If there’s one thing I’m good at in life, it’s habits.
Waking up at the same time every day, tending to eat the same thing most days, and generally feeling comfortable having a routine that I stick to are things that make my world go round. I’m not a big fan of change and I love tradition. I only wish I could say that all my habits are good ones! Just because I wake up at the same time every day, doesn’t mean I’m well-rested. I am constantly trying to turn all my habits towards the good, even it takes a few tries to make it happen.
But despite not being perfect at the nature of my habits, I still see their value, especially when it comes to this whole motherhood thing. I am by no means claiming that I am the world’s best mom, but I’ve definitely learned the things that make life easier in the 4 years since becoming a parent. I’d love to share some of my healthy habits of a successful mom in hopes of helping another mama out there, so keep reading!
1. Find Your Tribe
We’ve all heard the various saying about how it “takes a village” to raise a child and I’m sure on some level we all KNOW that deep down. But in the throes of motherhood, we often feel alone on a day to day basis. Sometimes we don’t feel like making an effort to get out of the house for a playdate, or become part of a moms group to find new friends. It’s exhausting. But as moms (and WOMEN), we NEED each other. Even if we aren’t talking overtly about mom things, we need that camaraderie, and just the presence that someone else knows what we are going through and that they care. Find your mom tribe- whether it’s your neighbors, Bible study group, moms club or preschool mom friends and cling to them!
If you are in between tribes, or just now sure how to find one, we recommend checking out our piece on Surviving Motherhood Without A Tribe!
2. Take Time For You
Now that we’ve just told you to find friends and spend time with them, it’s just as important to acknowledge that you need YOU time as well. This is single handedly the hardest habit for me as a mom to a young child. I often feel guilty for needing time away- as if it’s a reflection of my daughter driving me crazy. While that is definitely true at times, it’s not about her, it’s about ME! I’m still a woman, not just a mom. I need personal time to do things that I enjoy just like I did before she came along. I still have interests, passions and friends that I would like to spend time with and that don’t involve playdates. Plan a night out with friends, take an hour at the coffee shop to read, or just leave the kids at home and run errands by yourself in peace and quiet. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip to the spa to be enough to recharge your batteries.
I often come across lists like this one on how to be the best mom you can be and I’m surprised how many of them don’t involve this habit of exercising. For me, exercise is a MUST. It’s not just about burning off steam from a frustrating afternoon with a 4-year old. It’s about doing something that is for me, releasing endorphins, and just getting a good sweat going. It’s good for your body, but it’s also good for your mind. Take up yoga, running or just some time on the elliptical. Lift weights, follow a workout video or play outside with your kids. You will be amazed how much more patient you are with your kids, and how much better you sleep at night when you exercise.
4. Just Say No
We often get caught up in the whirlwind of pleasing our children that can often lead to over commitment- too many parties, playdates or activities. All the hustling can lead to feelings of stress, overwhelm and in layman’s terms- hating life. I know when we have too much going on, I’m really not enjoying my role as a mom at all. I’ve found that when it comes to being a successful mom, you have to say no. Your child doesn’t need to have a special activity planned every day. You don’t need to have back to back days of volunteer work, regular work and weekend commitments. Choose your activities wisely and leave room for your kids to just be kids, and for you to enjoy life being their mom.
There’s a reason moms everywhere rejoice when school resumes in the Fall- ROUTINE! We love the consistent schedule of school, afternoon homework, playtime, dinner, bath and bed. Schedules help us feel organized and we can better appreciate what we have to do, day in and day out. Even if you don’t have school-aged children yet, you can still benefit from developing a healthy habit of scheduling your day. If you stay at home, plan out your meals, activities in between, and even your errands (those totally count as activities when you have babies!). If your kids are in school, you can still schedule out pre and post-school times. You don’t have to be a slave to your schedule, but you can use it to your advantage to start feeling organized and happy.
6. Have FUN
Being a mom is FUN. But we often put that on the back burner to take care of less-fun things and that’s when being a parent feels like a chore or the worst job ever. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in taking care of things that I need to, like work, laundry and cooking dinner, that I forget how much fun it is to ride scooters with my daughter, or make a fairy garden, or eat pretend food. One of the best parts of being a mom is getting to be a kid again, but it’s one of the easiest thing to forget to do. Having fun is probably one of the best habits you can have as you strive to be a successful mom. If you have to schedule it in, who cares?
7. Give Yourself Grace
Successful moms give themselves grace, and sometimes every hour. You’re not always going to have a perfect day, filled with sunshine, laughter and unicorns. You won’t always get that workout in, avoid blowing up at your kids, or have fun. It’s OK! You can’t live your life as a mom in a constant state of guilt. Learn from your experience and then let the mistakes go. Lay in bed at night and scroll through your camera roll reflecting on the GOOD from the day, not where you were a less than perfect mom. Find beauty in the ways that you are less than perfect, and how your kids love you for that and the mom it has made you.
The truth is, there are many habits you can have and many definitions of what it means to be a “successful” mom. These are some of the things that make me feel like I’m doing the best job I can at being the mom my daughter needs. I’d love to hear some of your daily habits and how you define “successful!”