Stop taking it personally. I have cried in the bathroom or have cried myself to sleep multiple times because the kids didn’t want to nap or didn’t like what I made for dinner. Dude, they’re kids. Kids are awesome because they legit don’t give a f*ck what anyone thinks. Not into those noodles? They’ll push the plate away. Don’t feel like napping? Eventually you’ll just stop trying. When your children don’t like your food or don’t want to nap or shat through a onesie in the jogging stroller when you’re on mile 3 and are supposed to run 10, it simply isn’t your fault. Chill out.
Understand the mom guilt. Guilt really, really sucks. And the toughest thing about guilt is that we can’t get rid of it or burn it off as easily as other emotions. If we are angry, we can go run five miles and come back totally cool. Sadness? Just cry it out and walk away. But guilt? It lurks around the corners and you have to make a mental effort to get rid of it. Guilt stems from feeling like you did or didn’t do something you should have done. To get rid of it, you have two options: 1) Go do the thing you were supposed to do or go apologize for the thing you did; 2) Understand your actions (or lack thereof) are justified so you need to forget about it and move on. Above all, the only person who can “make” you continue to feel guilty is you.
Decide that your day is about to be the best day ever. Every Sunday night, I decide that my Monday is going to kick ass, so it does. I could also change things up and decide that Monday sucks, and in that case, Monday would most definitely suck. See, with kids and jobs and all that, you’re not in control of much. You can control one thing, always: your attitude and your thoughts. You’ll get the kind of day you want. Regardless of if I spill coffee on myself on the way out the door, didn’t sleep enough, or forgot half the shit I was supposed to bring with me – my Monday will be the best Monday ever because that’s how I want it. Simple. Also, this is one of the most empowering things about being alive: You control your thoughts!
Take action. It’s really easy to get into the cycle of “I’m so overwhelmed, so I’ll just sit here and do nothing.” I will tell you first hand that stuff doesn’t just quietly go away. You’re responsible for taking care of whatever messes, both big and small, that you’ve made. I used to think that eventually, everything troublesome in my life would just “smooth itself out.” Ha! Nope. Make a list and tackle it. Whether it’s financial or kid or spouse related, get that stuff down on paper and work through the list. Trust me – you’ll feel better, and it won’t seem like a student loan bill has become the focal point of your life once you figure out what to do with it.
Replace it with “Just wanted to say I love you.” No joke – I have flipped my shit through texts to my husband over dog hair, laundry, dishes, kids that won’t sleep, running out of formula, being low on diapers…and for what? What is the point of being overly critical? Yeah, maybe we are low on formula. A simple way to handle that is “Hey honey, can you run to get a bottle of formula?” Every time you open your mouth to criticize your husband, replace it with “Just wanted to say I love you.” Seriously, do this for a week every time you want to yell at your husband over not emptying the garbage. You will not go wrong being kind and selfless, ever, for any reason.