the unrealistic expectations that we hold ourselves to. Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home Mom, I think you know what I am talking about. We want the best for our kids. We do the best we can but sometimes we snap. (Ok, maybe you don’t; but I do.) We all get stressed and overwhelmed from time to time. There is no such thing as the mother that does everything 100% perfect. I know that I don’t. You know what we all do? The best we can. They are only little once. We have one shot at giving our kids a childhood. Here are 5 ways that you can slow down a bit and enjoy your kids more.
1. Realize that it’s ok to not be perfect.
Did you find this really cool Pinterest project and plan it all out with your kids only to have it go totally wrong? You are trying to put together some crafty thing when you realize that your toddler is eating the glue and the baby has crawled into the bathroom and is now standing in the toilet? Or perhaps you take your sweet babies to the park, determined to enjoy the day, and your little darling goes down the slide and slides directly into the huge water puddle that has collected at the bottom, sending a spray of water high into the air. Your little darling emits shrieks of delight and is now wearing his/her last pair of clean clothes that are dripping wet?
Life is like that. It’s messy! To some degree, you have to go with the flow. No one that I know of has kids and a clean house all the time. That’s ok! The kids are making memories.
2. Let them help.
Even as a stay at home mom, I find myself being so busy taking care of everyone sometimes it is hard to make time just to hang with the kids. If you are a working mom, then I imagine it is even more challenging. Find ways to hang with your kids. Let them help you on a cooking project, take them with you to the store. If you are cleaning house, give them a job to do. If they are not old enough to help, then distract them with a toy while you do something in the same room. You can talk to them as you work.
3. Carve out time for them.
Kids these days have a lot of stuff. There are tons of tempting toys. I know I have a problem with a perpetually overflowing toy box. (Yes, decluttering them is on the “to do eventually list”) There are video games galore. You know what kids need more than stuff? Time. Oh yes, that all too short commodity. We all have a limited supply of it. It is up to us how we choose to spend it.
Take some time to play with your kids, or take them to the park and push them on the swing; really watch them. Put down the phone or the tablet. Watch the kids play. They will notice where your attention is. Take them out to ice cream occasionally. Go for that bike ride or that picnic. They will not always be little, and the time when they are will be a precious memory. There is a poem that still hangs on the wall at my Mom’s house. It reads,
“I hope when my children think back to this day
They remember a mother who took time to play
There will be years for cleaning and cooking
But children grow up when we’re not looking.”
”Song for a Fith Child” – Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
4. Set Limits
For myself, I love kids. I especially love MY kids, but they need to have limits set and they need to know what those limits are. They need to be able to follow directions. I need them to do what I say. If I say ‘stop’ they need to be able to stop right then, both for their safety and my sanity. I need some order because I do not function well in total chaos. (Although a little bit is expected!)
For the kids, limits give them a sense of security. It lets them know that I am Mom and I am in charge. I am not going to let them do something that will hurt them. I expect a certain standard of behavior from them. Yes, it is hard in the beginning. Yes, it takes effort, but that time will be time well spent later on down the road.
5. Take time for you.
Wait a minute…. I thought this post was about taking time for my kids? Point number 5 says take time for me? Yes! Take time for you! We all need some time to recharge our batteries and recover our sanity. Sometimes the days get crazy in spite of your best efforts. I know a lot of my Mom friends used the time when their little ones were napping to get things done around the house, and if that works for them, then I think that is wonderful!
I preferred to take nap time as a time for myself. That just worked best for me. The other things got done. I needed time to read a book, or cruise Facebook or Pinterest, or pursue some other hobby, or…. take a nap for ME! This time restored my sanity. It got me to the point that my patience was restored, at least a little bit. I was able to be a nicer Mom and it made me able to enjoy the rest of the day more. As Moms, we give and give and give and our batteries get depleted. We have to remember to take a little bit of time for ourselves and take care of us too.
As the last word: Hang in there, Momma. Love your kids, and trust that your best is going to be good enough. Take pictures, enjoy all that you can, and know that it will not always be like it is now.
Edited 1/26/18 and 3/8/18 for better readability and Search Engine Optimization