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Most of parenting is learn-as-you-go, but there are some things every mom should know.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
No amount of reading or advice can prepare you for parenthood.
It’s overwhelming, scary and beautiful all at the same time.
It turns out that 98% of all moms feel unsure, experience anxiety and flock to google for help.
Here’s the deal:
Whether you are a new mom, an anxious mom, or a seasoned mom, you can dramatically ease your mind and rock this whole parenting thing by knowing a few key secrets…
….secrets that saved me from purchasing an online medical subscription (and from losing my mind).
And in today’s post, I’m going to reveal what these 17 things are…and exactly how you can use them to improve your life.
17 Important things EVERY mom should know
1. How to ease anxiety
Point number 1 is a long one…and it’s because it’s so darn important.
So maybe you know this or maybe you don’t, but an overwhelming amount of mom’s battle anxiety and worry.
What’s the deal?
You see we suffer from these pesky things that invade our bodies called hormones.
Up, down, up down.
I know the feeling.
I battle anxiety and worry every.single.day.
So first, things first: Remember, you are NOT alone.
These thoughts cross all moms minds:
- That you’re a failure because you didn’t finish everything you should’ve today.
- That your kids deserve a better mother than you.
- That you don’t know what you’re doing.
And from time to time we ALL experience that tight feeling in our chests where we swear we might suffocate, and even the most Zen yoga class won’t permeate it. And we also ALL experience those unpredictable emotional breakdowns from overwhelming tidal waves of emotion. No, you aren’t crazy.
We all feel this way.
I’ve got three quick solutions to help you with anxiety. These have worked for me, (and I’m a tough case):
a. Worry Journal.
I went to a psychologist shortly after my son was born. She suggested a worry journal.
At first, I scoffed it off, but then, I tried it.
I started just scribbling down the worst case scenarios running through my head. At the time, they all revolved around health issues for me and my son.
And it REALLY helped. So much so, I created a worry journal to help other women battling anxiety as well.
Within the 12-week guided journal are 12 actionable steps which include deep breathing exercises, rewiring thoughts and so much more.
If you would like to see how you can work towards a clearer head too, check it out here.
I know you’ve likely heard this a million times.
But here’s the thing:
Exercise will change your life.
And you don’t have to sign up for the next Boston Marathon. Even just 20 minutes a day of walking will do the trick.
When I was physically unable to exercise, my anxiety raged out of control.
Within two weeks of getting back on track, my anxiety was completely manageable again.
Those feel-good endorphins are a real thing.
c) Magnesium & Omega’s
Enough said about that, just try it for yourself.
2. When you feel like you don’t know what you are doing, remember this…
Here’s another little secret:
Everyone feels like they don’t know what they are doing.
All of us.
Even the most perfectly put together Facebook moms.
So stop being so hard on yourself.
Connect with your friends/co-workers/mommy forums.
But when you connect, be real, be honest. Don’t sugar coat it that everything is perfect, when it’s not.
The only way to find real supportive connection is to be real yourself.
And that means opening up the curtains a little.
You’ll be amazed that when you share something intimate with a potential friend, that they open up and share back.
Being real is refreshing.
We are all on this crazy wave of motherhood.
And riding the waves are much more fun together.
3. Avoid being perfect
This one ties in nicely with above.
No mother is perfect.
We ALL make mistakes.
We all think our kids don’t eat enough veggies.
We all let the F-word slip out every now and then…
…AND we all lose our cool from time to time.
Tell yourself this:
“You are doing a good job. Motherhood and perfection are not two words that go together.”
“You are enough.”
“You will make mistakes, and that’s okay.”
4. Take google/forums with a grain of salt
We’ve all been here: Our young child has a fever, next thing you know we are googling “fever”, and the next thing you know we are hyperventilating because after reading a dozen forums we are certain our child has meningitis or cancer.
Sometimes you need to stay off google and seek the advice of your doctor.”
And don’t get me wrong, google can be a great resource for researching and getting helpful tips and advice. But not everything you read is true.
Some people who post on forums seek negative attention, exaggerate, or use scaremongering to get reactions.
Try to find reputable sites, and if you are on parenting forums, don’t let the frenzy get to you, take a step back, think logically about the problem and proceed with caution.
5. Take you time
So often when we fall into the role of parenthood, we forget that we were once a person before this role.
We once enjoyed dinner dates, yoga, reading, hot baths. Whatever it is.
You can still enjoy these things.
It’s, of course, going to be harder to take you time, it might require a little more effort, but taking the time is VERY important to maintaining a healthy balance.
And guess what?
This will make you a better parent.
I suggest devising a “you” time schedule. Give yourself a least one activity per week.
I recommend Ruth Soukup’s Living Well Planner if you want to get your life under control. It’s been VERY helpful for me, especially the meal planning sections.
6. Each phase of development passes. Give it two weeks.
Sometimes when I’m caught in the throes of a problem, I think it’s going to last forever.
When my son went through a phase of hitting. I thought, great, he’s going to be an aggressive,
When he went through a weird phase of referring to everything with the word bum, you are a bum face, I’m going to have a bum sandwich (I can’t even begin to tell all the bum combinations he used), I thought, oh dear. And imagined him in grade 2 still using the silly bum word.
Well, guess what, in a matter of weeks, this phase passed too.
Development is happening quickly in our kids. So much so, it’s like we blink and they have changed (and grown).
So remember. If your child is teething, it will quickly pass.
If they are acting up, it will pass.
If they are refusing to sleep, even this will pass.
7. Amazing blogs and products
Some of my favorite kid and mommy blogs and products:
Big Life Journal is my absolute favorite website for kids. They have tons of amazing free stuff (and items you can purchase). If you sign up for their email list, you will get FREE printables every Friday. These printables are AMAZING. They are high quality, useful, teach your kids a growth mindset, and they are completely free.
8. Sleep is your new best friend and sleep routines are too
You need to sleep. (If you struggle with sleep maybe peruse 11 Sleep Habits of Successful People here).
If you don’t get the proper sleep you’re like a car sputtering around on fumes.
Set aside time to sleep.
And set up sleep routines with your kids.
If bedtime is 7:30, well bedtime is 7:30.
I DID NOT deviate from my son’s sleep routine when he was a baby. I am still very strict about it. Some people roll their eyes at me.
But guess what?
He’s a great little sleeper.
Our bedtime routine is as follows:
- Play something of his choice for 10 minutes (hide and go seek, puzzles, dance party)
- Bath, Teeth, PJ’s (in no particular order).
- Milk or a light snack.
- Pick an exercise from Mighty Mindful Kids activity book. (Starfish fingers is one of my favorites)
- Storytime (he usually suckers me into 4 books), then finally cuddles in bed.
If my son gets out of bed, I guide him back with saying only, “its bedtime.”
After he’s sleeping soundly, I don’t burn the midnight oil. It’s almost time for me to check out as well.
When you have an opportunity to sleep take it.
You need it.
9. Don’t sweat the small stuff
This is one of the most important steps here.
Perhaps you’ve heard it so many times that the meaning has gotten lost on you.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
It’s so important.
If you stress over every little thing, your day is going to be a frazzled mess. Because life is messy, life is stressful, life is unpredictable, and most of all you can’t control any of it.
What does “don’t sweat the small stuff” feel like?
It feels airy, breezy, and light. Imagine the tension in your face releasing, your shoulders relaxing a slightly (think not up to your ears) and a soft smile forming.
It’s telling yourself it’s okay, any stressful moment will pass.
It’s if the juice split all over, taking a deep breath and keeping calm.
It’s if your son is insisting on wearing shorts on the coldest day of the year? Well, go ahead and let him.
My motto is this: If something isn’t harming my child’s cognitive development or putting him physically at risk, then I stop trying to control everything.
Natural consequences can sometimes work wonders.
If you’d like free access to these STOP and RAIN fridge printables (to remind you to calm down in the moment), grab them in our free resource section here.
10. Get support
Don’t try to go this alone.
Parenting is HARD!
You need support.
Call a friend. If you don’t have any friends, join a mommy group.
Reach out to your family. Plan play dates and talk to other parents.
Seek counseling. I’m a big believer in the power of talking to someone who will really listen and guide you.
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11. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
I focus a lot on this concept. Because I know firsthand how much pressure we put on ourselves as moms.
The pressures are endless: pack healthy lunches, cook healthy dinners, make sure the house is clean, ensure our kids are engaged in every sport, be responsible for their entire state of mind. Are they healthy and happy, every waking second…?
We take on their every emotion and problem (stop doing that by the way).
We live and breathe our kids.
And you know what.
We are going to fail sometimes. We are going to make mistakes. And sometimes we have to let our kids make their own mistakes.
We can’t fix everything, and we can’t be everything all the time.
Be okay with being imperfectly human. And laugh along the way.
12. Believe it or not, you are still you
Make plans (do it right now) to go out for a night, (date night or girls night) and don’t talk about your kids.
I dare you.
Remember your identity, don’t get so lost in being a mother that you forget who you are.
One day your kids will grow up and you will be face to face with yourself again.
You might not want to rebuild your entire identity. So keep a little of it tucked away.
13. Everyone has an opinion
Is there anything more annoying than telling some co-workers about your son’s sensory disorder, or their behavioral issues and having them give every opinion under the sun?
You want to scream, “No, spanking will not fix my child.”
Once again, I take other’s opinions with a grain of salt.
But here’s my two cents: “In my opinion, magnesium calm is the answer for everything.” 🙂
14. Don’t worry about judgments
Don’t stress over the judgment of others.
If you can’t breast feed for whatever reason, that’s your choice.
If you don’t enroll your child in every sport under the sun. It’s okay.
Make decisions for what’s best for you and your family and ignore everything else.
15. The crazy hormones are normal
After childbirth yes, our hormones are a little nutty.
It’s completely normal to cry at commercials.
And after the baby phase, as we are aging, yes our hormones take another turn.
We begin to lose estrogen, and this often produces anxiety and other strange behaviors and physical symptoms.
You can also read here on 10 super awesome vitamins and supplements to tackle anxiety.
I recommend the Women’s Health Network site. They have quizzes, articles, and hormone health products to support you. I subscribe to their newsletter and get a lot of useful information.
16. One day you will miss this.
One day, your sweet little one, won’t need you anymore.
And you’ll be wishing you could sit in the rocking chair singing them a sweet song again.
One day you’ll miss making their lunch.
You’ll miss having their eyes light up when you say a silly word.
You’ll miss them begging you to cuddle them at night.
You’ll miss their innocence, their wacky stories, and made up words.
You’ll miss the way their eyes lit up when you look at them proudly.
You’ll miss holding their hand to cross the street.
You’ll miss peeking in on them in the night and pulling their blanket up around them.
You’ll miss it all.
So slow down, and tune into what matters most.
17. It takes a village
It really does take a village.
Take help when you can. Don’t try to do it alone. Allow your child to grow, build relationships, and showcase their identity.
Phew, that was a lot of information, and if you made it to the end of this post, then you made it to the best part, which is, one day you will miss this. Use all these points as a bible for moms to survive this whole parenting thing. It goes by fast, so relax, stay calm, be present, and enjoy the ride.