Posted by: zenmamajo | February 2, 2011

7 Habits of Highly (De)ffective Moms

have you ever felt like some days you were just spent or just couldn’t get things done right? here are some ways we moms (really talking to myself here) may be sabotaging our days and simple ways to turn things around.

1. Lacking a Sense of Humor. Let’s face it – showers are a luxury, nutritious weekday breakfasts are fleeting (adequate time to eat them are a Godsend), laundry may or may not get done, dishes may pile up (hence the reason i use disposable most days!), somethings going to break, spill, get damaged, date nights with our spouse can be awkward (almost like a chore itself) after a grinding week (or weeks, or months!) of work/home responsibilities – but hey – look at the bright side: you survived another day, week, month, and year! Generally there are pockets of humor in every moment.

Challenge: Don’t think something’s funny? Try forcing a smile and keep smiling. It’s incredible the influence a smile has on my mood – even when i’m in a funk.

2. Revel in Not Forgetting the moment. Sometimes (okay: most times) it’s better to just let go of frustrating moments or even days – find the lessons in those times and give yourself the freedom to start new.

Challenge: Think of something that upset you today. Project yourself out 30 years and pretend to look back on that moment and ask yourself if it really was that big of a deal? If not, forget about it and start new.

3. Not Exercising. When is there time??? Over the years I’ve read about war prisoners who kept in shape in their cells by walking, doing push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks. We don’t need the latest Jillian Michaels or P90X DVD to whip us in to shape – we just need to get moving! Like those prisoners (for those of us home bound because of nap/feeding schedules – or even working moms who barely have time to collect themselves at the end of a busy day) – our steps can become a ‘stair stepper’, our house and its rooms the ‘treadmill’ (and yes, i’ve jogged around my house – the kids get such a kick out of it and often join me), push ups (granted, i do ‘girl pushups’, but it’s enough to cause the “burn”!), sit ups and a little weight lifting (picked up some 3,5,10 lb weights at wal-mart) to keep those bones strong – anything to get the heart pumping. oh – and i found that ‘chasing the kids all day’ was *not* enough to keep me (and my heart) in shape.

Challenge: i found being creative helps get me moving. think of some ways to use your house/children/family for exercise. Aim to exercise for 30 min a day, three times a week. I’m a fan of working out in 10 minute blocks.

4. No Continuing Education Plan. Never stop learning! Whether it’s learning about how men are wired, understanding child development, learning a new trade, anything – I find it exciting to learn a new skill. Beginning this assignment, I’ve resolved to learn one new skill at each military assignment (I feel like 1 skill in three years is an attainable goal). My goal for this assignment is to learn how to swim decent enough to participate in a mini-triathlon (but i’ll also settle for swimming a full lap *hahah*).

Challenge: Pick something you’d like to learn about – even if it means reading a short article on how to make freezer meals in bulk.

5. Awful Eating Habits. Ah – good foods – my nemesis. Not that I don’t enjoy healthy foods – I’m simply prone to grab whatever is easiest (and often sweetest) laying around (my favorite: butter pecan ice cream with pecans and chocolate syrup…i had a bowl a DAY for two months after my son was born…sometimes two bowls…oh my…). I try my best to cook whole foods and not overindulge in processed foods. My kids watch what i eat so i try to limit my junkfood intake (i will confess that i’ve denied ‘special treat’ requests only to sneak one for myself later…)

Challenge: Resolve to throw out one bad food in your house and not welcome it back or replace it in a few days.

6. Sporadic/nonexistent spiritual life. For me it’s about developing my relationship with God by (ideally) bible reading, prayer throughout the day, scripture memorization, and simply trusting God to provide what i need for the day. “Ideally” was the key word…It’s incredible how often I neglect these pursuits considering how renewed, centered, and better prepared i feel in dealing with stressors afterwards.

Challenge: Resolve to begin a daily spiritual something – even if it’s just reading or just praying.

7. Little to no family outreach. My greatest challenge is taking my eyes off my own family. There are just sooo many things our family needs to get done on a daily basis that it’s difficult reaching out to help others. I’ve accepted that while our oldest is 5 and the youngest is 4 months, there are some things we can do to encourage others in need such as making crafts, meals, writing letters, and entertaining even though it may cause a little more work for our family.

Challenge: Find a need in your community that your family can help meet.

I’m a fan of starting small – adding one thing and then another. If something doesn’t work, I try something different. Most importantly, I try not to compare myself or my family to others and delight in the fact our family will look different than others.


  1. Great post!

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