Five ways I suck as a mom...and what I'm doing about it

Five ways I suck as a mom...and what I'm doing about it

You can call them resolutions, goals, newfound awareness, whatever. Here are five ways I suck as a mom...and what I'm doing about it.

1) I have unrealistic expectations. This applies to me, my husband, and my children. Expectations can be extremely helpful. But for an anal retentive type A planner like myself, they often disappoint me. A few months ago, I was regularly feeling angry, annoyed, and frustrated more than I would care to admit. In almost every instance, I could trace it back to having an unrealistic expectation.

What I'm doing about it: First, I'm identifying what I think will happen in a given situation. Then I'm asking myself, "How could this play out in a way that I'm not expecting?" It sounds simple, but it's made a huge difference.

2) I react too quickly and harshly. The biggest problem of having unrealistic expectations is my reactions when things don't go as I think they should. A fellow mom blogger's resolution rings in my ears, "I will not nitpick until it bleeds." Oh, how I do that sometimes. I witness my sons and husband recoil when I react with strong words or a sharp tone. They look so wounded, and I immediately regret it.

What I'm doing about it: I've created a meaningful mantra (at the bottom of this post) using the word RELATIONSHIP. I chose this word, because every time I criticize one of my boys, it weakens our relationship. Yeah: kids may listen and obey in the moment, but I want my children to want to spend time with me in their teen and adult years (if that's a thing that actually happens), not want to escape from me.

3) I'm not as happy as I could be. I'm a white, middle/upper class woman with a Masters degree, hardworking husband, and two (almost three) healthy boys. We have the basics and beyond. Our family goes on vacation, and we participate in hobbies that require money and free time- both of which we have. So, why do I feel like I could be happier?

What I'm doing about it: Gretchen Rubin has already researched and answered this question in her book, "The Happiness Project." After reading about what she did for a year, I created my own project, month by month. On the more ambitious side, we have January: Clear the Clutter. I've uncluttered a different space every week. On the less ambitious side, we have March: Keep Calm and Raise a Baby.

4) I am not often present.  I'm a kick ass planner. But the other side of that coin is that I really struggle to stay in the moment. Last night, as I rushed through bedtime, I almost walked out on my three year old, because I couldn't understand what song he wanted, and I thought he was just being difficult. When I asked him to repeat himself, he just said, "I want you to talk to me, Mommy." Daggers. In my heart.

What I'm doing about it: I'm leaving myself more time throughout the day (see #5). Most mornings, I wake up before my kids so that I can mediate and get one thing crossed off my to do list. I meditate for 10 minutes using the Headspace app, and then I open my computer. Accomplishing even one task relieves me of that nagging feeling, and instead of focusing on what I need to get done, I can focus on my boys.

5) I'm constantly running late. It's amazing how this one affects my self-esteem, but it does. I feel badly when I'm late picking up one of my children or when others are waiting on me. And yet: I still do it. It's as if my guilty feeling of being late is overrun by my need to use every minute to it's fullest. Let's just say that I suffer from severe "one last thing" syndrome.

What I'm doing about it: I set alarms on my phone, labeled with meaningful reminders. "Give Kid #2 a hug at pickup" rather than just "Pick up." I'm honoring my bedtime and morning mommy time by getting to bed earlier so that I can wake earlier. One question I'm routinely asking is, "Am I fitting in too much?" The answer is frequently yes. If I resist the urge to use every minute, I'm usually on time.

Baby #3 arrives in three weeks. While I'm no stranger to the difficulties, I'm extremely happy to be welcoming a third child into our family. All these things that I suck at, I'm actually better with a newborn. Expectations? Out the window. Reactions? Low expectations leave less to be upset about. Being present? Feeding a baby every two hours will force me to be in the moment. Running late? Okay: you got me there. ;)

R elax

E xhale

L ove

A ccept

T urn it off (that critical voice)

I love you

O mmm

N agging = negativity

S hhh

H ug

I love you,

P (P is a nickname for me. I love myself and those around me enough to remember this mantra.)

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