I've only been in this parenting game for just a little over three years but not too long ago, I started to feel like a complete failure. My son suddenly developed a hitting problem at church which, I do think is something some kids go through, but it made me feel like a terrible parent. His tantrums also started to escalate, which I had thought we were passed that stage (silly me!) and he suddenly started talking back.
As I write this, I'm wondering if this is what that #threenager business is all about!
Not that I was a perfect mother, by any means, but I did feel like I had things moderately under control at most times. But, my son's sudden changes really had me feeling out of control... and I didn't like it. And by out of control, I don't mean that I couldn't control my child, I mean, I felt out of control of myself.
I didn't even want to think about what either of us would become if I didn't get a handle on this... fast!
So, I took a really hard look at myself and made some changes. I promise you in less than a week it's like I had a new kid. Or, more like, I got my old sweet one back!
And I believe it's because I became like a new mom.
Become a better mom in 7 days:
Feed your soul.
Every single day do something that feeds that innermost part of you, the place that desires connection to something bigger than ourselves. This could be sitting in silence (as a mom, you might have to get creative but it can be done), reading your Bible or something else that brings you peace and direction, listening to affirmations or inspirational music, praying or meditating or it could even mean calling that friend that you always can count on for deep and meaningful conversation. Making the feeding of your soul a priority will inevitably lead to a happier you and a a happier you will lead to a better mom.
As moms, we are constantly showing care and love for another person but when we neglect to do the same for ourselves, that love and care can become tainted bitter even. I challenge you for the next seven days to do something for yourself - go get a pedicure (or do your own nails if that’s not possible), read a few pages out of that book you’ve been wanting to read, sit down and watch your favorite show after the kids are in bed, put on some makeup, grab a cup of coffee with a friend, do a face mask - there are many simple ways that you can practice self-care. Just do something to show yourself some love.
Do more of nothing.
As a single, work at home mom with two jobs, I am either working or doing an activity with my son. I am never doing nothing. But when my son turned into a tiny little terror, the first thing I did was start doing nothing. He will frequently ask me to sit and watch a show with him and I will always say no. I mean, I can’t waste time doing nothing, I have so many things to do. I will do a craft, read a book, play outside but sitting and doing nothing is not an option.
What I have had to understand, though, is that it wasn’t doing nothing to him, it was a time of connection and closeness with me. For an entire week, anytime my son asked me to sit and watch a show or to just sit on the couch and cuddle, my answer was yes. Instead of thinking about the things I could be getting done or assuming that him sleeping on top of me all. night. long. was enough cuddle time, I said yes to doing “nothing” with him and it made all the difference.
Every day for seven days, do something that feels like nothing with your child.
Take care of your body.
This could probably go under self-care but I think it’s important that taking care of your body isn’t something you decide to do today and then tomorrow you get a pedicure instead. I made a commitment to do three things for seven days: drink 66 oz. of water (my water bottle holds 22 oz, times 3) , go to sleep an hour earlier and exercise for 10 minutes every morning. These were very small steps to taking better care of my body but committing to do them made a big difference. As for the exercise part, it has become a fun bonding thing for my son and I, too. So it’s a win win!
If you spend even just 10 minutes a day on each of these things, you will feel a difference. You will feel better and that will make you a better mom.
Take deep breaths.
I know we hear this all the time but, seriously, make a promise to yourself that when you are feeling overwhelmed by your child’s behavior, you will stop and take deep breaths. Count to 10. Dismiss yourself if you have to. It’s amazing what a little oxygen to the brain and mommy time out can do. It will give you more clarity before you decide to discipline your child.
Make an Action Plan
If you are serious about becoming a better mom in 7 days, sign up to receive an updated version of this post in a PDF which includes a worksheet where I walk you through creating your “Better Mom Declaration” (action plan).
About the Author
Hi! I'm Inez, the owner and content creator of For the Love of Mom, a website dedicated to helping moms thrive in motherhood by offering helpful advice, tips and resources.