We all know that motherhood is selfless, yet satisfying. But it's also a grimy, painful and sometimes thankless job.
I know a busy mom who volunteers to head up almost every large-scale function at her kids' school. She's generous and dependable, consistently carrying out her responsibilities in an organized fashion. However, her health is poor and she suffers from chronic pain.
Since the role of motherhood is so subjective, it can be hard to determine how to be a marvelous mom. For example, some moms thrive on being the PTA superwoman agreeing to tackle every request that relates to their kids. Other moms sink into the shadows taking a less active role in their kids' lives.
As a mom, strike the right balance for your children and your sanity. Be confident that you are parenting to the best of your ability by adopting these 15 personal rules.
1. Everyone pitches in.
Giving your kids chores and consistently enforcing them helps your children organize their time and learn responsibility.
2. File your nails and pluck your eyebrows.
I once overheard a harried young mom complain that her baby kept her from ever tweezing her eyebrows. That is balderdash. Grant yourself five minutes every now and then to pluck, clip and snip. Baby will be fine.
3. Spruce up your surroundings.
Your home is your domain and it should cheer and comfort you. Barring brand-new furniture or a major renovation, you can add nice, inexpensive touches to your home. Incorporate your favorite colors and styles with throw pillows, fresh paint, flowers and photography.
4. Be a GPS.
Always, always know your kids' whereabouts. Don't let them wander through childhood unaccounted for. They owe it to you to report who they are with, what they are doing and where they are - around the clock.
5. You need girlfriends.
Having a miserable day? Connect with a friend. Relationships with other women are comforting, healthy and satisfying. Connect with your friends to laugh, cry and recharge.
6. Really listen.
It's easy to pretend to listen to your 10-year-old's playground woes. It takes more effort to really key in and discover your child's concerns. Your kids notice when you listen, and their trust in you will increase.
7. Make your kids eat the foods you prepare.
Unless your home has food allergies or other food issues, don't cook for the individual child. Vary your meals, but make it clear that you aren't a restaurant, taking individual orders. Your kids should learn to eat a variety of foods, anyway.
8. You don't have to share everything.
Your kids will want to suck you dry. It's natural to want to please your children, but draw some lines. You don't have to loan your pricey leather boots to your teen daughter or share your candy, hairbrush or deepest secrets.
9. Be your teen's mom, not his pal.
Certainly, you want to enjoy your teenagers and maintain a fun relationship. But don't allow them to disrespect your authority or take advantage of your generosity.
10. You can wear skinny jeans.
Don't mistakenly believe that because you're a mom, you have to look matronly. Dress age appropriately, but wear the latest fashions and revel in your personal style.
11. When you're up to your eyeballs in diapers, call for reinforcements.
Whether you're caring for one baby or three, some days are really hard. Take the afternoon off by calling your spouse, a relative, neighbor or friend to lend a hand. They will understand, and you can offer to trade favors.
12. Say no.
Be nice about it, but firmly say no to the projects that don't seem feasible for your schedule. You and your family's well-being should always come first.
13. Be organized.
Life goes so much smoother when the mail, school papers, children's shot records, and your myriad of paperwork and stuff is categorized and in its proper place. If organization isn't your strong suit, get someone you trust to help you. This article offers some tips on organization.
14. Make time for prayer.
Talk to God for five minutes each day. Ask him to bless and protect your spouse, children and home. Pray that he'll direct and guide you as you take care of your children.
15. Tell your kids you love them.
Every day, whether they're toddlers or teens, squeeze your kids and whisper loving words.
Because you love your children, relish your role as a mom. Don't beat yourself up over what you can't do. You know your limits and your family's needs, so live accordingly.