I’ve found lately that the more I challenge myself as a mom, the better of a mom I seem to be.
So, here are a few things I’ve decided to stop doing, which has had a positive impact on me and my kids. Some of these things may seem so minuscule — but you’d be surprised how many of us moms fall into these negative traps without even realizing it!
1. Speaking negatively about my appearance. I discovered after I had babies that my mindset when it came to my body was not very healthy. I was always saying things out loud to people about myself — degrading my appearance and coming up with a million reasons why I looked terrible when I bumped into them in the grocery store.
The truth is, I’m probably the only one thinking such terrible thoughts about me. My friends who see me out and about in town aren’t saying to themselves, “Man, she looks so terrible. Why didn’t she spend more time on her hair this morning?” Instead, they are probably thinking exactly what they say when I see them: “It’s so great to run into you! Your boys are so adorable!”
So, I recently started changing the way I talk about myself. It’s a process — but the more I keep my mouth shut, the better I seem to feel. Gives a whole new meaning to that old saying, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
2. Pacifying my children with screen time. This one can be tough, especially for single parents, but it’s a really important one. I know it’s not realistic to never allow your babies to watch cartoons, kids YouTube, or movies. There is a time and place for that, but my boys know that in our home, we have a no-TV policy during the week. On nights when they don’t have pre-K the next day, we allow them to watch movies or certain cartoons — but not on weeknights. This has given us more time to sit together and spend quality time as a family. Playing, reading, and talking to God have become regular nightly things for us, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
3. Not letting other people watch my kids. I’ll admit it: I’m a control freak. Which makes it really hard for me to let people babysit my children. My need for control coupled with anxiety about something bad happening to my children means it isn’t easy for me to drop off my kids with ANYONE. This is where trust comes in. Clearly, I do my research, and I only leave my boys with family or friends who I trust are a safe choice. Not only does this give me time to myself to get a lot done in a short period of time but it also teaches my kids how to socialize and to trust people who are trustworthy.
4. Refusing to wear a bathing suit. I’m pretty sure no woman in the world feels 100 percent comfortable in a bathing suit. I know I don’t. But what am I going to do when we vacation at the beach? I’m going to put on a bathing suit and be kind to myself. I just get in that Spanx one-piece and rock it out. I’m not going to let my kids miss out on me swimming with them and having fun because of my own insecurities. So what if my body isn’t perfect? No one’s is.
5. Neglecting my own body’s needs. For example: Every day, I try to drink 80 ounces of water. This may seem like a small thing, but a lot of times when we think we are hungry, we’re actually dehydrated. You’ll be surprised what hydration does for your mental stability, your skin, and your digestive system. Yes, you’ll need to use the potty more often — but what better way to potty train your toddler than to constantly be heading to the bathroom? :).