All mothers struggle with mommy guilt and making the best choices for their children, but if you follow these 9 simple pieces of advice that will make you a better mother, not much else will matter.
These 9 Pieces of Advice Will Make You a Better Mother
You may have received a ton of advice from friends, family members, and even perfect strangers when you were about to become a mother, or even now that your kids are a little bit bigger. I swear, every time I go to the grocery store or take a walk around the block, someone needs to give me a secret parenting tip or tell me I've "got my hands full."
Everyone has a story and words of wisdom to share. Some of it’s good and some may not fit your life or your children. You’ve probably listened, smiled, and nodded in agreement to most of the advice, but in the back of your mind, you’re probably reevaluating your choices with every word. Not everything will fit you and that’s okay. But there are some pieces of advice that will truly make you a better mother that you should always listen to. So if no one has told you yet, read ahead, breathe deep, and know that no matter what, you are their mother.
9 Pieces of Advice Will Make You a Better Mother
The hardest thing as a mother, or a parent in general, is to feel completely confident in your choices regarding raising your children. There's so much information out there these days, in books, on the internet, on forums, in mommy Facebook groups... Every little thing will make you question your methods, but all you really need to do is follow these simple pieces of advice and the rest will fall into place.
1. You Know Your Children Best: The first thing you should always keep firm in your mind is that you know your children best. You are the one raising them, regardless of whether you gave birth to them, adopted or had a surrogate. You’ve loved them before anyone else, more than anyone else, and you’ve spent more time with them than anyone else. If there’s any advice given that doesn’t seem to fit you, rest assured that you are their mother and know them better than anyone else does.
2. Your Children Love You: For better or for worse, your children love you. They are the only critics you need to worry about. Oh, sure, every parent will probably go through the whole “I hate you” phase. Blow it off and keep going. Don’t take to heart those types of outbursts and don’t take to heart any words from those outside of your home who may make you feel otherwise.
3. It’s Okay to Indulge: This piece of advice not only pertains to your children but for you as a mother as well. It’s okay to indulge. It doesn’t always have to be indulging in sweets and things like that. Indulging teaches self-control if done properly. It helps children to appreciate the finer things in life if you’re not always putting restrictions on them. If you allow your kids to have an extra piece of cake or play a little past bedtime, or if you allow yourself the extra cake or few more minutes in the bath, the world will not stop. Life as you know it will not end. You will all just enjoy it a little bit more for the moment.
4. Skip the Big Dinner Occasionally: If your kids just don’t want the overly nutritious meal, skip the big dinner occasionally and have the mac n’ cheese instead. Or set some veggie sticks out along with some other finger foods around the table and maybe play a game while munching. Good family time and no fussy dinner time! Sometimes it's just better to let the dinner battle go, and spend time together. (You can always make them eat extra veggies tomorrow!)
5. Put the Phone Down: It’s so easy in these full-on technological times to jump for your cell phone every time it rings, or you want to take a picture to capture the moment. If you find yourself doing that while you're with your children: just put the phone down. If you pick it up, even to take pictures, you are taking away from the experience. You are too busy documenting it to actually live it. Be there with your kids, not on the sidelines as their photographer. The call can wait. The email or Facebook post can wait. And the picture will be replaced by even better memories that you'll actually be IN.
6. Enjoy Life: Most people struggle after having children, and you may be no exception. The concept can be hard, but you can enjoy life. You work hard, either at home or at your job (or both for those work-at-home moms out there like me!). Make sure you take time to enjoy the life and the family that you're working for, or it's all for nothing. You may not be able to take your kids to Disneyland or on a big vacation, but you can still enjoy the park, camping, and other local attractions. In relationships especially, time is the most valued currency. You don't need anything expensive or fancy, just spend time with the kiddos that you love. Too many people associate enjoying life with money. A little creativity goes a long way and your kids can help remind you of that if you take the time to notice.
7. You Don’t Need to Pinch Every Penny: It is definitely recommended to have a little savings for those moments that kind of throw you behind the bills. However, don’t get too caught up in the notion that you need to save every single penny towards the future - you don’t. This is not saying you should spend everything and be in dire straits all the time, but what good is the future you’re planning for if you don’t spend a little now and make use of the memories while you can? Be frugal, not a Scrooge, and you will find that the future you were so concerned about is that much richer.
8. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: Choose your battles. There's so many mommy wars going on: Bottle vs. Breast. Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable. Organic or not. And it's totally likely that you're having many of those wars with yourself in your own mind, trying to decide what's best to make sure your child is happy and healthy. But you know what? Most of that stuff just doesn't matter. My son is going into kindergarten this year, and no one at his placement screening asked me if I breastfed him or when he started to walk. They didn't care about any of that because what matters most was that he was happy and healthy and they could see that he was. So worry about the big stuff. But don't worry about everything. Let the small stuff go, and you'll find that everyone is happier.
9. Say I Love You Every Day: Most importantly, tell your child you love them every day. Give them hugs and kisses. Smile when you see them, and let them know that you're happy to see them. They might know you love them, but it does wonders to hear it, too. Tell them you love them at bedtime so that it's the last thing they hear before sleep and the first thing they remember in the morning.
Take note of these 9 pieces of advice that will make you a better mother. Trust your gut and enjoy your children!
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