Being a mom is hard work. Being a mom in the age of social media is even harder with impossible standards galore. Being a mom who’s going it alone during a deployment — don’t even get me started.
I know you’re already stretched thin, and I know you’re already a great mom, but adding these quick tips to your everyday life will make you and your littles happier during the challenges a deployment can bring.
1 – Smile more.
You may already smile at your children a lot, but consider smiling at them when smiles are harder to come by. If there’s a tough moment, make yourself smile, whether you feel like it or not. Studies have shown that the simple act of smiling can actually change your mood, not to mention the fact that children are constantly reading our body language. If you feel tense, your children are aware. Smiling could put you both at ease.
2 – Think of one thing you’re thankful for about them.
Practicing gratitude in an intentional way can transform the way we think. Set an alarm for one or more times each day when you will stop what you’re doing and think of why you’re grateful for your child. It will help you maintain a more positive outlook on parenting and life while your hubby is away.
3 – Tell them what you’re thankful for.
Children depend on adults to help them build a healthy self-image. Telling your children some of the reasons you’re thankful for them could have a huge impact, and you’ll also be modeling gratitude for them, which can have long-term benefits.
4 – Find something to praise them for.
You could probably combine this one with the idea above, but I really mean finding something to praise them for while they’re in action. Encouraging good behavior through praise is a great way to keep your child on the right path (or to get them back on track when they’re a little off).
5 – Have a tickle fight.
Laughter is the best medicine. Play can also be a great way to bond with your children. Tickle fights are the best of both worlds.
6 – Cuddle.
Physical touch is essential from the time a child is born. It helps them bond with parents and gives them a sense of security. Taking the time to cuddle them each day is a great way to reassure them during a difficult time.
7 – Tell them you love them.
Okay, okay, you probably tell your kids you love them on a regular basis. But do you ever just tell them how much you love them randomly? As in not right before a goodbye or bedtime? Tell your kids you love them spontaneously to make them feel special.
8 – Take time to read with them.
The benefits of reading for children are endless. However, especially for a child who may be struggling emotionally, reading is a relaxing activity that you can do together. Spending time bonding over a common activity will not only bring you closer, but will also help your child feel more secure.
9 – Ask them how they feel.
You might just be surprised by the thoughts and emotions bouncing around in your child’s head. Set aside some time each week to meet with them and ask them how they are feeling. This is also a great time to create a “safe space” where they can tell you things without you getting angry (which is not to say punishment is never involved). Use this time to respond calmly to your child and to try to understand his or her actions. Opening up the lines of communication may reveal underlying issues that affect your child’s behavior and will help you be a better parent in the long run.
10 – Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can.
Look, mama. Those Pinterest moms and women on social media who “have it all together” are not the standard you need to live up to. Don’t beat yourself up! God made you your child’s mama. No one else. You are doing the best you can, and you can lean on God to get you the rest of the way.