Being a Mom can be a tiring job that never lets up. Day after day, doing the same tasks. Running the kids to school and to activities. Working in-home and out of home. Washing dishes, sweeping, picking up the same toys over and over. Laundry. Teaching the kids how to do things, even though it’s faster to do it yourself. Figuring out what a consequence should be, and holding firm in the face of large, watery eyes and “it’s not fair!” Trying to find a few minutes to rest and recharge will make space for gratitude.
Sometimes busy, drained Moms need to stop and refocus on what you are grateful for about these things. Counting blessings is a real help in remembering what you love about your life with these children. Remember the swelling feeling of love and relief you had that they are here, finally, as you held them in your arms the first time. Look at their baby pictures, and compare with how much they have grown. Look at the pictures you have hung on the fridge or tacked to the bulletin board. Remember how adorable they were when they gave those to you, and how proud you are at how they’ve grown.
Focus on how thankful you are for the sound of their feet tapping on the floor. Picture how cute it was that time they tried to make you breakfast. Remember some of the times you had to work so hard keep a straight face when dealing with something they’d done, only to collapse into laughter when alone.
Gratitude allows us to lovingly remember
… their first word, first tooth, the first time they let go of the table and toddled over to you, grinning happily the whole time until you swooped them up into your arms. Remember the first time they said, “I love you.” Focus on how grateful you are that you made these amazing little people. They are yours and you are theirs, and they are awesome.
Sure, it’s a big responsibility and can be incredibly draining when all the tasks of the everyday pull you a hundred different directions. There are a lot of ways you can work a little calm in the chaos and gain some time for your gratitude-focused meditation.
Plan ahead the night before
Help the children lay their clothes out so they can dress (or try to dress) themselves in the morning. Have lunches packed and bookbags ready to go. Have whatever you need to take with you laid on a counter or beside the door so there is no frantic looking for your purse at the last minute.
Have a bedtime routine with your children that starts at a specific time, about half an hour before their bedtime. Their bedtime will be before yours; depending on age, children require 4-6 more hours of sleep than adults. They will complain a little when you start the new habit, but will be healthier and better rested for it. Then you have after the kids’ bedtime and before your bedtime as space for you to wrap up a few things, and relax and renew yourself.
Plan to go to bed yourself half an hour earlier than usual so that you have more a restful night’s sleep and a little more energy in the morning.
Spend 15 minutes a day by yourself focusing on what is right in your life, on the things that are most beautiful and how glad you are for them. Give yourself permission for this small space of peace. Realize that your health and well-being are as important as the kids. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and without a task for a few minutes and wallow in what is positive about your life. For this time, banish to-do’s, problems, and worries and bless yourself.
Find some time for personal creativity. Get the kids into a routine of quiet reading time, or playing outside time, or creating something independently. Spend that time doing something creative that you enjoy; this will help you feel renewed and refreshed.
Take a few slow, deep breaths. Even if you are right in the middle of a dozen different things and the kids are getting on your last nerve, you have time to breathe. A few deep breaths helps your body release stress and your mind refocus and engage. It gets you a little bit of space so you can respond calmly. It’s amazing the impact this has. The power of gratitude changes our outlook, it makes us happy and somehow equips us to cope and push through the constant challenges of Motherhood.
Finally, realize that you are a good Mom. You love your kids, you show them you love them, and you are doing really well! Be gentle with yourself.