Being a mum is hard work. Often, I think the dream situation is being a devoted and dedicated stay at home mother, and I truly envy those mothers with the patience and ability to do so. Yet other times, I wish I could dash out the door the moment my kids start acting up. We have heard it a million times, yes motherhood is a hard job, but somehow through the tantrums and sleepless nights, it is definitely the most rewarding.
Over the years, I’ve noticed how, like so many jobs, requirements are changing, times are more demanding and our daily lives filled with many more challenges. As the “job of mother”, our roles change as our kids grow, their requirements and our abilities adapting to theirs. (Except without any salary increase!) Our kids are also surrounded by more stresses, like addiction to social media, cyber bullying, pressure to perform in school, surrounded by little geniuses all pushing the bar higher and higher up. And that pressure, unfortunately also passes to us, and we are challenged to learn how to cope and adapt to support our little offspring.
The pressure of being the perfect mother, one who is smiling, happy and patient isn’t so realistic. We can’t be that all the time, and I think it’s time we take care of ourselves a little, so we can take care of those around us. We need to take pride in being mothers, surely, but we need a little distance from this role to fuel our role as a woman, partner, business woman, entrepreneur, daughter, or any other role you deem important for yourself.
As the founder of Getting to Happy, I believe there are ways we can live happier and more mindful every day. These ways can help set a solid foundation inside each of us, that can carry us into our days and weeks, that helps to build resilience, patience, and that can increase our physical and mental wellbeing. We can learn through my 7 recommendations how to see silver lining and dust ourselves off when we fall, knowing we have the strength to stand back up.
This Too Shall Pass
One of my favorite cards in the Getting to Happy set, is; This Too Shall Pass. When days are hard, I remind myself that everything passes, nothing is permanent, and that at the end of the day when my eyes close, I have no more control, and that tomorrow will come, and I have the opportunity and chance to do, think and be better. As mothers, we get stuck ruminating on bad times, or difficulties our children face at school, or our own stress at work. But if we can try and take a deep breath, and give acknowledgement to things around us, to the things we can change and things we don’t have control over. Learning to be kind to yourself and reminding yourself, that all things are impermanent can have a great impact on increasing optimizing and cultivate a more positive outlook towards life.
Set An Intention
A usual morning for most mothers involves alarm clocks, tired kids, lunch boxes, and a whole lot of confusion that eventually morphs into our day of work, worrying about cleaning, cooking and the other ten thousand things on our to do list. One way to start the day with a little more focus is to begin the day by setting an intention. When the alarm goes off, give yourself a few seconds to visualize your day, and prioritize how you see it. Maybe your intention is to make sure you make it to yoga on time, or to ace your meeting at work, or to be more patience with your toddler. When you set intentions, you bring awareness to your thoughts, shifting mindset towards an outcome you want to achieve. You can set intentions as you carry on through your day, reminding yourself to focus on the task at hand and not let it slip to a negative place.
Planning is Everything
In line with setting intentions, planning is also a serious way to keep our heads above water and not feel overwhelmed. Procrastinating, worrying and feeling overwhelmed are common feels for many mothers, but a way to combat this, is to plan. Plan your day, your week, your month. And the caveat? Write it down. Buy a diary or planner and list out your day. By writing it down, you are able to see it all, and anticipate upcoming tasks, reducing procrastinating, worry and stress. When there is a schedule and routine, it brings about a sense of control and calm.
Every mother dreams of me time yes so many feel it is a luxury they cannot have without tremendous amount of guilt. As mothers, we give so much to our families, that a consistent self-care routine is a crucial way to repair, heal and love oneself. Whether it’s an exercise routine, the right foods as fuel, a hair mask or bubble bath, these are just some small ways we can care for our body and soul. When we nurture ourselves, we feel good from within, making us more positive and happier. To get into that relaxed self-care state of mind, acknowledge things you can do to feel good and avoid emotional burnout. (No one want a grumpy angry mother at home) When we look after ourselves, it boosts our self-esteem and happiness, lowers heart rate and reduces blood pressure. Whether it’s preparing a healthy meal, soaking in the tub or applying a face mask, carve out this feel good time.
You have heard it, you know it, yet making time to exercise seems close to impossible when kids are screaming for you, or your day seems skewed to what your children need versus you. We know the positive benefits exercise has on our physical and mental wellbeing, and how it strengthens our body, increases immunity, reducing aging and stress. When we exercise we release chemicals like endorphins, adrenaline and dopamine all associated with feelings of happiness, confidence and reduces levels of depression and anxiety. So, as you set intentions every day, carve out me time, plan and prioritize, and try to dedicate 30 minutes a day to exercise.
One of my all-time favorite recommendations to living a happier life starts with the practice of meditation. I know that as a mother of two kids, life can be so stressful and overwhelming and have a coping mechanism to reduce the stress, the constant chatter in your mind, is truly lifesaving. I know my mental state has improved drastically through the practice of meditation. In the past, it seemed like a hippy concept suited for yogi’s who could elevate off the floor. This simple isn’t true and the science behind is shows how is improves cognition, enhances empathy, stabilizes stress, increases attention, reduces pain sensation, and regulates anxiety and mood disorders. Start with one minute of silence and concrete on your breath in and out and see how it can literally reset your happiness point.
My favorite card in the Getting to Happy set has to be Gratitude. The practice of gratitude is like working on a muscle. It requires time and patience to make visible change that are long lasting. As a mother, I practice gratitude with my children every night. We share three things from the day they are grateful for. Sharing this gratitude brings awareness to the small things we take for granted and it can bring into perspective to what we should be thankful for.
I hope in these small ways, we as mothers take the pressure off, let thing go, focus on the small things and give thanks where it’s needed. We aren’t superheroes, and that’s ok, we just need to remind ourselves to do as good as we can each and every day.