Motherhood is hard.
It's really hard, but there is something fantastic about moms. We can juggle so many things - kids, homework, household chores, bills, shopping and still manage to prepare healthy meals for our family almost every night. Often, there is whining, complaining and tantrums - and it's not just the kids! Sometimes trying to keep it all together and do it well is not only daunting, but also overwhelming.
It's not just you. It's a common problem for most mommies.
In fact, you have probably read a few (hundred) books, blogs, magazines or articles about how to do-it-all better. If you're like me, all of these opinions have made an impression, and likely not all of it is good. I recently read a book (it took all of maybe an hour) called "Mom Rules: Because Even Superheroes Need Help Sometimes" by Soni and Treion Muller (parents of five children). This book doesn't overwhelm, but takes simple steps to help us moms focus on what really matters.
Though we may not strut around in capes (but perhaps we should), it sometimes does seem to take superhuman strength to make it through the day (or just one hour). Well, we don't have to be perfect and we can accept a little help. "Mom Rules" offers some ideas of what moms should know, do and say. Consider it a quick reference guide, or like a little instruction manual for mothers.
Some of my favorite rules are:
Rule 4: Ask other moms for help
I rely on this heavily. I am always asking other moms for opinions and for their experiences. Some of it isn't always a match for me and my family, but often it's at least worth a try. There are also lots of mom websites, mommy bloggers, magazines or groups on Facebook centered on helping moms. It's OK to need help and ask for it. I think it's also perfectly acceptable to vent a little sometimes. Nothing is quite as healing as sharing with another mother who understands.
Rule 26: Your kids are never too old for bedtime stories or chats
I love this rule because I think it is so important to spend time with your kids like this. Sometimes, for me, this is really difficult because by the end of the day, I'm exhausted and tired and just want my brood asleep! But, when I'm able to exercise some extra patience, I never regret a little extra time with my kids. Also, one-on-one time is very beneficial for individual mom-child relationships.
Rule 37: Don't talk negatively about your body
Body image is a major concern in society. Girls start to become concerned with their bodies at an early age, and even compare themselves to their friends' bodies. As moms, the best thing that we can do is to maintain a healthy view of ourselves and our children. Teach healthy eating and exercise as a lifestyle, not just a fly-by-night diet plan. Every "body" is different and no one fits into the same mold.
Rule 70: Let your kids help, even if it makes your life a million times harder
This rule, I know to be true even though my control-freak side struggles to follow it. Kids have to help otherwise they will not be able to learn to do necessary tasks when they move out. Dishes, laundry, cleaning and cooking are all essential basics that must be taught and learned at your side.
Rule 80: Don't compare yourself to other mothers
This one is hard. But the problem is we usually compare our very worst to someone else's very best. Do you see why this is not OK? No two mothers are alike: different upbringings, different children, and different strengths and weaknesses, etc. That being said, refer to rule 4 - there is always something we can learn from other mothers. Do YOUR best and leave the comparisons for grocery shopping sales.
Whether you're a new mom or a seasoned mom or have yet to become a mom, we don't have to make our job harder than it really is - it's already hard enough! There are many resources out there to help (books like the one mentioned, websites, mommy bloggers, articles and magazines). You are not alone and are not expected to do this without help. Seek advice from friends and family and decide what works best. And don't forget to make sure your husband is sharing the load with you!