I was reading "15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy" and it made me think about parenthood -- being a mom. There are things we get caught up in and it messes with us -- with our sense of balance, our zen, and simply, our happy. The recent Time magazine cover story brought out the worst in us. The judgments. The misunderstandings. The ugly. It was almost like a new campaign perfectly designed to fuel the mommy wars. But it will only do that if we let it.
And that's exactly what that "give up" list made me realize. We can't let it. We can't let things get to us and divide us -- as moms, as parents, as a person. We all have these inner conflicts and struggles and they are often caused by things on the outside -- the judgements, the misunderstandings, the ugly. We need to make changes. We need and deserve to be happy -- happier. So here's my list of the 14 things you should stop doing to be a happy mom or dad.
- Forget the saying mom is always right. Simply put: Admit when you are wrong. Realize it's okay to be wrong. Let go more.
- Stop feeling guilty. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." So don't let anyone or anything make you feel guilty to the point it cripples you. Made a mistake? Wish you did something different? Don't hate on others with that displaced guilt. Instead be better next time.
- Never compare -- your kids or yourself to anyone. Having twins made it very clear how all kids are different, but beyond that kind of comparing, stop with the "must be nice to have that much money to buy a new bike for your kid/new shoes for yourself/new whatever insert jealousy here" kind of talk. Be thankful for what you do have and don't hate on others for how they live their life.
- Realize things are not always in your control and that's okay. Your kids are going to be kids -- maybe they make a huge mess whenever you go to a restaurant. Instead of being uptight and angry about it, laugh it off. Maybe you'll tip an extra few bucks or help clean up. But don't let it get to you.
- Realize you don't know everything. There are new things to learn every day. Even the most educated person still has more to learn and can even learn things from a child. Open your mind and know you don't know everything. Be open to advice, help, information -- sort it out for yourself without ever thinking it isn't useful somehow.
- Stop worrying about every little thing. Your kid had an accident and can't wear his pants while you are far from home, your daughter wants to wear her shirts inside out -- it should be no big thing.
- Don't drudge up the past. This goes for both your kids and your partner -- and yourself. Mistakes happen -- learn from them and move on.
- Allow your kids to be their own person and accept that they may be different than you.
- Stop being a martyr mother. Have you had any me-time lately? Everyone needs it to refresh.
- Avoid negativity. Seeing the positive side of things as much as possible will make your whole house happier.
- Stop complaining. So the other mom on the playground always dumps her trash on the ground. That's unfortunate, but instead of complaining -- do something. Talk to her nicely -- maybe she doesn't realize (see? avoiding negativity here) or just pick it up if it's not too disgusting. You can't control the actions of everyone else. Don't let their actions get the best of you. This goes for everything your kids do as well.
- Stop worrying what other people think. Your teenager got a nose ring. Your toddler wears hand-me-downs that don't fit exactly right. Whatever it is that you worry other people notice and whisper, you should stop right now. Don't let what you think other people think affect you.
- Don't ever go to bed mad. Instead, remember something amazing from each day, something that made you smile, and cherish it before you go to sleep. It may even help you have sweeter dreams.
- Stop the mommy wars. Newsflash: All parents do things differently. Accept that. Move on.
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It's all advice I'm taking to heart, too. I'll be revisiting this list when I feel I need a refresher.
What things on this list do you need to do more of?
Image via Dawn Huczek/Flickr