Being a mom is a tough job, and really you don’t get credit for most of the things that you do. There are a lot of expectations once you become a mother, and everyone has their opinion on how you can be a better one. Growing up, I know I thought my parents could have done better, but as you get older, you realize that your parents did the best that they could with what they had. So, CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK! Sometimes, it feels like, as women, we are held to a higher standard: there is this weird incessant need inside of us to be perfect, all the time, and there is really no reason for it. So, here are some helpful tips on how to stay positive in this world that is always telling you that you are not good enough.

1. Don’t take on everything yourself. Asking for help may have never occurred to you. Other moms can do it, so why can’t I? To be honest, other moms can’t do it all on their own, and are holding on by a thread just like the rest of us! Or, they ask for help. Having a support system is the best when you have kids. We all know the old saying ‘it takes a village…”, so why do we think we can do everything ourselves? Why not help each other, talk to other moms on the team, and see if you can come up with a carpool schedule, so you don’t have to rush home from work every day. Or, have you and your partner switch off from week to week. Sometimes you get stuck in a routine: you pick up the kids from school, take them to practice, rush home and make dinner, and the list goes on and on. The good news is it does not have to always be this way. Make a list of all the things you ‘have to do’, and sit down with your partner or a family member who can help you out. See if they can take on some of the responsibilities. Moms think we can take it all on, but it is not our responsibility to take it all on. Ask for a little help, and be willing to let go of that control. It does not make you a bad mother; it actually makes you a better mother and a happier mother because it will reduce your stress, and allow you to spend more quality time with your family.

2. Be happy with what you have. Jealousy and envy are dangerous monsters. You may not even think you are being jealous or that it is holding you back. It is one thing to have a goal and to create steps to get there; it is an entirely different thing to ‘wish’ for things and never make steps to get there. You are never going to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, so stop trying. Look at your home, look at your family, look at yourself, and see what you do have. You probably have a lot, and you should be proud of all the things you have and of your family. I know I have been to cheer competitions, and some of these teams cost a lot to be a part of. Some of these other parents have their hair blown out and makeup perfect. I have seen a mother at a competition who not only had a $5,000 purse, but she placed her purse ON THE DIRTY FLOOR?! I don’t know how much money you have to have to put a purse like that on floor, but I can tell you with confidence, it is more money then I will have in my entire lifetime. Cheerleading is an expensive sport, and there are people who are pretty well off at some of these competitions. But, comparing yourself to anyone else is not going to make you happy, and it does not mean that they are better than you in some way. Instead of buying the $5,000 purse to keep up with these moms, spend the money on a getaway for you and the family. You will be happier not ‘needing’ things to make yourself and your family happy, since having all those things do not equal happiness.

3. Take some time for yourself. This is something I personally struggle with–I feel guilty when I take time for myself. I never understand how my partner doesn’t even think about it; he finds the time and makes it work. I try to find time to decompress after I get off of work, then I get home and I am running around, being pulled in 50 different directions as soon as I walk through the door. Talking with other mothers, it seems like they struggle with this, too. So, I thought to myself, “what if I got home 30 minutes later than I normally do? What would happen?” NOTHING! Nothing happened at all! The world did not end, my family was fine, and the only one who really noticed was my dog. By taking an extra half hour to dedicate to myself, I am happier, and when I get home and am rushing around a million directions at once, I am ready. You can take those 30 minutes to do something you enjoy, like photography, getting a cup of coffee, or going to the gym. You have the time, and you don’t need to feel guilty about it. As a working mom, you have to learn the difference between spending time with your kid versus spending quality time with your kid. With kids, it is really about quality over quantity. Spending 30 minutes on yourself before you get home helps you be able to have that quality time. If you come home frazzled, you won’t have that quality time with your kids. So, stop feeling guilty, and take a 30-minute walk outside before you go home. We love our kids; we cannot take care of them if we don’t take care of ourselves.

Sometimes, it is hard to stay positive when you are a mom. You can think positive thoughts and do deep breathing or meditation. But, all of those things can be hard when you are at the grocery store with a sick kid who is screaming and everyone is looking at you–like you are the worst mother in the world. With lifestyle changes like asking for help, not comparing yourself to other mothers, and taking some time for yourself, you will be happier and more positive in your daily life. Just remember: you are doing the best you can, and you are doing a good job! Stop doubting yourself, and remember you are awesome!

What are other best practices for cheer mothers to stay positive? Share what works for you in the comments!