With the introduction of Pinterest to the world of motherhood, we have created a false ideal of "the perfect mom" in our heads. We need to stop trying to be "the perfect mom" and start trying to be the best mom for our kids.
Becoming the best mom you can be is not necessarily going to be an easy task. While you may have the skills to be a "super mom" – the ability to change diapers and fix dinner and nurse the baby (all at the same time) – it's often more about being than doing when it comes to being the best mom for your kids.
Here are a few tips for helping you to become the best mom you can be …
1. Do what you need to do
Many of us moms feel like we can't put the kids in front of the TV or DVD player – not even once. While experts are in agreement that daily TV viewing for hours on end is not a good habit, there's no shame in letting them watch something so you can save your sanity (or read a book!). Sometimes you just need a few minutes, and then you're a better mom after a little recovery time.
I jumped off the "mommy guilt over screen time" train a long time ago. Allowing my kids to watch an hour of PBS Kids on the tablet or TV or play on their Kindle Fires is not only educational but calming. We use screen time to bring a sense of calm over the entire household, and it's a great time for me to catch a quick nap or get some work done uninterrupted!
2. Exercise when and how you can
Even if you can't put in an hour in the gym (and many busy moms can't!), don't give up exercising altogether. Just because you can't go all out and run marathons doesn't mean you can't give yourself some much-needed exercise (and the resulting energy boost).
My biggest excuse as a busy mom was that I didn't have kid-free time to be able to workout, so I recently joined the local YMCA in order to be able to workout with my kids in tow (child care is provided at the Y).
If joining the local Y (or another gym) isn't an option for you, look for ways to exercise with your kids (it's good for them to move, too): walk with the baby in a stroller, take your child on a hike, run races, or dance to music indoors.
The point is to move every day for a period of time!
3. Stop the mommy guilt
Mommy Guilt is a deadly trap.
Not only is it counter-productive, it has a tendency to spiral – if you feel guilty about something, then you feel guilty for feeling guilty! And guilt can wear you out, physically and mentally.
So remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. No mom is perfect. If you snap at your kids or "lose it" occasionally, an apology works wonders (once everyone has cooled off).
4. Don't live in your own mom's shadow
This is a tough one. If you had a fantastic mom, you may feel pressure measure up to your memory of how she raised you, and may find yourself falling short. If you had a lousy mom, then you may carry the fear of being like her and try to "rise above" your upbringing.
While learning from your mom is important, it's also important that you "own" your mothering efforts and recognize that you are an individual. Your household won't necessarily look like your mom's household – whether that's good or bad – and you shouldn't expect it to.
5. Hear what your kids are saying
Really hearing your kids – listening effectively – is a key component to being the best mom you can be.
Sometimes listening to your kids means biting your tongue and listening rather than immediately offering to solve the problem. Other times it means you need to be proactive and solve the problem. Most importantly, listening shows your kids that you do care and are there for them.
6. Acknowledge that you can't do it alone
When we try to be the best moms we can be in our own strength and ability, we will fail our kids every single time. It's only when we tap into the source of our parenting power that we can truly be the best moms for our kids.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Pichea Place. It has been republished here with permission.
Ashley Pichea is a busy parent who believes that doing life together as a family is important. She uses blogging and social media to encourage, edify, equip, and educate other busy parents in their quest to do life together with their families.