By Jennifer Keitt
Here are five ways for mothers to keep body and soul together as another school year approaches.
Heal self-defeating thoughts
“I stunk at math and my kids will stink too!” This was my greatest self-sabotaging thought as a mom, and I had to heal! As moms we allow toxic negative thoughts to run through our minds every single day. It’s time to stop it this school year.
Moms can be defeated in their parenting before they get out of bed in the morning. Thoughts can’t be removed — they have to be replaced. So here is what every mom needs to try: Face the fear. Just because you aren’t good at math, for example, doesn’t mean that’s going to be your child’s truth.
It’s hard, but arrest those thoughts as soon as they enter into your mind. Then replace the negative “Jimmy isn’t going to ”‘get’” math thought with “Jimmy is smart, resourceful and able to do it.” (Plus, Mom, you can hire a tutor or grab a homework coach to support him). Repeat these “healing” thoughts and strategies every time those old self-defeating ones come up.
Have patience with yourself
Life takes patience — especially life as a mom! So the cookies burned up — run to the store and put some store-bought cookies on the tray to send into school. So your child is wearing the same socks two days in a row — he/she won’t die. Cut yourself some slack. Take a deep breath, slowly exhale, and give yourself the gift of having patience with you every day this school year.
Attend to your own needs
It’s hard for moms to “put their oxygen masks on first.” I know. I’ve raised four kids! The boldest thing moms can do is dare to take care of themselves first.
Get up early and go out on that Saturday morning run. Grab that cup of coffee with a friend for girl talk. Take a long bath locked behind closed doors at midnight. Attending to your own needs first is taking the time to honor you, and preparing to be the best mom possible for your kids this school year. You can’t be who you haven’t nurtured and you can’t give what you don’t have.
Know what makes you smile
We lose sight of how much joy our children really do bring into our lives underneath the crushing weight of the responsibility of parenting. This school year, remember over and over again what you love about your children.
What do your kids do that only they can do to make you smile? My son is the only one on the planet that can flash those eyes and teeth and melt my heart. I know this and I look forward to it.
Moms, plan for moments of laughter throughout the school year while in the car line, waiting after practices, or trudging through homework. Lighten your life by knowing what makes you smile.
Before you know it, the kids are gone. I know this sounds cliché but, because I am acutely aware of how real this really is, I want to encourage you to stroll slowly through this school year rather than trying to get through it in a dash. The scariest thing you can do as a mom is to will yourself to keep the bigger picture in mind.
Don’t sacrifice the relationship with your kids while trying to preserve your reputation as “Mom.” It can be hard to keep the bigger picture in mind when they won’t get out of bed in the morning; but trust me, it’s worth keeping a lifetime with your child in mind every single day this school year.
Jennifer Keitt empowers and educates more than one million listeners across the globe each week as the host of Today’s Black Woman Radio Show and her new talk show, The Jennifer Keitt Show, which airs on KISS 104FM in Atlanta, GA. Visit her website at www.jenniferkeitt.com.