With the new year comes a predictable time each year to press the reset button, especially for busy moms. As a mom and a therapist for moms and parents in Washington, DC, I encourage each of us to focus on resetting our intentions and our goals for the year both personally and as parents.
Coming off the holiday season and gearing up for 2017, I like to work with parents on taking the time to reflect on the past year and acknowledge our successes and what we would like to work on in the coming year. As parents, but especially as moms, we can get so lost in the day-to-day shuffle that we forget to pause and take a moment to just think or “be”. Our “busyness” is justified, don’t get me wrong—We do so so much!!! Between the morning dash, the lunchtime insanity, settling down for naps, rushing to an afternoon activity, attempting some semblance of a dinner, and then battling through bedtimes, we are so exhausted by the end of the day that we often crash. And that can leave us going through the motions of parenting daily without recognizing what an amazing job we are doing.
We are raising tiny members of our society – little people who experience joy, pain, sadness, excitement. Little people who kiss their siblings’ boo-boos, share their toys with their friends, tell us they love us, say hello to strangers, give high fives to anyone who will put their hand out – and they don’t do this by some stroke of luck – they do this because of all the mini-moments that we invest in teaching, loving, parenting and raising them.
When I think back on my own parenting thus far, I have a lot of feelings and thoughts. First of all, how can it go so fast? As they say, the days can be long, but the years are short. Secondly, I can feel anxious about my parenting, just as the moms that I help in counseling also can feel. The anxiety that comes with this responsibility of raising good people is enormous. Am I doing a good enough job? Should I be doing more? Should I be doing less? Am I giving my children enough? But the underlying question of all of these is: Am I good enough? Am I a good enough mother? Am I a good enough partner? Am I a good enough friend? Am I a good enough family member?
As mothers, this is a question that plays through our minds on a daily, even hourly, basis. And, this is one of our primary emotional tasks as mothers—we must work on converting our worry into positive intentions and actions for our families. And, where do we start, you might ask? With ourselves first! By giving ourselves enough care and attention, we create an X factor with our care and attention within our family. So as a therapist who helps moms daily and mom to mom, I’m going to share some of my strategies to reset in 2017.
With the new year, I intend to do a few things:
- I intend to breathe. I intend to take moments throughout the day to close my eyes, even for a moment, and take a deep breath. Re-setting myself throughout the day is essential to my wellbeing, which ultimately, is essential in my mothering.
- I intend to give myself time. Time to exercise. Time to go to dinner with friends. Time for me.
- I intend to allow myself to do these things with no guilt. As a society, we are so quick to judge ourselves and each other, but particularly mothers. And we judge ourselves. I vow not to judge myself and to acknowledge that I am doing the very best job for my little ones. And after a tough night with my still small children, I vow to allow myself to toss this advice right out the window and take a good nap. Because I am good enough!