Every day is the same. We have our to-do lists, but for every item that gets checked off, another 2 tasks get thrown on. Before baby, I had no good excuse for not getting my chores done. After spawning a tiny human, I knew my responsibilities had expanded. We need to reorganize our priorities. My personal goals are still there, but I had to create new goals to bring my baby into the picture. Whether or not we really play a part in who our children are and will be is debatable. Nature has it’s role. But I know that I want my little love to have memories of me being the type of mom she’ll be proud of when she’s older. And I want to do that as simply as possible.
I’ve been building this must do list alongside my regular to-do list. Basically, I prioritize these first. Below is my quick list of things I try to fold into the 3ish hours that I have between work and sleep every weekday. These are the things I consciously tackle in an effort to mold my baby into a strong, attentive, healthy, and happy individual.
Spend 15 minutes outside
Regardless of the weather, dress appropriately and enjoy the outdoors. Rain or shine, it is good for so many reasons. It allows for you to breathe some fresh air and gaze at the sky alongside your little one(s)!
Ask some questions
Age appropriate, of course. But I always loved how interested my kid brother would get once I show an interest in his life. The simplest things like “do you like how this shampoo smells?” would open him up. Give them a reason to talk to you and tell you what they love about life. I always look for ways to focus on the positive, and teach little others how to find a silver lining.
My baby girl gets (unanswered) questions like “what color is this?” #constantlytalkingtomyself
But my goal here is to teach her to look into the interests of others. I want her to see how simple it is to make someone feel important.
Set aside time to throw a cuddle party everyday! It’s good for the soul, and allows you to be present with your little ones. Put the phones down and don’t think about the dishes. Just be mom with them for a minute. Take advantage of any opportunity! It can be hard to lure the older ones over to you, so find them when they’re sitting still and hang out.
Embrace the latest fad
You don’t necessarily need to partake, but at least ask about what is popular or which new thing they are interested in. Find out why they’re interested. This comes back to asking some questions. But I consider these the right questions. The questions that help you see who they are becoming. What they enjoy and why.
Today I spent about 5 minutes laying on the floor because that is the biggest thing in my 15 month old’s world today. It reminded me of all the housework I need to do… but I couldn’t tear myself away from something so simple that makes her so happy! And I can’t say I regret NOT vacuuming again.
Let your kid call the shots
Obviously they aren’t about to rule your world, but there are plenty of opportunities for you to hand over the reigns. You could ask what they want to eat for dinner this week, and make it happen! Or you could find out if they’d prefer a different layout in their room.
Give your kids some freedom to make choices that affect their days. Not in every aspect (no, you can’t give up brushing your teeth), but what things would they like to change about how their days go on.
Plan for the weekend
Get excited for something! Anything! You can convince your kids that just about anything is awesome if you do it with the right attitude. It could be that you go to Barnes and Noble and hang out while finding a new book to love. It could be that you clean the backyard while they enjoy their own corner for outdoor activities. Go feed the ducks at a nearby lake. Make some simple plans, get them excited about them, and go do it! The great thing about this is that you can bring excitement to every day by just planning for them. This also teaches kids how to be patient and plan in advance.
Include them in your routines
Bring the baby in to watch you wash your face, clip your nails, or brush your teeth. We want to create happy, healthy children, and that begins with healthy examples. Don’t just show them, teach them and engage them.
Sing it. I know you want to. But seriously, respect. Learn it, live it, love it. Start with respecting yourself, and allow it to flow into your children’s lives. What I mean is, give yourself a break. Don’t let your children see or hear you bringing yourself down. Who cares if all of your chores didn’t get done today and your hair hasn’t looked good since 2009. Did you show your children love today? Did you make sure everyone had something to eat? Embrace your successes, and remember that tomorrow is another day. What matters is how we treat ourselves and others.
As much as I want to make sure everything gets done around the house, my priorities have shifted in mama-hood. Everything that needs to get done will get done eventually. But what matters most is that my baby gets the best from me.
These little ones deserve our attention and love much more than the floors deserve another mop job. Being a better mom starts with the things you don’t do so you can spend more time on the things that only you can do: being mom!
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