As moms we are always striving to be better in every way. While perfection isn't an attainable goal, there’s nothing wrong with trying to be a better mom. With wanting to connect with our children, build a relationship they will want to continue after they are grown, and wanting to treasure every moment along the way. One of my goals for 2016 is just to be a better mom overall and I thought I’d share 20 areas we can all work on to be a better mom (and let go of the SuperMom expectations)!
We all want to be the best parents we can be and everyone has different idea on how to parent, but this post on why you need to be a better parent resonates so strongly with why I chose to start on a more peaceful parenting path. Having your child react to a simple mistake or typical childhood behavior with a worried or scared expression because they are afraid you are going to blow your top is just a HORRIBLE feeling. Many parenting articles I've read focus on WHAT you can do, but not how to get there. I remember reading them thinking “I know I need to yell less, but how do I stop yelling?!?” These 20 ways to become a better mom focus on the HOW, giving you real tips instead of just goals!
20 Ways to Be a Better Mom
- 1 Simple Tip to Help You Stop Yelling: One simple tip to help you to stop yelling is to get close to your kid. So simple and very effective, yet not something I have thought about before.
- Apologize: Moms are human too and we all make mistakes. Sometimes you just have to admit you were wrong and apologize. It doesn’t make you less of a mom, it makes you a better one, actually!
- Physical Reminders: A physical reminder can help tremendously! Having a physical reminder to focus on when I get angry and frustrated keeps me from raising my voice, handing out punishments that I'll regret, or saying things I have no right saying to my children. Every mom regrets it when they just blubber off punishments they don’t mean and are forced to choose between following through to stay consistent or backing down because you went overboard!
- Take A Mom Escape: There are no rules when it comes to a mom escape, sometimes you just need to get out and get some fresh air. Making time for yourself OUTSIDE your house is like hitting a reset button and allows you to recharge yourself.
- Family Commitment Jar: Everyone has to work together in the family to make it a secure and better place to be. Which is why I love the idea of a Family Commitment Jar. Let your children hold your accountable with a commitment jar. When you fall off track with your goal (whether you are trying not to yell, avoid negative words, read to them daily, etc), let them call you on it & then pay up!
- Patience is a Virtue: Being more patient is something every parent should work on. These tips for being a more patient parent are valuable for every parent.
- Become More Compassionate: Sometimes showing our kids compassion is more important than showing patience. Sometimes our kids just need us to understand where they’re coming from. Compassion has a way of calming your child.
- Take up Yoga: You may not know it, but Yoga has so many benefits. If it's not your cup of tea, at least meditate. I feel such a huge difference on the days I meditate verses the days I don't. When we’re relaxed, we can deal with our children much better!
- Work on your Non-Verbal Communication Skills: Body language is so important when dealing with children. They’re watching your reactions more than you know! This is definitely something I need to be working on every day.
- Use the Rubber Band Method: This isn’t something I thought about before, but definitely a great option. When you are tired, stressed, and the kids are going crazy, the last thing on your mind is rewarding someone or the positive behavior one of your children is displaying. This method forces you to focus on the positive!
- One on One time: Spend one on one time with each of your children. I have four and I get a sitter once a week, so every other time I take one of the boys with me on my errands. Grocery shopping with mom doesn't sound like much fun to an adult, but they absolutely love it. We talk about whatever they want in the car and at the store. At home, I alternate between kitchen helpers. Not only do they get one on one time with me then, but they get to be helpful, learn new kitchen skills, and feel a sense of accomplishment when we set the table with a meal they helped prepare.
- Set Realistic Expectations: This is so important as a mom, I hate it when people have unrealistic expectations for me, so it only makes sense to set realistic expectations for my kids.
- Hug Longer: I love hugging and this is such a great reminder. Hugging is a very simple, but effective way to be a better mom.
- Make Calm Down Bottles: My friend Carol over at All Mommy Wants has a great tutorial on these amazing sensory bottles. We made one for each of the boys & I even made one for myself. We use them for “time-out”, which is really just a cool down period for when someone gets too upset to use their words, feels overly stimulated, or gets stressed down. I made my own after realizing how much they helped me chill out one night. The boys were in bed, I was working, but the computer was not cooperating. While I was waiting for a page to load, I picked up one of the bottles off the table next to me and watched it to distract myself. By the time the bottle had settled, I felt much calmer. The next day, I made my own.
- Asked & Answered: My 10 year old HATED this method at first, but with consistency and a little time, the constant begging for me to change my mind on things stopped. I answer the question with compassion, because I know he's not going to like the answer, and explain a little of my reasoning, then I go into asked and answered mode.
- Get on the Same Page As Your Spouse: This tip is so important! These 10 tips can really help you and your spouse parent as a team.
- Give Them Responsibilities: There is nothing wrong with giving your children some chores. It helps you keep your sanity and helps your children learn about responsibility.
- Smile: Ah, yes, this one is something we forget to do for our kids, but it makes us all a better mom. A smile can say so much – “I love you. I'm proud of you. I'm encouraging you. I'm happy for you. I enjoy spending time with you. I like seeing you have fun.”
- Cut Yourself a Break: You’re never going to be a perfect mom, but give yourself a break and don’t stress out when things don’t go your way. Basically, apply all the principles to your own life that you are trying to teach your kids.
- Break out of the anger rut with Put Ups: Stop the negative verbiage that goes on when you are angry, by reinforcing the positive things about your children & yourself.
Being a better mom makes your children better and your life together better. While no one is perfect, I love these 20 tips and how they really encourage me to be a better mom, instead of just pointing out the issues I already know I need to work on! But most importantly, these tips show me HOW to be a better mom!
Note: All of these tips apply to dads too! Since I'm a “mom blogger” I just wrote it as a mom.