How to be a successful mum: 10 easy steps

We can’t all be as marvellous as Mrs Maisel

The New Year is always a good time to set Aims or Resolutions and there’s always a plethora of ‘New Year, New You’ posts doing the rounds on social media. This one caught my eye: ‘10 Things Productive Moms Do Before 10 am‘. Now, before I have a little rant about these types of articles and how they’re denigrating the psyche of women, let’s break down the ’10 Things’ and what ‘real women’ (i.e. me and my mum friends) actually do before 10 am.

10 Things Productive Mums Do Before 10 am…
  • Make your bed

There’s a lot of going back and forth about making your bed in the morning, with ‘motivated’ people doing it, while the rest of us lazy buggers don’t. However, a variety of scientific studies has shown that making your bed is actually bad for your health as it traps dust mites and provides a perfect breeding ground for the little beasties. Leave that bed unmade! Go with science!

  • Open your blinds

This is me opening the blinds in the morning:

  • Exercise/Stretching

I was never a fan of exercising. All that getting sweaty? Not for me. And not for any of the mums I spoke to we’re too busy encouraging our children to eat breakfast (often, shock horror, storebought cereal or toast and jam!), pack bags and prep lunches, feed the dog, as well as a list of everything else we need to do in order to attempt to leave the house on time.

Now, my morning exercise generally comes from walking (read ‘running’) the Lamb to preschool. If I have to carry her part of the way, that’s a ‘weights’ day. Either way, I deserve a biscuit when I get home.

  • Get dressed/ready for the day

Does throwing a jumper over my nightie count? Ok, that’s a little facetious. I’m am, however, reminded of a friend whose little one was very young. She got herself and her little one ready and made it on time to an appointment with the Health VIsitor. Partway through her appointment, the Health Visitor complimented her on how well she was looking after her newborn, then patted my friend on her arm and said ‘You do know your cardigan and t-shirt are on inside out?’ Yeah, me and my mum-gang are totes ‘ready for the day’.

  • Pray/Meditate

I know a lot of friends to pray in the morning, I know I do: I pray we can find the Lamb’s shoes, I pray that the pup will stop barking at the neighbour’s cat and I pray that someone will put the kettle on NOW!

It’s always 50/50 whether my prayers are answered without me invoking the Wrath of Mama.

  • Tidy the home

I have a child and a dog. My home is NEVER tidy.

  • Compliment yourself

If I haven’t lost my shit by 8.30am, I’m doing well. Yay me!

  • Read something uplifting or motivational

I avoid the news. That’s my uplifting gift to myself. Aside from that, a scroll through Instagram and look at pictures of dogs. Does that count?

  • Eat a healthy breakfast

One of my aims for 2019 is to eat more fruit. There’s a lot of fruit in Christmas pudding so I’m winning with my healthy breakfast at the moment!

  • Tell someone you love them

Ok. This is one I do. A lot.

My issue with articles like this is that they come across as sanctimonious and helpful whilst setting you up to fail – if I don’t make my bed or eat a healthy breakfast, I’ll have ‘failed’ at my productivity and my womanhood. They set unrealistic goals and expectations and pit women against each other. Perhaps it’s just the group of mum friends I have but we don’t judge each other on the cleanliness of our homes or compare healthy breakfast routines, we’re all too busy ensuring our children are happy.

Seriously! Have we warped back to the 1950’s? Have we entered the world of Mrs Maisel where we wait for our husbands to fall asleep before removing our makeup because gods forbid they see us ‘unkept’? Where are the articles for ’10 Things Productive Dads Must Do’? Raising a family is a joint venture and I’m fed up of being made to feel less of a mother because I’m not hitting the expectations of a bunch of women stuck in some notion of womanhood from a bygone time.

Mum Guilt

There is so much pressure on mothers nowadays, so much so that if you google ‘mum guilt’ there’s a plethora of articles from mummy bloggers but also features in Marie Claire to the HuffPost and even the Irish Independent. We’re constantly being told we can ‘have it all’ and that in order to be a happy and fulfilled mother (not ‘person’, Mother as that’s evidently the main aim here, not boosting us as individuals) we need to be ‘perfect’ with tidy homes, happy children stuffed with hearty, home-made (preferably home-grown) meals and a husband to whom we’re devoted and who we greet at the door with a martini when he comes home from a hard day at work. We all work in different ways and being forced to live up to standards which are a) based on gender and b) really don’t work for us is, in my opinion, detrimental to your mental health, and therefore the well-being of your family.

I remember a few months ago dropping the Lamb off at preschool a bit late as it was one of those days where everything had gone wrong. I apologised profusely and said I’d also forgotten the Lamb’s drinks bottle as I was having a total ‘mum fail’ day. The Lamb’s headteacher locked me with a TEACHER GLARE and said firmly ‘You’re not a mum fail. You’re here, she’s dressed, clean and happy. The rest doesn’t matter.’ And do you know what, she’s right!

A Real Mum’s Tips To Do Before 10 Am

So here are my 10 Things A Productive Mum will do before 10 am:

  1. Do whatever gets her through the morning
  2. Do whatever gets her through the morning
  3. Drink tea (or coffe, if that’s your bag)
  4. Do whatever gets her through the morning
  5. Do whatever gets her through the morning
  6. Do whatever gets her through the morning
  7. Do whatever gets her through the morning
  8. Do whatever gets her through the morning
  9. Do whatever gets her through the morning
  10. Tell her family she loves them

So, if by 10 am tomorrow you’ve told your child you love them and you’re all happy, that’s all the productivity you need. Happy New Year!

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