Every mom needs a little help from time to time. Okay, fine, like a staff of volunteers and an open bar would be great, but I digress. To get through life’s messy tangles try one of these five mantras to help you navigate the choppy waters of parenting.
1. This too shall pass.
Your kid just gave the cat a haircut? Your mother-in-law just called you to tell you (again) why she doesn’t understand why you can’t keep a clean house? Your asshole neighbor decided to wait until after your kids spent the night to tell you that they found bedbugs in their house?
Sometimes the best thing to do is grin at the trouble surrounding you and just get through the motions of it while knowing that whatever aggravation has presented itself to you is not a permanent state.
2. If it makes for a good story, then it is worth doing.
Do you want to grab the kids and go on a spontaneous adventure to some place you’ve never been? Or what about saying “yes” to your child’s demands that you set up a pillow fort in the living room and spend the night in it?
Do it! Ask yourself if this wacky, wild, bizarre opportunity is one of those “making a memory” moments that we all crave. So what if it isn’t braiding hair and trading secrets? You get to have a great story to tell when your kids get bigger. This is how family lore and legends are created, so grab those moments and go hog wild.
3. Be brave. Be bold.
It sounds cheesy, I know, but those terrible moments when you need to confront life are when this mantra truly comes in handy. Like when you have to defend your kid in the face of bullying. Or when you have to face serious medical decisions about your child’s health. In those moments when it feels more natural to crawl into a fetal position and cry into a sleeve of cookies, you gotta be brave. You gotta be bold.
Motherhood requires us to deal with public ridicule over our parenting choices. It demands our time and money and love and often leaves us feeling overwhelmed but not permitted to admit how hard or exhausting our job is. This is when we need to be brave enough to be the moms we need to be, yet bold enough to say and do the thing we each know in our hearts is the right thing in that certain moment. Even if that means claiming time and energy for only ourselves.
4. Will I care when I am 80?
Do you want that tattoo of an owl on your hip? Fine. Will you give a fuck about it when you’re 80? If you don’t think so, then get it. Do you want to quit the PTA even though it will royally upset your mom friends? Ask yourself if you will care when you are 80. See? This is a fun game. Keep asking those questions.
You know what? Sometimes you have to throw your hands up in the air and declare “I don’t give a fuck,” because otherwise, life will get the best of you. IDGAF doesn’t make you a jerk, and it doesn’t mean you don’t care about things. It just means that when you realize your limits of patience have been met, you can say “no” and not feel bad. Own it. And then move on. Hell, pour a glass of wine and revel in your “fuck this” attitude. You’ve earned it!
Putting life’s momentary conflicts of interest into perspective does wonders for the decision-making process. By the time you’re 80, you will likely only care about the things that truly matter, like love and happiness, compassion and laughter — but definitely not things like Betty Sue freaking out because you didn’t want to bake 98 cupcakes for the Fall Fling dance at your kid’s school. Screw that.
Whatever your mantra is (Namaste, anyone?), use it liberally and often. Mumble it under your breath. Shout it at the top of your lungs. Whatever works.
Say whatever you have to say to empower yourself to be fierce and strong.
Because you are.