Marriage is tricky. Motherhood? Even trickier. We've got you covered.
Balancing marriage and motherhood is — well — just shy of impossible. So, we asked the experts for their best advice about how you can be everything to everyone all of the time... or at least a great wife to your husband and a great mom to your kids. Here's what they had to say:
1. Be great to yourself. Nurture yourself, take time for your passions and find time to work toward your personal goals. Continuing to grow and thrive will help your family to grow and thrive as well.
2. Stay positive. Make sure you say more positive things than negative. Negatives include corrections, complaints, nagging, and lecturing. Positives include telling them what you love about them by your words or by your actions.
A positive statement might be "Thanks for being quiet while I was on the phone just now. I appreciated your thoughtfulness." Sprinkle your relationships with positive comments and positive things will develop in your relationships.
3. Meet frustration with love. When your child or partner is yelling, screaming, or acting out, surprise him. Instead of reacting back in frustration or anger, make a funny face or just gently and lovingly look at them and offer them a hug.
4. Get your family's opinion. Ask your kids and your partner, every so often, how they think you are doing as a parent and/or partner. Ask them the ways they would like you to improve and try to listen with open ears. Maybe that will inspire them to ask you the same question someday!
5. Share dreams at home. Dreams and stories can be cherished for their own sake in the daily life of a family. When your children or your partner wants to share their dreams, make room for that in your busy life. Making daily space for dream sharing encourages creativity and helps both kids and parents by showing you things that need further action.
6. Play outdoors year-round. Research shows that both adults and children spend more time indoors these days. Establishing a "green hour" for your kids will help them to grow and develop in healthier and playful ways. Taking a walk as a couple in your neighborhood or at a community park nearby home will give you time to talk, plan your week, and create greater intimacy in your relationship.
7. Travel at home. Many families in current economic times can't afford to travel to remote destinations. However, being a tourist in our own home town or city is a playful and easy way to engage in your community.
Post a local map in the kids' playroom or wherever you spend more of your time as a family at home and paint, draw, or post suggestions on places to visit with your kids and as a couple. Put travel dates on your calendar and commit to new adventures. Travel expands our world-view. Both your children and your relationship will benefit.
8. Plan weekly play dates. The most common response I hear when I ask "How are you?" is "Busy!" Posting playdates on your calendar intermingled throughout the week in short bursts or making a once-a-week commitment to both your kids and your relationship to play together shows a heart-based commitment to bringing more joy into your life as a family and as a couple.