Every day we show up for our families but not always the way we intended. I’ve had days where I was so busy with outside obligations that my family only got the leftovers. I’ve had days where I was so preoccupied with a to-do list that my family got me on autopilot.
But I’ve also had plenty of days where I gave my family my best. Days when I parented intentionally and stopped to correct behavior because it was needed and not because it bothered me. I’ve had days when I pushed pause to play with my kids and stopped to listen to their stories. How about you? Are you mothering in default mode or parenting with purpose? Here are 5 ways to give your best to your family this year.
1. Don’t overcommit.
I watched a mom the other day hurrying her two kids into the car with an escalating voice that they were going to be late. I’ve been that mom. When we overcommit, we set ourselves and our children up for a rushed lifestyle. Overcommitment leaves us no margin to deal with discipline issues or to engage with our kids. And children don’t do hurry well, which just leads to frustration and conflict. Learn to say no so that you can say yes to what really matters.
2. Stop, look, and listen.
When your child comes to you to share something that happened at school or relay a problem she’s having, stop what you’re doing (put down the phone), look her in the eyes and listen closely. Being available when our kids are ready to talk is an open window into their world and their hearts. And giving children our full attention helps them know they matter more than our to-do list.
Being available when our kids are ready to talk is an open window into their world and their hearts.
3. Know that parenting comes in seasons.
Giving my family my best often means giving up something I love. I’ve shelved hobbies and the tennis league I wanted to join because of the demands of parenting children in this season. While I take time for self-care, I know it won’t always be like this. This season will pass quickly and another season, with more time to pursue interests, will come. I’m okay with pushing pause on some interests to give my family my best now.
4. Get enough sleep.
It’s so tempting to stay up long after the kids are in bed for some alone time or to get work done while the house is quiet. But in my experience, it’s not just me who will pay for it in the morning. My family also pays when I try to skimp on sleep. Sleep-deprived moms are less patient, have less energy, are more crabby and more prone to anxiety. Turn off electronics early in the evening and aim to get around eight hours of sleep each night.
5. Love their father well.
One of the best gifts moms can give to their children is to love their father well. Prioritize time to grow a strong marriage and show your kids how much you love and admire your husband through your words and support. Resolve conflict so that issues aren’t simmering in the home, and don’t let conflict with your spouse spill into conversations with your children.
Tell us! Which one of these 5 ways could most help you be the best for your family?