Between work, taking care of the home and the hectic demands of everyday life, the typical woman wonders how she can balance all she has to do with her roles as a wife and mother — and if it’s even possible to become the best of both. Tips for becoming a better mom and wife are generally simple and straightforward, but these tips are not always simple to do. Make an effort to improve, but remember not to be too hard on yourself. Becoming a better mom and wife doesn’t mean you have to be the perfect wife and mother.
Let go of the stereotypes of perfection
As Paula Spencer explains in her article on first-time mothering, society and people’s own experiences can give you an image of the perfect mother or wife. Or conversely, give you an idea of the type of wife and mother you’d like to avoid becoming. “Best” is a relative term.
The best wife and mother is not a cookie-cutter stereotype
Put your children and husband first. Just like your husband should put the children and you first in his list of priorities, your children and your husband should take precedence over work, your to-do list and your own personal activities. That’s not to say that you should devote all of your time to your husband and kids—that’s unhealthy—but you need to make one-on-one time for each of them every single day, even if that means you have to take a deep breath, push other things out of your mind and force yourself to unwind.
Surprise your kids and husband every once in a while
Give a special handmade gift, cook a favorite meal or treat them to a special outing “just because.” You’ll be surprised how happy this can make your loved ones.
Engage in stimulating activities with the family. You’re not properly bonding with your kids and husband if you just watch TV together. Try playing games with your kids, taking them on an outing or supervising their homework. Ask them how their day was and be an approachable, caring parent.
Don’t just discuss serious things with your husband
Make the time to talk to each other about your separate days, do an occasional activity alone together and be intimate. Laura Schlessinger discusses in her book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands that men are simple and want few things—but they need these things to be happy and fulfilled. Communication, respect and clear and honest affection are what men want from their wives, according to Schlessinger and the men she interviewed.
Make time for yourself
While your priorities should change once you become a wife and a mother, that doesn’t mean that you leave yourself behind. Spencer points out that you’ll change as a parent, but you’ll still be yourself. Nurture your own interests at least once a week and make time to spend with friends once every few weeks. This short “break” from the family allows you to rejuvenate yourself and come back ready to be a supportive and affectionate wife and mother. Failure to take time to develop yourself could make you resentful and unhappy, which means your kids and husband will suffer as well.
If you feel that your relationship with your kids and/or your husband is strained and that these tips won’t help you repair the relationship on their own, don’t be afraid to try family counseling. Remember that respect and love are two-way streets. If you don’t feel loved and respected for all you do, try counseling and open communication. Above all, don’t try too hard to the point where you feel stressed. Forcing yourself to be happy can overwhelm you. Let mothering, a successful marriage and happiness come naturally.