Marie Kondo has taken over everyone’s homes by advocating getting rid of things that no longer spark joy in your life. Sure, cleaning out your house of physical items is refreshing, but have you inventoried your habits lately? As mamas, we seem to accumulate a lot of useless habits that drain us. We have friends, families, and media shouting conflicting messages in our faces consistently; be this, do that, sit down, stand up, relax but get shit done. It can be exhausting, overwhelming, and not spark an ounce of joy. It’s time to clean out your habits! Here are 5 things you need to let go to be happier on this journey through motherhood.
- Comparing Yourself to Others: Is your Instagram feed really enjoyable? Be honest. Are you mindlessly scrolling social media sites, the car pickup line, or the Target check-out, imagining all of the people around you are experiencing a more vibrant, happy, and successful life? We all have a tendency to go to an irrational place in our mind that tells us our lives are not measuring up; And as mamas, we tend to think that a lot about ourselves as mothers. Time to let that shit go. You are not inadequate as a mom or a human, so unfollow all of those people on social media who make you feel so. Befriend the mama in the car pickup line who always seems so well put together; by being her friend, you will learn that she is struggling just as much as you are and you can probably become allies to tackle things together. And that stranger next to you in the Target checkout? She’s wondering if she left her Starbucks drink in the diaper aisle and how many days its been since she washed her hair. She did and its been 2 weeks.
- Perfect Parenting: Every human life is an experiment, not a recipe. You are still creating yourself as a human, and you are helping your kids do the same; you nor your kids are cakes. There is no perfect ratio or amount of ingredients you can add to their lives that will make their experience on this planet perfect. It’s time to let go of this unrealistic idea of needing to be a perfect parent for your kids. There are a hundred different ways to sleep train. There are a hundred different thoughts on what to feed a child. There are a hundred different ideas on how to discipline a kid. There is not an overarching “right” way to do anything. Make the choice that you feel is best for you and your little one and then move on.
- Constant People Pleasing: The added stress of trying to make everyone in your life happy will leave you feeling strained, drained, and unhappy. There will be times when you will need to choose your own sanity over someone else’s happiness. You cannot do all of the things while being in all of the places. And sometimes, you need to do nothing and be no where. Sure, you may feel selfish when you decline to attend the school fundraiser on an already busy weekend or politely turn down your sister’s invitation to a dinner so you can stay home for the night, but life is about balance, right? Be giving. Be selfish. Choose others. Choose yourself. Give. Take.
- Forgetting About Yourself: After becoming a mom, everything in your life changes, just like it would after a near-death experience or severe injury; no, I am not saying that motherhood is the same as a car wreck (although I may change my mind about that tomorrow…) but it is a monumental change in your life. But you do not have to stop enjoying things that make you happy now that you are a mom. If you went to rock shows pre-motherhood, you should still go to rock shows (get a babysitter). If you loved to cook before your kids, teach them the love of cooking by making it a family affair. If you are an athlete, continue to play your chosen sport or participate in the activity. Don’t stop being you just because you added another title to your resume.
- The “Old Me” Mentality: Whether you birthed one kid or adopted 10, becoming a mother changes everything about your physical body and it is time to stop treating that as a bad thing. You don’t need to get back to your pre-baby body; your body is now something new and evolved. Learn how to appreciate this new living space. It may jiggle more now than before. It may move – or NOT move – in a far different way than before. It may prefer different foods, smells, shampoos, temperatures, clothes, and touches than before. None of this should be judged or deemed bad. Let go of the “old you” and embrace this new you with all of the love possible.