I recently sat back and asked myself a question a lot of us might try and avoid: “Self, how are you doing as a parent?”
I scrunched my face a bit, shuffled in my seat and nodded as I answered the inquiry.
Like most mamas – and perhaps most humans – I first thought about some of my shortcomings and mistakes. I thought about my short fuse with my firstborn, triggered by pent-up energy because I have not figured out a schedule that supports me running. Then there’s my short fuse triggered by her simply being a two-year old – wow. Then I closed my eyes and realize I’m on my phone quite a bit when I’m with my daughters. Next I thought about the tricky balance of going back to work. And lastly, of course I took a weird turn down the Instagram-comparison hole and landed on the mom who recently made her own play dough and that other parent who just took their baby to Italy (what in the hell?).
And then finally, I switched gears.
I turned to celebration of my parenting style. I closed my eyes again and instead saw real moments with my daughter: sitting on the front porch reading books and taking a minute to look deep into her brown eyes, hold her and tell her I love her. I saw moments with the girls on my and my husband’s back as we trek up and down the Rocky Mountains. I recalled letting my youngest daughter – who is just about four months old – stay up past her bedtime because she was coo-ing and smiling and truly enjoying herself and me so much. And to be honest, I delighted in the simple fact that it’s September, and we’ve already watched two Christmas movies.
I sat for a moment basking in the glow of it all: the mental drama and the good stuff, the mistakes and the celebrations. Then I said to myself, “You are doing a great job, Mama darling.” (I say darling when I am really sweet to myself.)
We all operate on a set of beliefs that we choose as truth.
Choose. This choice – these beliefs – determine how we speak to ourselves, to our children and to the world.
Consider my belief when I see the mom with her homemade play dough. I immediately go to a lack, feeling lesser than as a mother. I wonder if I am a lazy parent. I ask myself why I don’t make play dough and even go as far as wondering what kind of mom I am with our Christmas movies in the fall while I’m on my phone working, missing my kids’ lives.
Okay self, reign it in.
How wonderful would it be to choose a different belief when I see that mom with her play dough? Instead of all that, I could say, “I am doing a great job as a mama,” and then be able to say, ‘Wow, play dough-making mom, you are doing a great job out there. I see you and cheers you.”
And that would be it. I would move on with my day – just like that.
I wouldn’t sit longer on my phone going to the Pinterest app to find a recipe for organic play dough. Because y’all, I don’t even make dinner up in here (love you, husband!), I am not going to make play dough. And that is okay.
I am going to Mom my own way. Wow, that feels like freedom.
Writer’s Note: If you want to sing it, channel Stevie Nicks in the Fleetwood Mac ‘Go Your Own Way’ jam and really set yourself free today.
When we operate on beliefs that do not serve us well, we not only succumb to an ideal or a way of being that is not true to ourselves, we shift out of alignment and live distracted and reactive. Not only do negative beliefs influence how we feel about ourselves, they have a direct impact on how our children feel, how our partners feel and how the world feels in response.
If you have a limiting belief about your parenting style, it is time to let that shit go. Yes, right now. And from there, write a new belief that does serve you, something like, “I am doing the best I can,” or “I know I love my children with all my heart and they know it, too,” or, “I am learning as I go as a mother.”
Or maybe you say to yourself with a big old permission slip, “I can mom my own way.”
And from this belief, we lead by example, we love our children and ourselves fully.
Let’s try it, together.
Edited by: Jessie Collins