Along my journey as a mother of two, my life has taken numerous twists and turns. As much as I have experienced moments of boundless joy and elation, I have also experienced disappointments and failures. I'll not lie -- my first few years as a mother seemed more of a challenge than a blessing. Along the journey, however, I realised what I truly needed to keep me strong through this jerky ride was the virtue of patience and my family's ceaseless support. With these key cornerstones, I also consciously adopted some life practices that have always helped to keep my spirits high, even on days when nothing seems to go right.
Here are five ways that allow me to experience joy and peace as a parent:
1. Making a daily note of my blessings
As a mother, there are a lot of times when you need to push yourself way beyond your limits. It can get extremely exhausting, both physically and mentally. During times like these, I would often become very disgruntled and negative, ruing everything that was wrong, not realising that many more things were right. Many of my friends and family members would tell me how I needed to "calm down" and stop "stressing out" about everything. I'd just snap back at them thinking that they could never understand my plight.
"Without a plan, I used to struggle with everything, including getting my kids to eat, play, study and even sleep."
However, I soon realised that not only was I turning into someone I'd never wanted to become but was also turning my loved ones against me. I then began the practice of writing down all the things that I am blessed and thankful for in a diary every morning. It's amazing how much this simple habit has changed my perspective on life and things in general. It's made me a lot happier and more positive.
2. Planning every day
Another thing that I have learned over the five years of being a mother is that the better planned your day is, the easier things become for you. Without a plan, I used to struggle with everything, including getting my kids to eat, play, study and even sleep. Scheduling my own and my kids' day helps me get my chores done while also ensuring that the children can spend their time as productively and smoothly as possible. Sure, there are days when unforeseen circumstances crop up, and all the planning goes down the drain, but those are exceptions. For such days, I reach out to my family and friends for help and they happily oblige.
3. Spending quality time with my family
One of the greatest perks of planning your day well is that it always leaves you with plenty of time to spend with your family. We make it a point to have dinner together as a family every night. We pick at least two days in the week to do fun stuff together -- whether it is watching movies or spending a day out camping. It's these moments that help us bond, make lasting memories and allow us to unwind after a hard day.
4. Giving my kids the freedom of choice
Just like me, I am sure you too have a lot of dreams and plans for your little ones' futures. While all parents want the best for their kids, I have realised that it is also important to understand what the children want for themselves. Giving my kids the freedom of choice has been one of my best decisions as a mother. I give them the freedom to make simple decisions like choosing their hobbies, picking the clothes they want to wear and selecting the books they want to read, within some set boundaries of course. This practice has done wonders to empower them and has made them very independent.
"Giving my kids the freedom of choice has been one of my best decisions as a mother."
5. Giving myself the "me time" I deserve
We mothers often tend to put ourselves last. Our children's and partner's wellbeing and happiness almost always feature above ours on our list of priorities. Over the years I realised that working so hard to keep everyone happy, I seldom thought about my needs and wants. I used to be overworked and stressed all the time and would find it hard to fall asleep at night, too. That's when I decided I needed to focus on my health and happiness as well. I enrolled in a yoga class and resumed pursuing my hobbies like writing, reading and curating DIYs for our home. I'd meet my friends for lunch at least once a week and make more regular visits to my mother. I figured that taking time out for myself made me a lot happier and peaceful within. It helped me recharge so I could take on my duties as a mother, full swing!
These simple practices have made a remarkable difference in my approach to life. They have helped me evolve not only as a mother and a wife, but also as a person. I have now learned to cherish every moment of every day!
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