Laugh Your Head Off, and More Advice from a Working Mom
I love my work. I love the day-to-day challenges, and knowing I'm doing a good job is a reward in itself. However, there is one thing I love more. The single thing I enjoy most in life is spending time with my family. The people in my family are my favorite people in the world! You could say I get to have my cake and eat it too. I have a great job and a great family life.
Anyone who does the working-mom thing knows that there's more to the picture. Sometimes the cake spills on the floor. Or burns in the oven. Or you forgot to add the eggs when you made it. These things happen. Here is advice that helps me keep my sanity. I hope these tips give you something positive to think about. The small things in life really can be more meaningFULL!
- Laugh Your Head Off
Life, family, and work has plenty of serious moments. These should be offset with peals of laughter! Laugh away your stress. Laughing releases endorphins, which make us feel better. Laugh with your husband and kids. It's a great way to maintain relationships. Plus, it's contagious! Soon you'll get others laughing and feeling better, too. Laughing acts like an antidepressant, lifting our spirits out of the dumps. All sorts of tasks are easier to accomplish when mixed with a chuckle or two.
- Fill Your Life to the Brim
This doesn't mean pack 30 hours worth of life into one day. That's too exhausting. Instead, fill your life up with meaningful moments. Reflect on what your most meaningful moments look like. I love to read bedtime stories to my kids. They bring me a whole stack of books and then climb up on the couch next to me. It's a wonderful time of cuddling, funny voices, and special stories. I also like having one-on-one time with my kids. Those moments usually have to be planned, or they don't happen. So I make it happen by scheduling a day away with Mom for each of my kids. We go out to eat, go shopping, mini-golf, whatever makes us happy! Living my life to the fullest definitely means I share lunchtime with my husband, who loves to make me giggle. Plus, I chat with my best friend every other weekend. Sometimes, though, living my life to the fullest means I take a solo trip to the library, taking deep breaths to relax and enjoy the comforts of being all by myself in a quiet atmosphere.
- Know That You Can't Do It All
Of course, there are days when I'd like to be alone in the library, but instead I'm in a noisy van as I drive my son and his friends to their baseball game. As I'm driving, I tend to mentally tick off all the things I didn't get done yet. Laundry. Send a birthday card to my brother. Pick up milk and bread at the store. I could get really stressed out, or I could shrug it off and sing along to my son's rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The truth is that I can't possibly do everything I want to get done. Laundry will wait another day. My brother is already used to getting late cards. And we can drink water for supper. No problem.
- Read To Your children
I already told you how much I love reading bedtime stories to my kids. Reading to my children not only gives me a good excuse to cuddle with them, it also helps their brains. When you read to children, neurons in their brains become more active, and it actually helps them down the road when they start reading to themselves. I'm a busy working mom, so I want to make the most of my interaction with the kids. Reading to them is a win-win option. It's good for me, and good for them.
- Offer Your Kids Your Support
Unfortunately, kids don't always believe that their parents are on their side. I want mine to know that even though I'm busy, I'm still there for them as much as I possibly can. I want them to know that if they are in a sticky situation, I will do my best to assist them. I want them to come to me with their scraped knees and hurt feelings, believing in the power of Mommy's kiss. When they bring home an art project from school, I try to admire it even though the fried potatoes are burning in the pan. When they have a bad dream, I sit with them in their room, even when I have a presentation at work in the morning. My kids deserve a loving, caring mom, and I am determined to give them the best of what I have to offer.
- Don't Neglect Your Own Needs
I've been saying a lot about serving your kids and family, but now comes the harder instructions. You first need to care for yourself, or you won't be able to take care of your family. Taking care of yourself means exercising so you stay healthier and have enough energy to tackle your day. The great thing about exercising is that you can do it with your kids! Run with your toddler's stroller. Stretch and tone with an exercise video at home. Take nature walks for a gentle workout and a fun activity for your whole family. Make sure you drink lots of water and eat healthy snacks, too. Feeling depressed or confused? You might need to schedule some thinking time, or maybe some time to talk to a trusted friend or counselor. Take care of your body and your mind. It really is that important.
- Forgive and Forget
Life comes with its hurts. Try not to fall into the trap of grudges and bitterness. Instead, embrace the healing nature of forgiveness. What can forgiveness do for you? It can lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety, decrease depression symptoms, and improve your relationships. The next time your husband says something that stings, try to put it in the context of his busy life. Set a good example of forgiveness, and move on with your life!
- Serve Good Food
Bobo's is all about good food, and I am a firm believer in serving food that benefits the body, especially when it comes to my own family. Make a priority of serving healthy snacks, and plan ahead of time for healthy meals. Find a cookbook that offers quick and healthy meals. Just because you don't have much time doesn't mean you can't offer your family great food.
I hope you take this advice to heart. Your love and attention not only benefits the people you love, it also makes you the mom you want to be!