We all feel that mom – guilt some days. The days where we are rushed off our feet, in between school runs, cooking, work and errands. Or if we are home full time, the days where we are juggling housework and homeschool lessons, noise and shopping. When we get to bed at the end of the day, we find ourselves feeling guilty at how little one on one time we actually spent with each child.
Mom guilt also kicks in on the other extreme – for those of us in the position to stay home with our children full time or half day, we find ourselves surrounded by toys and cheerios, teddies and bibs, and have moments where we feel. so. bored. Yes, we adore our kids, but especially when they are very young, we can find ourselves bored at the constant rounds of nappies, soft books and cartoons. We’d give anything for an adult conversation or a coffee date with a friend. Bored. Frustrated. Wishing you could do something more constructive with your time. And mom guilt kicks in. Because you love your kids, and you see the value in being with them, but you also feel frustrated and bored as hell.
So how can you turn it around? How can you change your feelings of frustration and boredom into something else?
Remember that quality is key, not necessarily quantity.
Studies have shown that between the ages of 3 – 11, quantity of time spent with children is not necessarily as weighty as we think it is. Rather, it’s the quality of the time you spend with your kids that is important and effective. Better a shorter amount of time spent with your children, where you are upbeat and present and purposeful, than many hours of burnout and lethargy and aimlessness. Kids need time alone to play and learn through play, and sometimes it’s okay to stop being a ‘helicopter mom’, put the mom guilt aside, and take time out for a coffee while your kids play freely.
Don’t neglect yourself.
Keeping yourself stimulated and mentally challenged can do wonders for your outlook on your day. Compartmentalising your day or week into time slots where you take time out to work on yourself, on a hobby or just reading a good book, can put your time spent parenting into perspective. If you find yourself frustrated with the mundane parts of parenting, take a step back, give yourself some me-time, and step back into parenting with a fresh outlook on how really awesome your time spent with your child is, even if it is cuddling in front of a cartoon, or blowing bubbles on a little tummy while changing the hundredth nappy. Your little ones will grow up so fast, and soon they won’t be this age, and you won’t be doing what you are now. Enjoy the mundane things, they will pass too soon and you will miss them.
If a schedule keeps you sane, make one.
If you need to structure your time with your kids, do so! If you have very young kids, it may feel like your time revolves around playing catch up with housework and little feet, but creating a schedule for everything will help you feel more purposeful each day.
Remember your value as a mom.
These days fly by so fast. It feels like just the other day that I was at home, changing millions of nappies, cooking endless meals no one liked and aimlessly cleaning and feeding and changing kids. I was lonely and it felt like it would all continue forever. Now, I have a six year old who can climb the back gate, a five year old daughter with awesome attitude and imagination, and a two year old who is learning new words every day and makes us all smile with his cuteness. I’m never bored. Noone likes my food still, but that may change in a few years when they are all teens and can take turns cooking what they like, for all of us. Hah! Never forget, even in the boring times, in the times you are in yoga pants covered in baby food, dying for a morning off to sleep, how valuable your role as a mom is. It is worth it, and it gets easier. These are the good times, and one day you will miss them. All of them!