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How to Be a Better Mom

April 21, 2008

I spent this past weekend alone – resting with the dog, no kids, no husband, and barely enough housework to call it so!  It was much needed, for many reasons, but what I got out of it the most was…catching up on Oprah!  (Did you think I was going to say something really healthy, like lots of exercise?)  

So as you know, I continue to believe that any FitMomma out there is not only working out her exterior, but more importantly, she’s continually working on her interior.  True health is mental and physical, and say what you will about the Queen of Entertainment, but Oprah really does have amazing shows on working on your mental health.  She’s so mainstream and popular, I want to not like her, but I just can’t.  The woman just really knows how to tap into what I need to hear.
What I got out of many of the shows I watched were steps I can take to be a better mother – and woman.
Stop Putting Yourself Last – This weekend was a good example.  I was spent.  The next six weeks of our lives, we are traveling out of town four of them, and have family coming to town for big events for the other two.  Besides needing to lay low because of my early pregnancy, I needed a weekend to recharge.  I am no good to anyone if I’m not good to myself.  Say That Out Loud to Yourself!  “I am no good to anyone if I’m not good to myself!”
Spend 10 Minutes In Silence Everyday – Do you think I’m crazy?  Ok, if this is completely foreign to you, or impossible sounding, try just five minutes or even one minute.  Set the timer if need be.  But pick a time (when you first wake up might be easiest), spend time awake, but in silence.  Listen to what’s going on inside of you.  Take deep breaths and relax.  You’ll find some amazing answers to your daily problems in these moments of peace.
Learn to Say No – For a man, no is no.  For a woman, it’s the beginning of a negotiation.  You cannot attend every single family/friend function.  You cannot accept every bit of overtime handed to you.  Your kids have to learn the disappointment of learning they can’t have everything they want.  I guarantee there will be those that are upset with you, but they will get over it, and you will find yourself more at peace and feeling less chaotic.  Be honest with yourself and others, and learn when to say “When!”
Don’t Let Any Thing Define You – The least interesting things about you are your race, sex, clothes, hair or makeup.  You are not the designer purse your carry, or the car you drive, or the neighborhood you live in.  Those are things, and give no one a true idea of the wonderful, unique person you are inside.  You are the experiences that have defined you, your attitude, your humor, the way you treat others.  And stop judging others on those exterior things – you may be passing up on an amazing friend and teacher.
Never Stop Asking “Who Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?” – Conventional wisdom has us decide what career we want to follow when we’re in high school or college.  First of all, we are not our career.  Second, what we want continually changes through our life, and we need to continually seek out what we want out of ourselves.  Wife, Lover, Mother, Friend.  Poet, Doctor, Accountant, Artist, Writer.  We can be all of these or any number of other things.  Continually evolve and learn, and you will never feel stuck.
If you’re not sure what any of these things have to do with being a better mom, just give them a try.  I suspect you’ll find that you’re more at peace, happier with who you are and where you are, and will suddenly find yourself being present with your children – and that’s the best a mom can do!
I have no read the book yet, but understand that Maria Shriver’s “Just Who Will You Be?” is an easy, inspiring read, and plan on getting my hands on a copy soon.  I’ll let you guys know what I think.
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