To moms of kids preschool age or younger...
This blog post if for all the moms out there, at home with their young kids. Particularly, those of you moms whose kids are not old enough to go to school just yet.
I have a four-year-old, a two-year-old, and a nine-month-old.
One of my goals in life, for which life coaching has become a vehicle, is to be a resource for those of us mommies who are at home with multiple little ones, or maybe even just one little one - all under the age of a kindergartener. I understand that moms whose kids are in school fight their own battles, but me -- my experience and my help is mostly directed to those of us in the trenches.
While I cannot change the hours your husband works, or the way your children behave, as your life coach, I CAN aid you in setting yourself up for success.
Yes, I can do that by sharing practical tips, such as laying out the kids' outfits the night before, pre-packing snacks before the kids wake up, etc. But, what I find even more helpful, and what pulled me out of my second bout of postpartum depression when I had a three year old, two year old and new baby, are the following life coaching tools.
Your only job every day is to love your children. Let this be your guiding north star.
Yes, you want to protect them, feed them, discipline them, make sure their hair is combed and their breath doesn't stink (right?). But truly, at the basis of all of that, is love for your children. So, keep it that simple. Here is why this is so helpful: we can sometimes make to-do lists that tower over us, or be hard on ourselves when the house isn't clean at the end of the day. But if your one and only job every day is to love your children, then it means that every day, you can be a success. Anything else you're able to accomplish is a cherry on top.
...Your inner perfectionist wants to say to me, "But what about the dishes in the sink? or the laundry?" ...Like I said, those are wonderful extras if you get to them. But if you don't, you still loved your children at the end of the day. And when they grow up and look back, really, love is what truly matters.
(P.S. - I created a quiz to help your inner perfectionist - take it here.)
And let's be honest, you will find a time to clean and do laundry at some point. In the mean time, love your kids. That is your only to-do each day. The rest is extra and nice if it happens.
Two. Work toward responsible reactions.
To empower you to react how you wish you did to your kids' behaviors, I'm going to teach you a principle in life coaching we call "circumstances are neutral".
A circumstance is anything outside of your person; things other people do or say, the weather outside, which produce is available at the grocery store, what the President says, your grandmother's maiden name, etc.
In life coaching we teach that all of these things are NEUTRAL to begin with. It is your thoughts about these things that assigns meaning to them.
Here is an example:
"Scientists in China successfully cloned a goat." This is a circumstance, so it is neutral. One person may think, "This is dangerous and cruel and unnatural", while another person may hear the same exact news and think, "Yes! This is so exciting, cloning can be used for so much good."
Circumstances are neutral.
One person may think a school shooting is terrible, vile thing, while another person, the shooter perhaps, may think it was deserved and justified because the world is overpopulated.
Am I suggesting you should think school shootings are okay? Heavens, no. There are certain things in life that we want to continue to believe are terrible and absolutely not okay. Killing other people is one of those things. But, my point is to illustrate: The choice of how you feel is yours, always. Why is this such an amazing principle? Because it sets us up to ACT, not be acted upon.
When your toddler hits his sister, or pees his pants (again)... when he refuses to eat his breakfast, or throws a fit at the grocery store because you told him you weren't buying any ice cream today, these circumstances are neutral.
You (and I) most likely have thought habits in response to any one of those toddler situations. Next time something like this happens, though, I want you to think: this circumstance (whatever your child is saying or doing) is neutral. What thoughts do I want to think about this, and how do I want to feel about this? This practice will allow you to be in more control over your reactions. Remember, our kids don't MAKE us feel or do anything. Take responsibility, and watch yourself react better.
Let your motherhood look like whatever it needs to look like.
I'm going to tell you something that I used to have a lot of shame about: I just enrolled my kids in daycare.
It's amazing sometimes, and I miss them sometimes. But mostly, I love it and needed it.
I don't know for how long they will go to their in-home daycare, but I know that right now it feels so right and good for our family. I could tell you a long list of reasons, in an effort to keep you from judging me, but I am okay with my decision. And I love me, despite the fact that I never expected to have my kids in full-time daycare.
When it comes to being a mom, we find new strengths, and we also find new limits. This is the nature of motherhood. A key skill to survival long-term as a mom, is to be aware enough to recognize what those strengths and limits are, and to honor yourself enough to heed them and work around/with them. That includes letting your husband know of those needs.
A word on husbands: It is not your husband's job to meet your needs. It is yours. If he chooses to help you out around the house, awesome. If he does not, you either be okay with it, or you clean it yourself, or you hire a cleaner, etc. If he will not help, find a solution to the mess that does not involve him, rather than resenting him and barking orders. Then you can get back to loving and enjoying him! (Doesn't that sound nice?)
I am here for you if you would like some life coaching, or just to talk further about what's here. Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org , or make an appt to chat with me.
I am in your corner. I will do anything to help you, mamma.