Finding the "Best Mom Ever" Within You
Forty weeks and five days.
Forty weeks, five days, and fifteen-and-a-half hours of labor. After what seemed an eternity my baby boy was in my arms. I was thrown into a world of breastfeeding, endless laundry cycles, and poopy diapers. Many would think that is what turns women into mothers. Although the wait time seemed like forever and the diaper-changing was laborious, I believe what made me a mother was more than just that.
Looking at my baby boy while he slept to make sure he was breathing; feeling helpless when he was sick; feeling like I had won the lottery the first time he said “mama”; and crying on his first day of school, were only some of the moments where I felt, “WOW! I am actually a mom!”
When our kids are sleeping and appear like loving angels - we love them to pieces. However, when they are awake (although we still love them) we may sometimes wonder where these little monsters came from! Through the first few years, as mothers we may “lose” ourselves, which may ultimately affect our families.
Here are three simple tips to help you keep your sanity and to define your role as the “Best Mom Ever.”
1. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
Scrolling through pictures on social media, it can be easy to get caught up with the “perfect” life, or the “right” way to raise your kids. Do not compare yourself to others. The truth is, kids do not come with a manual. What works for you, may not work for others. It is okay to eat Cheerios for dinner or extend your child’s bedtime to a time that works for you. Kids will tell you what they need… all you have to do is listen! Listen to your heart about what works for your family.
Loving and listening unconditionally can be different depending on your child’s age. Set apart 10-20 minutes a day to play whatever your kid wants to. Get on the floor and pretend to be a troll. Learn to play Fort Night. Listen to their dating woes. The balance between knowing them as friends, but having boundaries as parents, helps you become your child’s rockstar for always!
2. INVEST IN YOURSELF
When our kids are young we put our all into the “mom role” that we can sometimes lose ourselves in that role. It is important to invest in yourself and partake in regular self-care. In order to do good, we must feel good, and it would not hurt if we look good too! 😊 Watch everything you do, as your habits mold their choices. As sentimental as our kids’ precious moments may be, as mothers we must still remember there was a warrior woman standing before she became a momma. Go out with friends, get a mani-pedi, or maybe sit down while drinking that cup of coffee before the household awakes. Investing in yourself may make you a more patient and happy mom.
3. THINK POSITIVE
Being a mom is tough. Nights are long, but the days are short. While the tantrums may seem to be never ending, watching them sleep is a blessing. The way we think and speak has a big impact on the way our kids think and speak. When frustrated instead of immediately yelling, take a deep breath and simply say, “Remind me where the Legos are supposed to go,” “Show me how to do that again the right way,” “Let’s try that one more time.” While yelling may come naturally (and quickly), we may end up upsetting our kids, and frustrating ourselves. Let’s speak positive. Let’s think positive. And believe in “the power of yet,” so your children know they can be anything they want to be.
You are one awesome mom! Sure the house can always be cleaner, there is always one more book which can be read, and you may not make it to each and every game or concert. But the truth is, YOU ARE DOING GREAT WORK! When your kids grow up they will not remember how much you worked or how much money you made; they will remember the special times and all of the laughs.
I would personally like to thank my tribe... my cousins, aunts, sorority sisters, colleagues and girlfriends. It is with your help, advice, and humor that we hold the reigns of motherhood together and successfully. I thank you for the long talks and shoulders to lean on (and sometimes to cry on!). And of course, to my own mother, who has been my amazing role model and “shero.” Gracias mami.
May your Mother’s Day, and every day, be filled with love from all those who acknowledge and appreciate your superpower.
Always learning, always growing, always aiming to inspire!
Vanessa De Jesus Guzman is an Educator and a Board Certified Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked with children and families for two decades. Vanessa is the owner and CEO of Free to Be Mindful - a private practice located in Ridgefield, New Jersey.
Vanessa is passionate about helping moms, kids and educators with mindful living, mental health and personal growth through efforts including:
Host of the Free to Be Mindful Podcast which provides bite-sized tips and guided meditations to anyone working with kids
Founder of Amiga Moms, a supportive network for 21st century moms offering educational events founded in mindfulness
Public Speaking and Professional Development for parents, educators and young adults on topics such as mindfulness, building healthy relationships with kids, self care, mental health and more.