How Being a Better Mom Starts with the Way You Think
Do you ever stop to think about what kind of mom you are? I do. Like most mom’s I wonder how I’m doing. If she could give me a review, what would she say? Since she’s a little too young for that, it’s time for some self-reflection. It’s time to examine my Motherhood Mindset.
You might be familiar with the self-assessment employers require from you before your annual review. I used to dread them! It can be a fine balance between tooting your own horn and trying to recognize areas of potential growth. It’s hard to be self-critical. But, in parenting, more than anything else, a critical eye is important.
Questions I Asked Myself:
- How am I doing?
- What are my parenting strengths/ challenges?
- How am I going to make changes?
- What kind of parent do I want to be?
- What do I want for my daughter?
Overall, things are going pretty well. As a single parent, I am always concerned that I am not ruining her life. At the same time, I recognize that I can do better, with my choice of words and patience.
Motherhood Mindset Assessment
Do you ever have those moments when you say something and really hear yourself? We talk and talk, but how often do we stop and listen? Listen. You may realize that you have patterns. There are patterns in the words you say, your tone and your actions.
I know, I know, parenting is repetition. The only way they even hear what we’re saying is after we’ve repeated ourselves no fewer than 10 times and that’s being conservative.
In my case, what I’m talking about here is my choice of words. For example, I say “No” far more than I want to. In some cases it’s warranted based on her behavior. In others, it’s in reference to my lack of desire to do something. There have been times when I don’t even listen to the request before ‘no’ is coming out of my mouth.
I also say, “can’t” too much. Helen Hensell wrote a post titled, “Why I Banned My 5 Year Old From Saying This Word,” where she spoke in depth on the use of the word ‘can’t.’ It’s a great article that highlighted all of the reasons why I’ve never liked that word. But, I still say it.
I’m a hypocrite. I try to empower my daughter by telling her she can do anything, but I also use “can’t.” “No, you can’t do that.” “No, we can’t go there.”
She’s too young to know the nuances of my reasoning. I do my best to explain things to her, but how could she not be confused? There are certainly other ways to get the same message across. I need a Motherhood Mindset Makeover.
Changing My Motherhood Mindset
Assessment done. Now what? I see where I can improve. You may not think saying “no” and “can’t” too much is a big deal, but I do. I have been limiting both of us. To continue without trying to do better would be motherhood malpractice. Ok, that might be a little dramatic, but still.
What I know is that my reactions come from impatience. I assume that a task is going to be difficult if she’s involved so I just don’t involve her. That’s no way for her to learn or for us to live. For me to deny an experience for her is laziness on my part. I might be inconvenienced and perhaps even frustrated, but that will be short-lived once she learns.
The 3 P’s
- Patience: When I’m in a hurry, I admit there are times when I forget that I’m dealing with a young child. I need to slow down. I can’t expect her to react or understand things like an adult. Remember your audience.
- Be Present: I need to stop and listen to what she’s saying. When I don’t listen, I miss out on opportunities for connection and education.
- Practice What I Preach: Be an example. As a kid, I was never a fan of, “do as I say, not as I do.” The fact is she will do as I do; model the behavior I am trying to teach.
I limit myself because of the anticipation of embarrassing or bad behavior. I know that a change in perspective can improve your outlook and response to different situations. Once you recognize your patterns, it’s easier to adjust how you respond to your triggers and find a different approach.
I’ve already begun put these changes in place. So far, it feels like the frustration on both our parts is beginning to ease. I now plan for her to help me in the kitchen and allow the time for us to both enjoy the experience. We are working together and not in the opposition that I previously created.
As parents, we look forward to our kids reaching various milestones in their growth journey.
Making a list of goals is pretty common. We have goals for weight loss, savings and career trajectory. But in all of that planning, how often do you hear about parenting goals. Not enough time is spent on our metrics as parents.
Everyday, my goal is to provide an environment where my child feels safe and loved. But beyond that, I do have some goals.
- Share more experiences together: Sometimes I get anxious about doing things on our own
- Encourage and foster her independence: She’s at an age where she’s my baby and a big girl and I don’t want to hold back her growth
- Be someone worthy of her respect: Invest in myself so she can have someone to look up to
This is just a sampling of the goals I have for myself as a parent and for us as a family. I want so much for us, that it can sometimes feel overwhelming and unattainable.
If you go to a professional sports game, each player has a hype song that’s played when they’re announced. I could use some of that, couldn’t you? In place of filling my spirit with music to pump me up, here are some words to get my mind in the right space.
- I am not perfect and that’s ok
- I learn from my mistakes
- It’s ok to feel overwhelmed and exhausted
- I give myself permission to be happy
- Today, I will try my best
- I love hard
- I know my child is happy and healthy
- Today, I will focus on being present
- I am enough as I am.
- I can ask for help
- My love for my child motivates me
- It’s ok to teach boundaries and have boundaries
- We are ok
- I’m stronger than I realize
- I am blessed
- My daughter needs me to take care of myself
- I am meant to be her mom
- It’s ok to want time alone
- I am thankful for my life
- I show my child love every day
- Every new day is a step forward
- I trust my actions and intentions as a mother
- Success is on the other side of fear
- I am blessed
- This is not a competition
Affirmations come down to embracing your strengths and turning your weaknesses into opportunities. Use them as a way to build yourself up and, at the same time, give yourself the space to be human. Even in those “weaker” moments, growth is possible.
Related Article: Daily Affirmations for Kids
Parenting is the ultimate stress test. Our patience is tested. Boundaries are tested. Buttons are pushed. Through it all, we try to remain strong and unflappable.
It helps to remember that parents and kids are resilient. We have the ability to heal and to grow. As a parent, understanding and acknowledging your weaknesses can help in improving your parenting. As with many things, the first step is a chance in perspective.
Everyday brings a new opportunity to do better. Understanding that, and changing my motherhood mindset, has been key in helping me to make adjustments in how I do things.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think I’m a good mom. I am. Being a parent is hard, important work. It’s important enough to set aside my ego and do what I need to do to ensure she is always getting the best of me. Today, she’s happy, healthy and thriving, so for now at least, I’m on the right track.
Related Article: Effective Communication with Your Child
Do you ever think about what kind of parent you are? Where do you shine? What are your challenges? Share your tips, advice and experiences in the comments.