Tuesday, January 7, 2014

10 Ways I've Become a Better Mom

better mom, tips, embracing, parenting, melissa and doug, happy mom, happy kid

So here's a not so awesome fact of motherhood.  A lot of moms spend more time pinning blogging about thinking about cool things to do with our kids than actually doing them.  I will admit I'm so guilty of this.  I've missed many moments playing with Kollyns, dancing with her, dressing her dolls, baking wooden Melissa and Doug cookies, watching her work her way through a puzzle because I was on the computer pinning a new craft to try with her or looking up a new recipe that she would like.  Good intentions, yes...but still missing moments.  So I quit.  Last year I broke up with Facebook and it was the best thing I ever did.  Nothing against Facebook, I think it's a great way to connect with people, but I spent more time connecting with other people instead of my own family.  I still have an Instagram account because I absolutely love the idea of looking back on the year in pictures, and obviously I still have a blog.  But right now as I'm typing this, Kollyns River is asleep.  I will no longer waste moments with her.  Because sure having a blog is great, but relishing precious moments is greater.  On top of this, I began to think of even more things I can do to start enjoying life more and savoring sweet moments with my little one.  So then came the question...How can I be a better mom?  And I started working through things and figuring out how to make it happen.  Ultimately it amounts to this: Happy Mom, Happy kid. 

1.  I use her 'sleep time' as my 'me time'- Lucky for me, Kollyns sleeps until I wake her up.  On week days it's 9am, weekends 11am.  On week days I wake up at 7am which gives me two hours to myself before she wakes up.  If daddy is home, I go workout or go to the grocery store.  If not, I drink 2 or 4 cups of coffee and watch Good Morning America and spend time in the Word and do chores.

2.  I get ready for the day before it begins-  I don't wait until she wakes up to take my shower, get dressed, put my makeup on and do my hair.  If I'm ready when she wakes up, I'm already my best me and I'm not stressed to the max because I have to get ready while my kid whirls around me or because I have somewhere to be and look like I just rolled out of bed.

3.  I keep my eye on the clock-  When I'm late, I'm moody.  And if Kollyns is the only person with me, who will I take it out on?  I want to be the best version of myself for my girl.  The best way to avoid a snappy attitude and a crying kid because she senses my stress, is to avoid the stress factor.  The best way to avoid the stress factor is time management.  The end.

4.  I become a kid with her-  When she plays, I play.  We have dance parties, we build castles out of toddler mega blocks, we read fairytales one right after the other and talk about princesses and magic.  We color until the crayons break, we do 15 puzzles in a row, she rides her scooter through the house while I follow close behind on the plasma car as she squeals with excitement because I'm 'chasing her'.  Fun stuff.  And it takes me to a happy place better than any happy place I've ever known.

5.  I don't major on the minors-  A plate of spaghetti face down on the floor won't matter 20 years from now.  But what will matter is how she saw me handle the situation.  She learns from me, and patience is a virtue.  Patience I shall have.

6.  I keep myself healthy-  Eat healthy, model an active lifestyle, don't be a couch potato, practice good hygiene.   Yep, these things make me feel good about myself...but they are also a great way to model good habits for my kiddo. 

7.  I learn from my mistakes-  I will fail, and I accept that.  No mom is perfect, and there is no perfect way to parent.  There will be mountains and valleys in parenting and in life, and as long as we savor the mountainous moments, and learn from the valley moments....everything will be just fine.

8.  I roll with the punches-  Oh yeah, she will have a meltdown in Target that will generate stares from a gazillion people.  Or you might catch me sprinting through the grocery store trying to catch my little escape artist. But I refuse to lose my cool.  Number one, I've seen first hand the moms that lose their cool in these situations and it is not a good look.  Number two, I realize every parent knows what I'm feeling so I can't feel like I'm being judged.  And Number three,  I don't want my kid thinking that when life get's crazy, it's okay to act crazy.  If I stay calm, it's much easier to calm her down.

9.  We grow together spiritually-  A nightly devotional and prayer time with Kollyns is my favorite part of the day.  We go to bed 30 minutes early, read her princess Bible, talk about the Bible story and she gives me her prayer requests for the day.  There isn't anything sweeter than hearing prayer requests from the mouth of an almost 3 year old.  She listens to me pray out loud, and then she prays.  Talk about a happy mama.

10.  I appreciate every moment-  Whether it's the spilled spaghetti, the Target tantrum, the Barbie Hair Makeover, or the devotional time.  I appreciate all of it.  Because deep down I know that she won't be little forever and I will miss this.  Every little part of my little girl being little. 

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