My son is 11 now. At this stage of the game, I have so much more to be uptight about than I did when he was a baby, but I prefer to just relax and smile through all the trials and tribulations of parenting a preteen. Don’t get me wrong, I am anxious when he is sick and I still get a bit anxious in some instances but there is also a calm about me now, that I could not claim 6 years ago. Life and his childhood have taught me to take it all in. Although, he is my one and only, I also have 25 years of child care, being a full-time nanny and working in the education system. So I know that each moment is a GIFT! Our children will go through many stages, some stages we will enjoy more than others. Some stages we will miss, while others we will wave good-bye to and hope NEVER to seem again. Whatever season or stage you are in, relax and find something to enjoy about it. I have a friend that has teenagers and her first one is driving. Instead of being a bundle of nerves she is enjoying the freedom that comes with not having to drive him to and from baseball practices and early morning workout. You can relax MOM! Here are 5 habits to adopt.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF–I know it sounds weird and so un-mom like but you HAVE to take care of yourself. You need rest. Scientists have studied the effects of sleep deprivation and found that it is worse than being intoxicated. You wouldn’t want anyone who was inebriated to take care of your child, would you? I know it is hard in certain stages to get rest and perhaps this is a good time to develop a great bedtime routine for your young children to guarantee that you get some rest. Getting up ten minutes before my kiddo allows me to pray and stretch simultaneously. It is vital to my mental and physical health. I am NOT special, every mom needs this!
EAT RIGHT-we all know if you put junk in you get junk back. You have to eat right to get the nutrients your body needs to keep up with your children. Mom cannot survive on coffee alone. You need a balanced diet. Practice eating a variety of foods with your kiddo’s. Get them into the habit of healthy eating early on and they will not have to go through this later in life. Green leafy vegetables, lean proteins, some fat, some carbohydrates and tons of water……ALL DO A BODY GOOD!
BREATHE AND ENJOY IT-as the mother of a preemie this was one of the first lessons I learned. My son was 10 weeks early and quite a surprise. Sitting on a stool, healing from an emergency c-section, I learned to breathe and enjoy his every breath. He was so small and seemed so fragile but the nurses, doctors and specialists assured me that he was doing FINE. I needed to relax and enjoy each step of his progress, and I did! I giggled instead of freaking out when he yanked out his breathing tube. I laughed out loud when he did it a second time and realized he was showing us part of his personality. I am pleased now that I have those stories to share about him. I am also happy that I was not that mom that fell apart each time that something did not go according to plan.His premature status helped me to NOT freak out during his reflux, major injuries or his triple hernia surgery. Our entire life has not gone according to plan.
TAKE A MOMMY BREAK-my mommy breaks look different for each season. When he was a baby, my mommy break was to put him in a crib, play pen or safe place and walk into another room to cry, scream into a pillow, call a friend or pray. These moments alone became precious. They seemed to change as time went on. When he was a toddler, I turned on a show and waited until he was engrossed and walked to another room or sometimes I would tell him I was leaving and he seemed to be ok. Now as an 11-year-old I can look in his face and say I need a break and I will go into another room to be alone. Kids get it! Mine got it at the age of 4! When I said, in my stern voice, “mommy needs a break with NO CHILDREN!” He understood. Give your kiddos some credit!
SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS-play dates were my saving grace! I knew my extremely social son needed time with other kids and I needed some mom’s to talk to. It was a win-win situation. Early play dates were just mom’s with strollers on a walk. My friend Rene and I would walk around Town and Country with our strollers getting much-needed exercise and chatting. As the children got older we had more freedom to talk as well as a variety of places to visit. Chick Fil A is still one of my favorite places to have a play date. You get to have a real lunch! The kiddos can have something fun and then play in that FABULOUS PLAY PLACE! Ohhhhh, the memories of a contained play place.
Being a mom takes some getting used to. It is definitely an adjustment. In many ways we are well prepared and in other ways we are completely overwhelmed. Please know, there are not hard and fast rules. Each of our children are distinct individuals, your family is unique. In order to be at your best, you’ll have to be a bit selfish and put yourself first. Enjoy each day, even the tough ones. These stages will not last forever and one day you will look back and wish you were more relaxed.