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7 Tips On How To Be A Low Maintenance Mommy Friend

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7 Tips On How To Be A Low Maintenance Mommy Friend

In high school and even during college I had some friendships that could be considered high maintenance. Circumstances were different before getting married and having kids. During those earlier phases of life you can certainly bend yourself to allow more quirks and bumps in the road of friendship, especially as you are all figuring out how this friendship thing works.

Now that I am a Mom of three young kids. I have less time for friendships. However, this is a time in life when friends are especially needed. Moms need to have a shoulder or two to lean on when feeling insane, someone to meet up with when you need a few hours without kids, and someone other than a spouse to share life’s challenges and joy.

In order to have healthy friendships that are worth the time and effort, yet don’t cause more work and headaches in life you require low maintenance friendships. Experience has helped me weed out the high maintenance friendships that I have had over the years. At this point I naturally gravitate towards friendships that are low maintenance. It doesn’t mean that they are any less valued. Actually it is quite the contrary. Low maintenance friendships lend themselves to more kindness, openness, and sincerity in the relationship because there isn’t drama, gossip, high expectations, and other things to get in the way.

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Below are my top 7 tips on how to be a low maintenance mommy friend and they are as follows:

1. No Drama

The jealousy among women need to stop if they want to remain friends. We all have different talents and abilities, our kids are all different, and we all have different life experiences. You can’t compare yourself to others. So, if your mom friends act less than perfect, let it go. If their life seems better than yours it’s because probably you don’t know their entire life story and all the details of their life. Let it go. Just be you. Just worry about yourself. Don’t act or react to your negative thoughts and feelings, especially as they relate to others.

Drama usually rears its ugly head in the form of words, so use your words wisely. If there isn’t an upside to something to a friend, then you probably don’t need to say it. If what you are going to say is intended to get a friend’s emotions running high, then you may need to analyze your heart and the intentions behind what you want to say.

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2. No Gossip

The truth about gossip is that it is hurtful. Another truth about gossip that is important to recognize is that if a friend is gossiping about all their other friends, then they are more than likely gossiping about you when they are with their other friends. To be a good friend don’t gossip about your friends. Don’t even gossip about others who aren’t your friends. Change the subject when gossip occurs or find a way to leave the situation. Staying and listening to gossip is just as bad.

3. Time is of No Matter

The best kind of friendship for a mom is one where you can see each other after weeks or months of not seeing one another and you can pick up right where you left off, as though you saw each other the previous day. There may or may not be texts between seeing one another, but it is not taken personally, because fellow moms know that sometimes life gets crazy and hectic and everything besides keeping your family afloat can go by the wayside. This also means that you don’t give your friends a hard time, if they don’t immediately return your calls, texts, or emails. When they eventually get around to it, as life and time allows, that is good enough for you because you are an understanding friend.

4. Low Expectations

Keep low expectations of your fellow mommy friends. Nobody is owed anything by being a friend. It was nice when back in high school and college days meant all your friends around you helped you celebrate your birthday. That sometimes happens with mommy friends, but not always. Some days it is hard enough to remember the birthdays of your own kids. What it boils down to is that nobody owes you for being their friend. If they do nice things for you, like order you a cup of coffee, send you a nice note, or offer to watch your kids, then thank that friend! Extra gestures of kindness are not required in mommy friendships. However, they do make the relationships sweeter. Expecting these acts of kindness from friends will leave you disappointed in your mommy friendships. Try to do the nice things for your friends when you can, but do so without expectations of getting anything in return. That is what true friendship is based on.

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Expectations in your friendships will only lead to disappointment and then resentment. Don’t set yourself up for these negative emotions. Understand that your fellow mom friends are extremely busy and often overwhelmed. Their spouse and children come first, so sometimes friendships don’t get the love and attention we all want to give and receive.

5. Allow for Personality Quirks

Everyone has personality quirks, including you. If you want others to accept you, with your quirks and all, then you need to be accepting of the quirks that others possess. For example, we all have friends that run late. Don’t give them a hard time about it every time they are late. Instead, bring a book along and enjoy the extra time cathing up on your reading. Allow your friends to be human. They are flawed, as we all are flawed. Don’t hold their flaws against them in your friendship.

6. Don’t Criticize- Instead Encourage

Don’t be the critical mommy or the mommy who gives all the advice (you just come off as being a criticizer of those who don’t do things the way you are doing them). Words are powerful, so use them wisely. Look for the positive in your friends and tell them the good things you see in them. Be a positive force in their life. People like to be around others who are positive. Negativity is draining. If you are around friends that are mostly negative, you are going to feel depleted and drained after being around them. Set the example of positivity by looking for the good in others and situations. It doesn’t mean you need to be a Polly-Anna. It just means that focusing on real, positive aspects of life helps others around you see the positive as well.

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7. Allow for Differences

Thomas Jefferson said “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend”. He was a wise man. Everyone has different views in life. If we were all the same we would be robots and life would be boring. Allow your friends to be who they are in life. Embrace the difference, because it makes life interesting.

Don’t hold your friends differing opinions against them. We are all entitled to our opinions. Allow your friends to express their views around you without criticizing them, reacting harshly, or discrediting their opinions. If you put your friends down for their differing views, religious preferences, etc., then you are probably going to lose them. Be thankful that your friends express their views around you. It means they are comfortable around you in sharing this side of themselves.

Gratitude: If you are a mom with awesome mommy friends then consider yourself blessed. Tell your friends that you appreciate them. Good friendship is a true gift.

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More by this author

Dr. Magdalena Battles

A Doctor of Psychology with specialties include children, family relationships, domestic violence, and sexual assault

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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