Despite my best attempts, I am not a perfect mom by any stretch of the imagination. I know this may be a big surprise to the handful of people who read this column.
As every mother can attest to, there is always something to feel guilty about or something that needs to be crossed off the list. Is there anyone who is completely happy with their weight? I’ve been trying to lose an extra eight pounds since my son was born. It hasn’t happened yet and it’s been two years.
We all want more quality time with our kids and to make more healthful meals, among a zillion other goals, but I have decided that instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I am going to resolve to make small, everyday changes and commit to working on them throughout the year.
I’m also going to be more thankful for the tiny victories in life, like my son sleeping through the night consistently now (yes, it only took him two years to master this skill!). Most of his teeth have come in now, too, except for a couple of back molars, which I am bracing myself for. But before I know it, he’ll be potty trained, talking in clear sentences so there is no more confusion, and then – BAM – I’ll be wondering where the time went as he asks me for the keys to the car.
Here are five New Year’s “work-in-progress” goals that every mom can benefit from:
Just say no
So many busy moms plow through the day with the superwoman complex, but really, who are we trying to impress? Instead of agreeing to every request that comes your way (for example, volunteering at the school bake sale when you already have to cart your child to swimming lessons, or arranging a play date with a friend’s daughter when you already have three errands to run that day), try practicing two mantras: “I’ll have to get back to you” and “not now.”
You don’t have to offer long, drawn-out excuses or apologies – just be firm and move on. Very hard to do, but I’m sure you’ll get over it pretty quickly, especially when you realize you’ve freed up some precious time instead of double-booking yourself. Which leads me to…
Every mom needs a girl’s night out or a date night with her significant other; and if going out is not your cup of tea, then wouldn’t it be nice to lock the door and tuck into some take-out and a really good book or movie – uninterrupted!?
Everyone needs to recharge and decompress and, from my experience, it seems men are very good at doing this while women get riddled with guilt. We should take a page from their book and drop the mother’s guilt every once in awhile. Besides you can’t take care of anyone until you’ve taken care of yourself first. Commit to doing this once a month.
It is very hard to go to the gym while working and raising small children, but you can still walk to the park, do Pilates or yoga at home, swim in the pool, or go for a stroll on the beach with your child or pet. Just 20 or 30 minutes a day will also do wonders for your stress levels. If you make it an every day, fun activity, it won’t feel like exercise.
If you don’t have a cleaner and you have it in your budget, spare yourself the stress and hire one once a week or every second week. There are many great trustworthy domestic helpers on island willing to pick up an extra shift or two, and they will make your life so much easier – and referrals from friends are always the best way to go.
You can also save yourself the agony of grocery shopping. Many of the grocery stores on island offer a delivery service. Just go online and pick your items and have them dropped off at your door. I’ve tried it a few times and I think I will make this a more regular occurrence in 2015.
Embrace the chaos
It’s impossible to enjoy all moments of being a mother, and if I had a penny for every time someone said to me “they grow up so fast,” I would have enough cash saved up to buy myself a time machine.
It’s hard to understand this concept when you are in the thick of parenting young kids; however, I am starting to “get” it now – especially when I look back at photos of my son from a year ago. ‘How did he get so big?’ I ask myself every single time I browse through the albums.
Despite the stress and exhaustion that some days bring, for 2015 I also resolve to live in the here and the now, and maybe take a few more videos and pictures to help jog my memory in 10 years’ time when I look back to these hazy early years of parenting.
I accept that there will be good days and bad days, but hopefully with a lot of positive thinking and some dogged determination, at least a few of these goals will stick for me or any mom in Cayman, no matter your age or the age of your kids. After all, being a mom is a tough gig, but someone has to do it … and it might as well be us “work-in-progress” moms.
Happy New Year everyone!