January is the month some people share their goals and intentions for the new year, which is a good habit! Well, I’m doing something similar. Although I have a few goals, which I’ll share in a later post, I wanted to first focus on some of my habits…specifically to ones that will (hopefully) help me to be a more effective mom.
7 Habits I’m Changing to Be a More Effective Mom
Some habits are hard to break for me because I’m so used to doing them that they feel like second nature. But I’m hoping to change some of my habits in 2020. Not all these habits relate to motherhood though. Some are changes in mindset. But mainly it comes down to a change in behavior and routine. Which will hopefully make me focus on the important things instead of the small things.
I’m not striving to be a perfect mom. I don’t want to be the perfect mom. And I’m perfectly fine with that :). But what I want to be is a mom who can effectively communicate with her kids (still lots to work on in this department), stay in the moment, and have less stress, especially with my kids. I truly believe kids can feel what their parents are projecting, which may lead to more meltdowns (for both kids and parents) and breakdowns in communication. I’m hoping some of these changes in habit will project more of a positive energy with my kids, which will make us all happier.
Stop Talking Over and For My Child
For my mom readers out there, do you remember the early days when your toddler started talking? When it seemed like you’re the only person who could understand what they’re talking about? So you naturally “translate” for them?
Well, I think I’ve been doing that to Luke lately without realizing it. And he’s 7 years old! Luke doesn’t have speech issues. In fact, he can speak for himself just fine. But I started noticing that I would interject when he was in the middle of talking to others, especially other adults. Why? Because I was they wouldn’t understand what he was saying or that I knew exactly what he was saying and I could say it more coherently.
The truth is…he’s grown out the toddler stage but I don’t think I’ve grown out of the stage of “translating” for him. I guess that’s part of motherhood that I’m trying to embrace – realizing that your child is growing up and growing out of stages. I will always be there to support him and back him up if he needs me. But I think he’s perfectly capable to having a conversation with others. I may try to say a few things to guide him here or there. But what I don’t want to do is talk over him and take over the conversation because I’ve basically taken some of his opportunity to express himself.
There have been times this past fall that I have caught myself doing this to Luke, especially around other family members. I have steadily backed away so he could continue and finish the conversation.
I want to change this habit because I want Luke to continue to be confident in speaking with others. I want him to know he has a voice. Most importantly, I want to him to know that he is being heard and that I am listening rather talking over him.
Decrease My Time on Social Media
Every year I tell myself to limit my social media time. To be honest, it gets addictive because it’s a habit to pick up my phone and check what’s going on. I normally start the beginning of the year off great with less time of social media. But as the year progresses, I notice that I’m on it more and more.
I deactivated my personal Facebook account about four years ago because I realized back then that I was spending most of my time on Facebook and Instagram. I made the decision to deactivate Facebook and found that my scrolling time decreased significantly. It actually made me a happier person and I realized I wasn’t missing out on much. If I wanted to know, I would call a family member or friend and ask them how they’re doing.
Now I’m finding myself on Instagram so much for no reason but to scroll. At times I notice I’m doing it while I’m at home with the twins. Instead of playing or interacting with them, I’m looking at my phone.
So I’m making a conscious effort to put my phone away when I’m home. I’ve limited only an hour on social media (there’s a function on your phone to allow you to do that). I’m hoping, well – I know, that the amount of time spent away from social media will result in more valuable time with the twins, to enjoy this fun toddler age. And to set an example to them that I’m not always attached to my phone.
Stop Yelling. Just Talk.
This is such a hard habit to break for me. Why? Because growing up, my family would yell at each other as a way to communicate. Crazy, I know!
But I’ve heard many times Luke asking me why I’m yelling at him. Although some of that yelling was warranted, I’m sure most of it was not.
It’s so easy to try to get the message across when I raise my voice but I think those times should be saved for the really big – “oh no you didn’t” moments. I don’t want my kids to hear that I’m talking down to them but rather talking to them, which will hopefully be a more effective way of communicating my message.
Give Myself More Alone Time
I know this is easier said than done. But I think even five minutes of alone time will make me feel recharged and less stressed. Sometimes I just need the time to figure things out or do nothing. It helps to clear my mind of all the things I think I need to do and focus on one or two things that need to get done.
As a working mom, I feel like time is a valuable commodity. I often find myself with the mom guilt of not spending enough time with my kids because I’m working…so why should I spend my time alone instead of with my kids? And now as the twins are getting older, I can’t find the time to do anything for myself.
But the truth is, we as moms need to take care of ourselves too. Once I know there I have a few moments of peace and quiet, I feel like I’m a calmer person. My goal this year is to go on a spa day every other month. Wish me luck and lots of zen!
Get Plenty of Sleep. Go to Bed Early / Wake Up Early
Okay…I need the twins to help me out with this habit, which is dependent on them. Once they both consistently sleep through the night, I want to wake up early and get some of much needed “me” time. But for now, I‘m going to get all the sleep I can get, even if I have to wake up 3 or 4 times a night.
Sleep is so important. I just hope the twins will understand how good it feels for mama to sleep through the night. I’m sure I’ll have 100 times more energy!
Slow Down. Be Less Busy.
2019 was such a busy year! I filled up our calendars every weekend with something to do. It seemed like we were usually rushing out the house (trying to get three kids out is a lot of work), late to things, and not fully enjoying ourselves. I’m usually the drill sergeant of the family. It gets stressful.
This year, I want to do a lot less of the rushing out of the house and spend more time at in and around the house. I used to think if I’m busy, then I’m productive. That might be true for work but I don’t want that to be true at home.
I’m telling myself that it’s okay to have nothing to do (well, not all the time). I want to slow things down to bring on less stress. I want to slow down and enjoy the moments as they happen instead of thinking of the next thing to do. Changing this habit will hopefully make me be more present with my family, where they have my full attention.
Ask For Help
It’s so easy for me to offer help but so hard for me to ask for help. I think it’s out of habit that I try to do everything myself. But there are times when it does get too much and I start to stress. I’m going to try better to ask for help this year.