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What To Do When You Can't. Even. Ten Tips for Getting Motivated and Keeping Your Cool

Ladies, being a mom can be a thankless and exhausting job. I don't know about you, but I sure as shit don't have the patience or the unlimited energy to live up to the American fantasy of a "good mom". A good mom makes healthy and nutritious meals for her family and serves them with a smile. A good mom keeps the house clean, does crafts, bakes cookies and still finds the time to drive her husband wild in the bedroom. Good lord, no one can honestly do all of that, day in and day out, at least not without some serious help. On bad days in my house, I keep the kids alive and don't run down the street screaming, and I consider that a major win.

We all have days when we feel like we've got this parenting thing nailed, but there are always the flip-side days, the days when we JUST. CAN'T. EVEN. On those days, be kind to yourself. Ignore that voice in your head, you know the one, the one that says you're a bad mom and that you're doing it all wrong. Tell that hussy to shut up! Instead, try one of the strategies below. Pretty soon, the storm will pass and you'll have discovered new motivation to be, not the best mom, but the best version of yourself that you can be.

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(FYI- This is me trying to be the perfect mom all while keeping my cool, being a loving wife, writing stuff people actually want to read, working out, texting people back, drinking enough water, keeping a clean house, all while staying sane.)

When You Lose Your Cool

Give yourself a timeout. When you're feeling like an angry toddler, go ahead and treat yourself like one. Remove yourself from the situation that is making you frustrated for a minute or two. Your kids will be fine without you for a short time, and you'll have taught them a healthy strategy for dealing with frustration. My go-to time out spot is the garage. While you're away, take at least ten deep breaths and focus on why you are feeling so angry. Often, it has less to do with your child's behavior and more with something within you. For example, when my kids don't listen, it makes me feel unseen and this has always been a trigger for me. You can come back with new knowledge about yourself and maybe a better way to talk to your children about your anger.

Get outside. There's just something special about getting out into the fresh air. It works wonders on humans of all ages. If you and your children or your spouse are having a rough day, go outside together and do something physical. Toddlers are so easily distracted that a little time having fun with you in the sunshine can really reset the entire day.

Dance it out. My family is all about a dance party. It puts a smile on everyone's face. We take turns choosing the song and everyone has to dance whether you like the song or not. Spending time with my kids, watching them, without speaking, really puts me back into a place of love and helps the anger and frustration subside. How can you stay angry when you're watching a two year old dance with abandon?

Try this awesome hair band tip from Kelly at Happy You, Happy Family. I read this last week and it really resonated with me. Reading that it takes five positive interactions to make up for every one negative interaction was heartbreaking. That's why I think it's so important to use this visual reminder to speak with kindness and love.

Read these tips from the book, Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham and beautifully summarized by Megan on her blog, The Boho Mama.

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When You Can't Get Off The Couch

Create Your Top Three Tasks- Every morning, make a list of the top three tasks you need to accomplish that day. When you're already feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated a twenty-plus item to do list can be incredibly daunting. However, prioritizing just three important tasks a day seems totally doable.

Itemize your to do list- This is my go-to strategy when my to-do list is getting out of control. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the list, I break the list up between the seven days in the week. Once the list is split up, it suddenly seems much more manageable and suddenly I can breathe again.

Start With What's Easy- When you're not feeling your best, don't feel bad about just starting with what's easy. Sometimes just getting off the couch and getting started is the most challenging part. When you start with one simple task, the others will fall into place.

Start Parenting Yourself- Please watch this TED Talk by Mel Robbins, How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over. It offers some truly life-changing ideas about getting things done and making the most out of your life. The part about parenting yourself really stuck with me. Whether it's working out, finding a new job or potty training your child, you're never going to "feel like it". Use your best mom-voice, kindly tell yourself that it's time to put on your big girl pants and get moving!

Make a different kind of list- To stay motivated sometimes you need to see what you've done. If you're already feeling like a lazy good for nothing, it's really easy to give up. Instead, write a list of all of the positive things you accomplished that day. Be sure to include the basics like, I took a shower and brushed my teeth. Put everything on there. When you see what you've accomplished, you'll be more likely to stay motivated.

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It's so easy to get into a rut and fall into negative thought patterns, especially during the winter months. This winter has been particularly challenging for me, so I'm right there with you, but it's almost behind us! Let's go on a journey of self-discovery this month, just in time for Spring. Let's forget about the "good mom" stereotypes and figure out what makes us happy, what motivates us, and let's kick to the curb the things in our lives (fear, shame, negativity, toxic people, etc.) that are getting in the way! We got this!

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For more tips on keeping your cool and getting motivated, please follow us on Pinterest. And if you have great advice of your own to share, please let us know in the comment section of our Facebook post!

♥ Erin

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