Being a mother is hard, wonderful, challenging, amazing, stressful, extraordinary… the list goes on. Balancing motherhood with work, your spouse, your family, etc. can be difficult, but it can also be done in a way that keeps you centered and focused on the things that matter most. This article discusses ways to be a modern Southern mom while still maintaining your own sanity and happiness. Keep reading for tips and advice that are sure to help you the next time you think you can’t handle another meltdown.
Tip # 1: Maintain a relationship with God and keep Him first. You don’t have to be from the South to know that prayer works, and that it changes situations and people (on God’s time, of course). Try starting every day telling God the things or people that you’re thankful for. You’ll be amazed at how a grateful mindset and heart can keep you focused and positive throughout the day, despite what may happen during the course of it.
Tip # 2: Put your spouse after God – don’t shut him out or treat him badly. This sounds easy, but it can actually be hard to remember and to practice on a daily basis. When you have a child or children, it’s easy to take care of their needs first. However, it is so important to remember that your spouse also needs your love, attention, affection and all of the other elements in a relationship necessary to maintain a healthy love life, and to lead a lifestyle that your child or children want to emulate as they grow up.
Tip # 3: “Roll with the punches.” Be flexible and willing to adapt to the ever-changing needs of your family. If you haven’t already, learn to let go of or minimize your own expectations of how or when things should be done and accept the fact that all relationships require a healthy amount of compromise.
Tip # 4: Protect the things that are sacred to you. Whether it be your job, your personal space or alone time, your connections to others, etc… hold them close to you and don’t let anything or anyone abuse your right to maintain a sense of peace and sanity.
Tip # 5: Stay connected to your girlfriends. When you become a wife and/or a mom, your whole world changes. Everything suddenly revolves around your spouse and your child or children, and it can be challenging to keep in touch with the friends who supported you before you entered into marriage and motherhood. Do it anyway. Schedule phone calls or dates with your friends and demonstrate to them that you are just as committed to maintaining the friendships as they are. Sometimes you just need to talk things over with other women who know you, who understand you, who you can trust and who can lend a listening ear when you need it most. It’s always helpful to be able to “decompress” with good friends.
Tip # 6: Don’t let others’ opinions of what you should do or how you should do it affect your decision-making. Women usually seek advice to feel validated or to put our minds at ease about something. Although it’s wise to seek counsel from close family members or friends, remember that motherhood doesn’t come with an instruction manual. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do anything; everything is a learning opportunity and you should embrace the uniqueness of your journey.
Tip # 7: Don’t compare your journey to the journeys of others. In the age of social media, it’s easy to view how other women seem to be balancing motherhood with their marriages, jobs, etc. But remember that social media only gives you a small glimpse into people’s real lives. Typically, no one posts the bad things that happen to them – we usually share the good times we have or inspirational or funny messages. Know that your journey to and through motherhood is exclusive to who you are and how you handle different situations. Don’t dream of having another woman’s life because you don’t know what she has had to endure to get to where she is.
Tip # 8: Learn to multitask. Part of being a mother is being able to juggle many different tasks while still maintaining your own sanity and peace of mind. Once you have a baby, it may seem impossible to do ten things at once, but once you get the hang of it, this balancing act becomes second nature.
Tip # 9: Take care of yourself. Self-care is the best care. Remember to take at least a few minutes every day to celebrate your successes and to reflect on how far you’ve come from the beginning of your journey. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. As women, we do so much for others that we often forget to relax and take time to be in tune with our own needs and desires. Time alone does not make you a selfish person or a bad mother. It makes you human and it demonstrates that you understand how much you can give before you need to create some time and space for you to unwind.
Tip # 10: Celebrate other mothers! Women are faithful, strong, beautiful, multifaceted, multitalented, loving and supportive. Remember to love other women, regardless of their positions in life. You’ll be a happier person and a better mother when you have a positive attitude!