Happy New Year, Mamas. I hope you all had an amazing holiday week full of the cuddles, the cuties, and the crazies, that is motherhood.
In an effort to be of more service to you, and keep our mom tribe conversation flowing, I spent some time processing the mommy moments of 2017 where I felt happier, calmer, and more impactful as a mom/mompreneur/domestic goddess/story teller/TV host/human being.
Amidst lots of reflection, one big aha kept rising to the top.
I was at my happiest, tranquil, flowing-in-the-now, getting-shit-done zone, when I refused to cave-in on a few key calendar items, i.e. non-negotiable activities and events that I felt allowed me to be the best me I could be, in all corners of my life.
Over the past week, I tasked myself with outlining my MNN – Mom Non Negotiables – which you can read here.
Below, I’m sharing some tips I hope will help you not only uncover your own MNN, but create a blueprint to truly make your mom non negotiables a meaningful part of your life. And, as with anything in mommyland, there’s always an out button, because almost nothing ever goes according to plan!
Mom Non Negotiables Step 1 – IDENTIFY DESIRES
The hardest part of being a mom is uncovering your desires. Believe it or not, not all moms are the same. (Insert sarcastic voice!) You don’t have to mother like your sister, your friends, or some influencer mom (me included) that looks like she has it all figured out.
Figure out your own formula for a happy life. Here are some prompts, to get the mama musings flowing:
- What are your favorite moments from your own childhood? (I loved family dinners … before it got dark … this was, of course a different era, and my parents were not growing businesses and working in the capacity that my hubby and I do)
- Can you incorporate your favorite childhood memories into your family formula? (I had to give up the notion of family dinners ever night at 6:30pm. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I’ve negotiated one dinner for all four of us on Friday. And, I have dinner with the kids a minimum of 3x per week. The options are finding another career or not having one for myself, moving to a less-hectic city, or finding a hubby with 8-4pm job.)
- Is being the drop off, I’m-there-every-morning mom more important than the I’ll-read-you-a-book-and-put-you-to-sleep-mom? Can you afford to be both? And, if you canafford all the help in the world, does that mean you have to use it!? (Believe it or not, many women are torn about using or not using help. I was one of them! #NotAMamaMartyrAnyMore and no judgement on myself when I enlist paid help … usually)
- Do you care to be on the PTA or is Personal Time Away going to make you a happier mama? (I need me time, and that might mean skipping out on a bake sale or other events/kid projects that don’t’ rank high on my happy-making list)
- If your day flowed exactly as expected what three items/actions would you like to invite into your daily life? (For me, it’s creating useful time-saving content for you mamas, 1hr fitness which always feels like meditation, and crafting with kids. That’s my dream day, and sometimes this actually happens! You need to know your dreams, in order to drive the ship in the proper direction.)
- Do you have a passion for your career? Is it time to off-ramp and be a stay at home mom? Do you care to be a full-time stay at home mom? Can you be a stay-at-home mom and explore a new professional endeavor? (Ya, these are heavy questions, but it’s key to pause and think them through. It’s taken me years and tears to be honest with myself about wanting to be more stay-at-home than I ever thought I could tolerate. And, yet, I still must be of service outside my family unit, hence our mom tribe community and my volunteering with The Vasculitis Foundation.)
- What and whom do you want to put first? How much me is in mommy? (All I’ll say here is that you always have time for the things you put first, and putting yourself first will make you a stronger mother. So, yes, ask the hubby, sister, friend, babysitter to watch the kids for three hours, so you can indulge in Mom Sunday Spa Night).
Which brings me to ..
Mom Non Negotiables Step 2 – SHARE YOUR DEMANDS
Demands is a strong word, but I like alliteration so “desires” flows nicely into “demands”.
You need to share your wishes with your hubby/partner, daycare helpers, family, friends, whomever needs to know your non-negotiables. Don’t be afraid to share, and don’t feel that you don’t deserve to have the you time, or the simple fun time with the kids (i.e. just the crafting, without the dinner making, dish washing, laundry washing … just the fun stuff … you know, like most dads get to do just the fun stuff … just saying).
Your hubby/family want you to be happy. Tell your nearest and dearest what you need in order to be the best mom you can be. They will, hopefully, help you achieve your desires, as your joy is their joy.
And, your nanny is paid so you can be free and happy. Be clear with your desires of them and yourself. Don’t be a slave driver, but don’t be afraid to ask them to cook, or lightly clean, if that means youwill have the time to create unique works of art, with your unique works of art. (Did you figure out, yet, that I love crafting?)
Mom Non Negotiables Step 3 – DON’T DAMN YOURSELF
Sure, I’m all about non-negotiables, but I’m also a very realist mom, with very real kids, and very real mama drama.
If your kids get sick and you can’t make your monthly spa appointment, that’s okay. Mom life happens. We adjust, when needed.
Now, if your kids happen to get sick every month, at the same time, then you should talk to the hubby or other parties about pitching in, so you can commit to your non-negotiable.
Also, don’t set yourself up for failure by created a non-negotiable that’s unrealistic for your current situation. If your non-negotiable is exercising three days a week, or being home by 4pm so you can spend an hour practicing reading skills, but you begin to see that it’s just not feasible – you don’t have the job, the nanny, the extra hours to make it happen – that’s ok.
You may need to pause or edit the framework of your non-negotiable. Maybe you do a yoga video athome, and in a few months when the kids go to school or you convince your boss it’s a good idea to work from home twice a week, that non-negotiable can go back on the list.
I truly hope these prompts help you, as much as they have helped me, to craft MNN (Mom Non Negotiables, which will feed you more vitamins of vitality and joy, better than a bag of pink M&Ms!!
Drop a comment and share your top Mom Non Negotiables or find me on Instagram @PamelaPekerman where I’ll be sharing how I hope to stay true to my own MNN.