Being a mom is probably the most rewarding job on this earth. But anyone that tell you it’s easy is not being truthful. It is hard work, and it comes with a lot of worry and stress. There are so many pitfalls that you can find yourself in. Luckily there is plenty of advice to help you steer your ship through the choppy waters of motherhood. So if you are feeling in need of a bit of guidance, read on for some help and support.
From the time that your baby first comes into the world, your whole life is turned on its head. Once their babies are born a mom’s priorities is swayed towards caring for the little ones, even at the expense of their own self-care. It is a huge life changing event, that forever alters the way that mother deal with time and tasks from that moment on. But how does that fit in with all the other responsibilities of adult life?
Well, this priority shift can cause problems for working moms. As they can find it hard to balance the care and attention of their kids with the demands made of them at work. It can be doubly difficult to fit in things like school meetings and dentist appointment because of their schedule.
Happily small changes can help there. Working moms can appeal to their boss to work flextime. Then you can still do the same number of hours but you won’t have to miss your kids first day at school or their end of term play.
Fitting in seemingly little things like dental appointments can be tricky. You need to ask yourself: is the dentist available when you need them?
If the answer is no, then it might be time to switch to a new provider that offers out of hours appointments in the evenings and at weekends. This will help you get all the vital health issue sorted in the limited time you do have.
Stay at home moms have to struggle with time management tool but in a different way. The expectations on the stay at home mom are high. They are often expected to run an immaculate home, cook all the meals as well as raising the kids. They also have an added sense of burden as people expect them to spend most of their day spending quality time with the kids. As if their other tasks wouldn’t take up a full day, without that!
A good way of dealing with this is to try and get into a reasonable routine. Then you can divide your time between the kids and the chores. It can even be good for the kids to have some time without your full attention. So they learn to amuse themselves by practicing their reading or playing quietly.
Another massive issue that mom have to deal with is guilt. That guilt that what they are doing isn’t quite good enough. That they could be a better mom. That maybe they should give up their career and spend all their time at home. Or, that they worry that they are not contributing to the families finances and should go back to work full time. Even though that is not what they want.
Unfortunately, some guilt just comes with the territory. Of course, it doesn’t help either when a group of mothers get into that weird one-upmanship game. So what if little Johnny could count to 10 before he was one? You have to remember that all children develop at their own pace. It is not a race, and it’s certainly not a competition.
So how to deal with mom guilt? Well, it’s a tricky one and what works for one person may not work for another. It is tempting to seek reassurance from our children or spouses, but sometimes this can be counter productive. This is because our sense of self-worth is based on another’s judgment. Of course, usually our kids and spouse will be kind, but not always. So it can be pretty shaky ground.
A combination of self-kindness and clear parenting goals works the best. It is important to set goals, so you know how you will deal with different sort of situations as they arise. For example, your goal may be that you won’t reinforce their bad behavior with attention. The forgiveness comes in because sometimes you’ll slip up and won’t do it. But that is OK. You are only human. As long as you are mostly on track, then you will get to that goal eventually. Meeting your goals will help you see that you are a ‘good mom’ in a way that is defined by you and no one else.
One of the most major pitfalls for moms is sleeping habits. Have you spoken to anyone with kids that have not had some trouble getting them off to sleep at one time or another? Sleep issues can take many forms. Among others, they can want to get into your bed for comfort when they are young. Or they can refuse to sleep and seem full of energy whenever bedtime rolls around.
But how can you avoid this pitfall? Well, there are several methods of encouraging good sleep in your kids, and it is often a case of ‘just try it and see.’ If that one doesn’t work, then go onto the next one.
Some moms like to try to the cry it out method. This means they put their kids to bed and when they cry to get up and for attention, instead of responding the parents just them leave. Eventually, they learn that they crying has no effect, so they stop and just go to sleep. Other parents swear by a good bedtime routine including a lavender scented bath and a story. Still, others use technological gadgets to help such a lullaby mobile or Grow Clocks.
Setting rules and reinforcing them consistently is somewhere where it can be easy for any mom to fall down. Most people are pretty good on the rules side. Don’t shout, don’t run, don’t hit your sister, that kind of thing. But it is the consistency that is difficult to implement.
The trouble is that kids won’t respond to rules if they are not consistently reinforced, and that is where being a mom gets hard.
When people dream of being a mother, they don’t tend to think of repeating rules and actioning the consequences. No one likes to be the bad guy. But unfortunately, that is a big part of it. The kids need to know that if they don’t do something that is asked of them that there is a clear, regular system of consequences put in place. You can see this at work best on TV programs such as Supernanny.
In Supernanny, she warns the child of the rule they are breaking. Reminds them again and then implements a consequence. Which is usually spending time in a “cool down zone.”
This provides a way to remove the child from the situation where they are breaking the rule. It also allows them to have to feel and process their emotional response. The child often learns very fast that they can control their emotional response and rejoin the activity that they were doing.
The whole thing is meant to be impersonal, in a good way. It is not the child that is the problem but the behavior and when that behavior ceases they can carry on with what they were doing.
This is a way of dealing with behavior that can take a lot of stress off mom. But it also has the advantage of not endangering the relationship between mother and child. As the child is not cast as ‘bad’ just the behavior.
The Mother – Child Bond
Something that is a less discussed pitfall of being a mother is that is that it is fraught with change and to a degree loss. From the moment that they are born they are gradually moving away from your protective care out into the big wide world.
Your job is to educate so they can be a successful adult. The problem is that because motherhood requires so much sacrifice, many moms start to see themselves only in that role.
This can create issues when the child go through stages where they are less dependent on their mother. Such as preadolescence and adolescence. It can be difficult for moms that have worked hard to have a good bond with their child, to start to let them go.
So how can this be avoided? The answer is to a greater or lesser extent depending on your personality and viewpoint sand that of your kids, it can’t. All mom are going to experience some pain and strife as their kids get older and start striking out on their own. The best thing is to be aware of it and know to expect it so you can deal with it easier.
Laying the groundwork while they are young for a communicative relationship can also help during the rough times. As can the realization that their desire to leave the nest and live in the big wide world is a good thing. As it means that, at least in some way, you have successfully avoided or transversed many of the pitfalls that motherhood can bring.