Okay, okay, we know. New year's resolutions are a little cliche at this point. Let's face it, there's a reason 80% of us let our "New Year, New Me" plans slip before the end of January. But we can't resist the opportunity for a fresh start, and the beginning of 2024 seems like as good a place as any, right?
So, instead of setting some grand goals we know we're never gonna stick to, here's our realistic list of things you can let go of for a better year. Starting with...
1. Mum guilt
Ah, that familiar, persistent whisper in your ear. A pang of self-doubt and worry that creeps in when you question if you're doing enough for your kids. The feeling of not measuring up to your own impossibly high standards, or comparing yourself to other perfect mums around you and online. Mum guilt can range from mild to overwhelming, leaving you feeling anxious, inadequate, or torn between conflicting responsibilities.
Letting go of mum guilt isn't just about you feeling better—it's absolutely vital for your wellbeing, as well as your kids' development. When you release that guilt, you free up mental space and energy to be present and engaged with your family. After all, parenting isn't about being perfect; it's about doing the best you can. Celebrate the small victories, because every smile, hug, and "I love you" is a testament to your incredible mum powers.
2. Negative self-talk
Whether it's more mum guilt, negative body image, or just plain old getting down on yourself; it's so easy to let those frequent critical thoughts creep in and shape our reality. Before we know it, those thoughts feel like facts, and we end up believing things about ourselves that simply aren't true (and certainly aren't helpful.)
The thing is, these thoughts and feelings are totally normal. But just like we learned to think them, we can learn to unthink them. Practice recognising these thoughts as they pop up. Acknowledge them, and try to reframe them. Get more used to showing yourself the compassion you deserve, and speak to yourself the way you would a close friend.
3. Comparing yourself to others
Comparison truly is the thief of joy. We've all seen the mums on instagram with perfectly curated feeds of their perfect families and beautifully clean homes, where everyone is always smiling and wearing matching outfits and nobody ever has last night's dinner stains on their t-shirt (wait, how long since that shirt was cleaned, anyway?) But that's not your life, and that's OKAY! You're comparing their highlight reel to your director's cut, no wonder yours seems so much messier.
It's important to understand that every family has its unique journey, and what works for one may not necessarily work for another. Remind yourself that everyone's circumstances are different, and appearances can be deceiving (and your messy piles of laundry won't be the thing to ruin your baby's future, promise!) Let yourself focus on your own strengths and accomplishments as a parent. Embrace the uniqueness of your family's story and journey, and recognise that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. Your path is uniquely yours, and that's something to celebrate!
4. Always needing to feel 'busy'
With the rise of hustle culture, we seem to have developed a pervasive belief that being busy = being a better, more productive parent. The thing is, constantly chasing busyness can lead to burnout and, ironically, decreased effectiveness in parenting.
Embracing rest and downtime is essential for recharging your batteries and being fully present for your kids. Allow yourself the grace to pause, relax, and recharge without feeling guilty. Here's your friendly but firm reminder that rest isn't a luxury; it's a necessity for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. When you take time to rejuvenate, you're actually enhancing your ability to be a more patient, attentive, and loving parent. So, let's let go of glorifying busyness—prioritise moments of rest and self-care to be the best mum you can be.
5. Putting yourself last.
Very easy to slip into the habit of putting your needs last on the list, huh? All the mum guilt, the comparisons, the negative self talk, the need to feel busy - it can all add up to you pouring from your cup into everyone else's, without remembering to refill your own. Tell me something, mama... how are you going to keep pouring from your cup if it's empty?
A lot of people will remind you that neglecting your own well being ultimately affects your ability to care for your children effectively. And that's true, and so important. But I'd like to go one step further and remind you that you're more than just a parent—you're an individual with your own dreams, passions, and identity. Nurturing yourself isn't selfish; it's an essential part of maintaining balance and happiness. Taking time to pursue your interests, hobbies, or career aspirations doesn't diminish your role as a loving and dedicated parent. In fact, it sets a powerful example for your children. And isn't that the kind of role model you'd love to be?
So here are the top 5 things we're leaving behind in 2023. A different kind of new year's resolution, and some lessons we can work on over time; after all, it's a journey and not a destination.
Remember: by prioritising your own needs and maintaining connections with your individual identity outside of motherhood, you not only honor yourself but also create a healthier and more fulfilling family dynamic. You deserve care and nurturing just as much as anyone else in your family, so here's to letting go of things that don't serve you in 2024. Happy New Year! ✨🥂