I believe it is important to thrive as a mom and not just survive.
When I became a mom, and still today with older kids, I have moments when I am not in love with motherhood. But I think that happens in all kinds of relationships when you face challenges.
And then there are moments when I reflect on how motherhood made me a better person. I learned better habits after becoming a mom.
I stopped procrastinating. Because if I do, I won’t have time for it later. And I learned to become more organized and learned healthy habits so that I can stay fit, and also model better habits to kids. And also conquered much of my laziness that was huge in my pre-motherhood days.
All these changes happened because I started prioritizing what’s important for me and decided to improve my habits.
So, if you are finding it hard to come to terms with mom’s life (mourning your single life is a thing, you know?), let’s examine how you can craft your days in a better way so that you still get time to nurture your own individuality and keep it all balanced.
HOW CAN BETTER HABITS HELP YOU AS A MOM?
Here is why you need to develop these habits to be a better mother.
It’s important you don’t lose your individuality once you become a mother. Developing better habits will help you to tend to all versions of you.
If you take the effort to form new and better productive habits, you are happier. And your family is happy too. A mother is the backbone of the family and if she is not happy, it affects everyone in the house. And sometimes, it affects the kids for their entire lives.
We all are work in progress and we constantly make mistakes. But that’s how we grow and forming better habits helps you to shed an old behavior that wasn’t working anymore to a new one. That means better results and a stronger you.
Now, let’s see what the best habits all moms should have, are.
20 BEST HABITS TO BECOME A BETTER MOM
1. FINDING TIME FOR ONESELF
I put this as the number one habit because filling your cup is so important as a mother.
Mothers tend to give too much and forget to take care of themselves. It’s a toxic habit you must avoid as it’s the perfect recipe for burnout.
You know, once you become a mother, it’s not always roses and butterflies. You are now constantly in charge of someone’s life and you can’t now check-in and check out as you please because there are helpless people depending on you.
Does this mean you must lose yourself to become a mother?
Do what makes you happy. Hang out with your girlfriends, pamper yourself with a self-care treat, and take time to relax and rest.
You must schedule these activities at least once a week for that to happen as it is easy to forget yourself amongst the endless responsibilities. And trust me when I say this, a lot of your energy and happiness depends on this.
If you are constantly tired, schedule time for self-care activities regularly to rejuvenate yourself.
2. USE YOUR TIME WISELY
I used to be a master procrastinator before motherhood. And now I am just the opposite – organized and efficient.
I am not efficient all the time but I have learned to balance work-at-home and home life effectively by creating new routines and sticking to them.
Children function best when they have a routine. So as soon as I had my first newborn, I learned to form routines and started loving it too.
I can’t afford to laze around and procrastinate now because I only have limited time in a day and at the same time I have many big dreams for myself to achieve too.
So I learned to become organized and started having systems for everything – household chores, work, kids, self-care, etc.
I use a bullet journal for planning and these systems are the only thing that keeps me sane.
3. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
When we bring a newborn baby home, uninterrupted sleep is one precious thing that moms have to let go of.
Getting enough sleep is absolutely important for your physical as well as mental health. So as an exhausted parent what you need to do is prioritize sleep.
Squeeze in as much sleep as you can even if it is for 15-30 minutes.
Even when you have older kids, it’s easy to miss out on sleep because of the downtime you want after the kids are asleep (only me?).
As an introvert, it is non-negotiable for me to get that precious me-time after kids are asleep. But sometimes scrolling on social media or watching Youtube videos can go out of hand and I find myself awake at 2 am.
And the next day, I am more irritated and tired. So what I like to do is to put kids to bed early and get myself the me-time I need after they sleep. I have also put limits upon phone use so that I get proper sleep.
If you want to be an energetic and happy mama, sleep is a non-negotiable thing and learning to prioritize it is important.
Related: How to thrive as an introverted mom
4. SCHEDULE CONNECTION TIME
I will tell you the secret to well-behaved kids.
Spending special time with kids is crucial in forming a great relationship with them. After all, that’s what we want as good moms right?
Connection means spending quality time with kids without any distractions. It is when you spend quality time that you get to know each other. Getting to know each others’ feelings, thoughts, and dreams help you to grow your relationship in a better way.
It is when you connect that you learn about their changing interests and needs.
When kids feel loved, cared, and trusted, they tend to behave well because they don’t want to upset someone whom they love.
5. ENJOY YOUR KIDS
Sometimes, we get so busy and focused on checking off the next item on the to-do list that we forget to enjoy our kids.
When we look back and see the old photos, we wonder how time flew so fast. We forget that each day our kids grow bigger, their cute baby faces mature and they need less and less of you.
So, take a breath and slow down! My 5-year-old likes to talk and talk and sometimes when I look at her cute little face, I wonder “Will she always talk like this to me?”
Sometimes I just want to get my things done and pretend I don’t have time to hear her. But then I worry that if I turn her off now, what if she won’t talk to me like this when she is older and she prefers her friends more? I would lose the opportunity to build a great bond with my girl.
So always take a pause no matter what you are doing to listen to your kids.
Take time to watch them quietly and imprint the picture of them laughing, playing, and fighting in your mind. These memories are precious and you don’t want to regret later when you look back because you will know that you lived and enjoyed each day of their childhood thoroughly.
6. INVEST TIME IN YOUR MARRIAGE
Jumping from a family of two to three is exciting as well as exhausting. Even though you get the time to prepare for nine months, you can never prepare enough for the challenges ahead.
Your schedules and life as a couple are changed and everything now revolves around children.
Studies show that the relationship between married couples deteriorates after having a baby.
So a conscious effort on your marriage is necessary to maintain the relationship between your spouse and to even make it stronger. Here are some things that you can do to help your marriage after the baby.
- Make sure you still spend quality time with each other. Though you can’t be as spontaneous as you were in the couple-only life, plan ahead for the activities you used to enjoy as a couple.
- Communicate clearly about the sharing of parenthood responsibilities and try to reach common ground on the parenting styles you may adopt. The clash of different parenting styles and different ideologies are enough for a marriage to break down and suffer.
- Sex is the last thing on your mind when you are sleep-deprived and getting used to the shock of parenthood. Even after the initial year, you have less time and you are still tired. But we all know the importance of sex in keeping the spark in a relationship alive. Schedule it if you have to and make sure you both are satisfied by the frequency of it.
- Hold constant discussions on the issues you face as a couple and as parents until you reach mutually agreed compromises.
- Schedule in kid-free quality time with each other
7. LET KIDS BE KIDS
A good mom knows the importance of play for children and thus she never overfills her kids’ schedule.
Compared to the previous decades, most children play less today even if it is indoors or outdoors. The advent of smartphones and video games and the resulting sedentary lifestyle are some of the reasons.
And the constant push of the helicopter parents for kids to excel in all fields steal the opportunity for kids to learn from unstructured play.
When kids grow up and look back on their childhood, the memories they should have should be of how much fun they had rather than how much TV they watched.
I believe in limiting screen time so that kids can enjoy the most carefree time of their lives to the maximum. Limiting screen time is more essential today, even it is for kids or parents.
And instead, the focus should be on helping them develop useful skills and habits. They should learn to entertain themselves with productive habits like reading, creating, playing outdoors and other growth-inducing activities.
8. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF
Parenthood causes you to grow on different levels. One lesson I learned is of letting go….of seemingly big things that really don’t matter in the long run.
Does it matter in five years if your daughter wore a matching hair clip for her gown at your brother’s wedding?
NO? Then it’s not worth the power struggle and your peace of mind.
Does it really matter that you just mopped the floor and your son entered the home with muddy boots?
Ummmm…yes! Now you have to clean the floor again which is more work and you don’t like that.
But does that mean your kids shouldn’t get to play outdoors?
No. Their play is more important. In such times, I choose to draw in more patience and prioritize what matters the most.
Micromanaging your kids’ activities all day long exhausts you to the point of becoming an anxious depressed mess. We cannot expect kids to obey everything we say to a tee, 24×7.
If they don’t listen, I let them make mistakes and face the natural consequence of their action.
Let go of the thought that you can control your kids’ actions. Because you can’t always do it as they are also humans who want every bit of independence as we do.
I like to give focus on progress rather than perfection. If they are listening to me most of the time, I will take it. If they have made progress in following the screen time schedule this week compared to last week, I will take it. I will not worry about the one cheat day they had.
I am not gonna sweat over the small percentage of time they do things that I don’t like because my mental health is so much worth it.
Some moms won’t get this because they are very relaxed about everything. But I know there are moms who are anxious and worried about letting go of control and this is for them.
9. BE PLAYFUL
You know the easiest way to dissolve a power struggle? Use humor.
The moment I sense there is a tantrum, a sibling squabble, or power struggle coming up, I try to lighten the mood by doing or saying something funny.
Kids are silly and it takes nothing to make them laugh. Make some funny faces or noises and they will be laughing like anything. I am talking about younger kids, by the way. So don’t worry if you think you don’t know how to tell jokes.
Learning to be playful is one of the best habits you can learn to adapt to the challenges of a mom because motherhood is challenging enough already. So why not make it as much as enjoyable as we can?
You are going to face troubles anyway, so learn to have fun on the way and leave your serious face behind.
Live in the moment and learn to lighten up the mood for kids if you want to be remembered as a “funny/happy mom” rather than an “angry/serious mom”.
And also a mother’s mental health is proven to have a positive or negative effect on the happiness of children. Hence, the atmosphere you create has a lot to do with a child’s emotional development.
10. CONQUER THE MORNINGS
Another lesson I learned as a mom: the way we start our days is directly proportional to the productivity of the day.
Ever since I became a mom, I started waking up early – early means earlier than kids to get that ever-elusive me-time.
Waking up with kids always made me cranky because I didn’t get to spend time with the most important person – myself.
Waking up earlier has many advantages like:
- Have some quiet time to set the intention for the day
- Prepare for the day mentally and physically
- Undistracted time for your empowering morning routine (I do meditation, journaling, exercise and mindset work)
- Quiet time to do any work that requires silence and complete focus
I use the early morning time either for my personal development routines or to work on my blog. So by the time everyone wakes up, I would have done something that really matters to me. And that means kids wake up to see a happy mom.
And thus we can kick start the day on high vibes.
11. TAKE TIME TO WIND DOWN
We set bedtime routines for kids. But what about downtime for moms?
If all you do after a day’s work is crashing to the bed, you are not getting a chance to relax and center yourself after a hectic day.
I like to set an early bedtime for kids so that they always sleep on time and I get to relax with my husband too. You can also choose activities that don’t require much thinking and give your mind a chance to relax.
I don’t know about you but using social media or watching Youtube or Netflix before bedtime puts my mind in an active mode. Not only is it harder to stop, but I also find my mind wakes up again and my sleep time is disrupted.
So, I like to put my phone away before bedtime and take a book for light reading. Usually, it’s non-fiction so it’s not difficult to stop when I want to.
Such small changes in your daily routines can drastically affect the energy you will have the next day.
12. REDUCE SCREEN TIME
This one is not for kids, but for moms (and dads). I have written a blog post on how to raise kids who are not addicted to screens. And some people have commented like “This is stupid, kids need their freedom. Why control screen time?”, etc. on my pin image.
As much as I believe in letting them have their freedom, I believe we have to parent kids according to the generation they are in. The times we live in are different compared to what we had when growing up.
We didn’t have many options other than a TV to have screen time. And we were stuck with what it showed us and we never had the option to browse and watch whatever we want and thus lose track of time.
And when I see kids around me who always need a phone or a tablet to engage themselves, it’s inevitable that we set limits.
But what if all kids see are parents who are glued to their phones? They automatically learn the behavior and try to reach for a phone whenever they are bored.
In a study published in Developmental Science, it is reported that parents are usually distracted and unresponsive while using mobile devices and this may have negative consequences for children’s social-emotional development.
And many other studies show how parental use of cell phones makes kids angry, irritable, and lonely because they have to compete with these devices to get the parental attention they deserve.
When you pull out your phones as soon as you sit in a restaurant or a doctor’s waiting room, kids are losing out on opportunities to communicate with parents face-to-face.
But limiting phone use is not for the sake of kids alone, but for ourselves too. Overuse of mobile phones has been linked to anxiety, depression, the ability to focus and concentrate, carpal tunnel, eye problems, increased cancer risk, etc.
I am not against social media use. In fact, I like my daily fix of social media too. But these days, I am more conscious of my phone use now and I use certain apps to lock the “problematic apps” for a scheduled time period every day. It helps me not to overuse the apps, but still enjoy the benefits of social media too.
And I also like to have social media-free days twice a week. Moms also need to learn how to entertain themselves without phones, right?
13. PUT YOUR HEALTH FIRST
Do you make Instagram-worthy healthy snacks for kids, but not for yourself? And do you tell yourself you are okay even when you are feeling sick and not take time for rest?
As a mom, your health should be a top priority so that you can take care of your family.
By forming healthy habits and making yourself a priority, you are also modeling your children how to have increased self-worth and that you have an identity and existence other than that as a mother.
A good mom respects her health and makes time for physical self-care. Or else, how can you expect to have the energy for the endless responsibilities of a mom?
If you find yourself tired often, it means you need to take care of your body better.
So next time when you make healthy treats for your kids, make an extra batch for yourself too, because you are worth it. And don’t hesitate to ask for help from family when you need it.
14. STOP COMPARING
One of the reasons I like to limit social media use is because of the tendency to compare ourselves to other moms on social media and feeling incompetent about ourselves.
If you are not fond of cooking but see other moms making ten varieties of dishes every day, you feel bad. You think you are not of a good enough mom.
And when you see other people giving their kids the toys and experiences you can’t give right now, you doubt your abilities.
But what we may forget to tell ourselves is that it’s okay not to be in the kitchen trying new dishes if we don’t enjoy it. Maybe our strength lies somewhere else.
It is easy to go down the rabbit hole and not appreciate yourself for what you do.
Comparing yourself constantly with others and trying to be competitive is one habit you need to stop to be a good mom.
On any given day, you are only expected to give your best. And more than material things, what your kids need are love, happiness, safety, and attention. You can give these intangible things in plenty, right?
15. THE RULE OF PUTTING AWAY
One good habit I learned after becoming a mother is putting an end to procrastination.
I have a rule for myself to put my house in order
The rule of putting away things on the same day.
No matter what, I fold the clean laundry and put it away on the same day. And do not keep a single dirty dish in your sink before sleeping. If it’s toys, make kids put them away before sleeping.
This helps to reduce workload from accumulating and you get to wake up to a clutter-free house every single day.
Waking up to the dirty dishes of yesterday’s dinner and unfolded clothes put you in a low-vibe mood because the nagging starts in your mind immediately when you wake up.
16. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES
No one can prepare you for motherhood no matter how much you learn in theory.
Even if you are a new mom or a teenager’s mom, there are always struggles associated with each age.
Instead of looking at the next season and wishing for it to come soon, enjoy your life each day. Because as all moms say, each season passes quicker than you imagine even though it can seem hard at the time.
Whenever I face challenges and have to do mommy duties that I don’t quite enjoy much, I tell myself ‘This too shall pass’.
But each stage has something to enjoy too. Focus on the positives and try to live in the moment.
A good mom doesn’t need to do everything by herself. You are still a good mother if you acknowledge that you can’t do everything and seek help.
Delegate the tasks that you can afford to. Ask for help from family members. You can train your kids from a small age to do the chores in the house so that you can take time for yourself.
This helps in raising independent and responsible kids who are ready for the real world.
18. HAVE A HOBBY OR A SIDE HUSTLE
This one is so important. I see moms around me who do not know what to do with their lives once they are empty nesters.
Right from when you become a new mom, it’s important to maintain a sense of individuality other than as the title of a mom.
I know it’s hard because when you become a mom, your kids come first and the next decades of your life revolve around raising them.
But please remember you are still an individual. You had a life full of ambitions before you became a mother. It should guide you further too.
Refrain from dedicating all your time to family. You must have a separate goal for yourself that fulfills you and keeps you engaged.
Do you have any hobbies that make you feel proud? Those who love creating must have experienced the immense pride you feel when you see the end product. Do it more often so that you can still connect to the non-mother parts of yourself.
And these days starting a side hustle is so easy. You can make an income for yourself if you can teach all about your hobbies to others.
You don’t need to monetize if you don’t want it, but it’s still important to maintain your identity as a separate individual throughout the child-rearing years.
19. FORGIVE YOURSELF
At the end of the day, do you feel bad about your behavior with kids? Do you doubt your abilities as a mom?
Remember, you are still a good mom if you think you didn’t do enough. Because you are striving to become a better mom. It’s human nature not to feel good enough and always yearn to be better. That’s what we are here for: to grow into the best versions of ourselves.
But it’s necessary to forgive ourselves on a daily basis and not carry the guilt around. Guilt is an indicator of what needs to improve and that should be it.
Take the lesson and move on with a renewed spirit. We are never perfect and being perfect should never be our goal too. We can aspire to be better than yesterday.
20. NEVER STOP LEARNING
If you are here reading this blog, I congratulate you for doing something that many people don’t do: learning to become a better mother.
Many people do parenting based on how they were raised. But there may be many things our parents did wrong and so we should discontinue them. Hence, educate yourself on different parenting styles and read more parenting books and blogs. Take courses and buy ebooks if you need to.
Learning helps you to find solutions to your parenting problems and thus become a confident mother raising physically and emotionally healthy kids.
- How to get started with positive parenting
- How to discipline kids without breaking their hearts (15 positive discipline techniques that work)
- 10 positive parenting techniques that every parent must know
- 10 things a mom must do for her daughter
- How to raise grateful kids instead of complaining ones
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