Be a Better Mom!
By Colleen Langenfeld
Copyright (c) 2003
** Not edited by BPO staff

Do you feel frazzled? Are you struggling with thoughts of being overwhelmed? Does simply keeping up seem to be all you ever accomplish?

Take heart! Often when we feel this way, help is just a matter of tweaking what we already know. Use the following list to fine-tune your ability to improve the quality of your efforts as a mom, spouse and careerwoman.

-*- Time out for yourself. All of you.

This includes quiet time for prayer or meditation, pampering and exercise time to give your body the care it needs, and the opportunity to indulge a hobby or two you enjoy. Taking time for yourself means filling up your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fuel tanks, understanding that if you want to do and be a lot, you must nurture and re-fill a lot.

-*- Get organized.

If you have heard this one more times than you can count but don't even know where to start, listen up. Try doing your homework before jumping in on every organizing idea that comes down the pike. First, ask yourself what you REALLY need. Is it personal support? Structured checklists? Help figuring out what your priorities are? Remember to look at both personal and professional scenes here. Once you get clear on your true organizing needs, you'll be in a much better position to find the information and assistance that you can use to genuinely improve your situation.

Still feeling too overwhelmed to tackle this one? Pick out the one chaotic part of your life that bugs
you the most and resolve to make it better. Don't worry about anything else until you have made progress in that one area. If it helps, go at it with a friend. Change is tough; remember to give yourself regular, tangible pats on the back.

-*- Manage your money.

If you are carrying too much debt for your personal mental health, it's time to do something about it.
We are all different, and one person's cash flow management is another's sleepless nights. If you
find you are worrying about money on a regular - even daily - basis, take steps to make it better. No matter how hard it may be to clean up your finances; relentless, nonproductive stress is worse. Give yourself the opportunity to feel better!

-*- Get help when you need it.

Parenting is hard work! Sometimes it's confusing, too. Not only do babies not come with manuals, but being a mom requires you blaze a new trail in uncharted territory. In addition, you may not know the results of your efforts for long periods of time, even years.

The bottom line? Trust yourself, and when you wish you had some more information, guidance, or perspective, get it. Find a parent you admire whose children are farther down the road of life and offer to buy them lunch and chat. Schedule an appointment with your clergy. Call your local social services office and ask what parenting resources are available in your area.

Remember that people asking for help rarely run into big trouble. It's the people who refuse to ask for help that sometimes run off cliffs.

-*- Your career.

Is it what you really want? Are you happy and satisfied with your professional work? If not, simply
taking control of your life's work will make you feel much better and those around you are sure to benefit, too. Get additional training, look into better opportunities, discover your business options.
Developing a plan of self-discovery could lead you into a whole new life.

-*- Your relationships.

In your lifetime you will have many relationships. Among them you can count friends, probably a spouse, maybe children and there is always that pesky extended family! Not to mention coworkers and professional attachments. As a busy mom, you spend way too much time with these people to harbor resentments or pretend no one ever gets under your skin.

Two rules of thumb when it comes to relationships are:
1. If possible, heal any old rifts.
2. Don't sweat the small stuff.

People are notorious for being unkind, selfish, forgetful, other words, human. It is wise
to develop a bit of a tough exterior for dealing with the day in and day out bumps and jolts of human
relationships. On the other hand, if you've been genuinely wounded, or if you know you've hurt another person in your life, do yourself and the people around you a huge favor and seek to heal these painful experiences. It's not possible to go back and rewrite the past, but it is possible to write a brand new future.

-*- Think about what you want for your children long-term.

What is your main parenting goal? Most of all, do you wish health and happiness for your little ones? A productive life? Knowledge of God and their fellow-man? Social service? Clarifying what you believe and what you choose to help your children grasp onto will help you tremendously in the
day-to-day decisions you must make as a parent. Knowing where you are guiding your kids will bring meaning into your routine and a sense of vital stability to your family.

-*- Enjoy them!

Relax! Guide your small children into being people who are enjoyable to be around. Laugh with them. Listen to them. Encourage them. BE THERE for them. Everyone deserves to be number one in someone's life. The old adage that children spell 'time', Y-O-U is very true. In fact, it's really one of the few things they are looking for from you.

Most importantly, see yourself in the equation of your life as the powerful, profound central figure that you truly are. The good news? You have daily choices that only you control, often simple choices that you can use to shape your family life into more of the blessing you long it to be.

So you want to be a better mom? Don't fall into the trap of working harder. Concentrate on the basics and watch your family bloom!

Colleen Langenfeld delivers deals, tips and creative resources to working moms who want
the most out of their homes, families and careers at . Sign up for our free newsletter and get an online Creativity Toolkit as our gift to you!

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