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Healthy Kids: It Starts with Mom

As a new mom, we learn to scrutinize every nuance of our baby to understand what the little person is trying to tell us.  Before long we know the difference in the cry for food and the cry from pain. We continuously monitor the signals our infant gives and we’re experts in non-verbal communication.  Why? Because it matters. It tells us what we need to know to have a healthy, happy child.

That’s all well and good. However, in the midst of all the attention we give our child, we can neglect the one thing she/he needs most: a healthy, happy mother. In our efforts to be the best we can be–and keep up with the [apparently] super successful mom-bloggers–we can overlook our own physical and emotional needs. As wonderful and miraculous as it is to create babies, it’s easy to channel every dab of our energy toward taking care of them and neglect ourselves, leaving us depleted and weary.  You have needs that won’t get met unless you meet them.

So, how do we take care of ourselves?

As a young mom I developed some coping mechanisms, my personal mom hacks if you will:  prioritizing, journaling, laughing, and praying,

  1. Prioritizing: Once I realized I wasn’t just responsible for five little boys, but I was shaping them into the men they would become, my priorities shifted. The children were no longer a part of my life; they were my life. Now that they are adults, I get to be a  part of their lives.
  2. Journaling: When I failed to find the perfect person to be a sounding board for me, I turned to journaling. The collection of writing tablets and spiral bound books became my outlet for the thoughts, emotions, doubts, and victories of everyday childrearing. Once I captured my feelings on paper, I didn’t need to carry them around mentally, so this habit was stress-relieving. If I hadn’t written down experiences as they happened, I couldn’t recall most of them now.
  3. Laughing: Laughter is good medicine. Find out what tickles you.  Some days I embarrass myself by standing in the card aisle laughing out loud. Pausing in the midst of a hectic routine to chuckle at someone’s witticism is refreshing to me. (Nowadays we have to look no further than the emojis and gifs on our phones). Laugh with your children. They will realize soon enough how weighty life can be; encouraging levity helps you both release emotional energy in a healthy way.
  4. Praying: My biggest survival tool was prayer. My faith is what truly kept me grounded during motherhood. Because of my faith, my life is purpose driven. I know I am chosen to be a mother to our sons. And I know there is a source of strength and wisdom which empowers me to fulfill this role.

How about you, Mom? Are you monitoring your own needs?  We want to know your mom-hacks! Share your comments, questions, and secrets (by all means!). We need support, encouragement, and refreshment from each other.  

A note about the author:

Careen Strange is author of Hello, Young Mothers, an honest and comical look at the realities of day-to-day motherhood. She and her husband, Burt, have been married 50 years, raised five sons, and are now grandparents to 11 grandchildren. To learn more about Careen and her work with young mothers, visit careenstrange.com.

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