“I don’t like it.”
Those were the first words my son uttered at the beginning of our family dinner. I just spent the last hour dealing with two strong-willed kids gnawing at me underfoot as I prepared a meal to eat.
They couldn’t bear to eat a morsel of the dinner I carefully crafted to their liking.
It took everything I had not to lose it right then and there.
I grabbed my water, pulled it to my lips for a drink and swallowed a giant gulp along with my pride.
“You don’t have to eat it,” I said.
As much as I wanted to ram it down his throat or bribe him, I knew that wasn’t going to get us anywhere in the long term. There is plenty of fancy science that shows that forcing kids to eat (aka the Clean Plate Club) only creates more problems.
I moved forward with our usual dinner time rules, offering a plate of food at dinner and the kids can take it or leave it.
It didn’t stop there.
As the evening wore on and bedtime approached, the kids became wildly rambunctious. The way I saw it, they were determined to press every button and boundary I set forth.
They equated picking up their rooms to pure torture, refused to put on their pajamas and wailed endlessly on the floor like they had never — literally never — brushed a tooth in their mouths before.
I held firm on my boundaries, but I was desperate for something. Sleeping kids, cooperation, a tiny sliver of listening, anything that resembled less than 5 octave screaming would’ve been appreciated and accepted.
The four hours from late afternoon until bedtime felt like a marathon. I was on the 23rd mile and I wanted to quit. To collapse on the side of the road and say I couldn’t do it anymore. To admit I was too tired and defeated to carry on.
Something had to change. And I knew the solution.
Motherhood. It’s the marathon of a lifetime and it’s not for anyone who wants to take a short cut and shave off a few miles.
It’s like running uphill for 18 years.
Somehow during the tough days, the joy gets stuffed down deep into our hearts. Under layers and layers of stuffing, it’s difficult to figure out where all the joy and happiness of motherhood went.
What if there’s a solution?
Several months ago, I started writing down positive affirmations for moms after reading a fascinating article about a study done at Carnegie Mellon University.
The study showed that “a brief self-affirmation was effective in eliminating the deleterious effects of chronic stress on problem-solving performance, such that chronically stressed self-affirmed participants performed under pressure at the same level as participants with low chronic stress levels.”
Here’s what I did.
I’d take a piece of paper laying around my home, scribble down my little nugget of joy that I wanted to remember throughout the day, and I’d place it on the bathroom mirror.
Each time I went into the bathroom, I’d see the affirmation and say it aloud three times. Here are a few I used in the early part of my personal experiment:
“Everything I do serves a purpose for my family.”
“There is peace and love in my home, even in the midst of chaos.”
“I will let go of how I think today is supposed to go and accept how it imperfectly happens.”
Something transformational happened.
I stopped seeing my kids as tiny little warriors who were out to get me. And I started seeing my kids as tiny little humans who needed me to coach them into the beautiful adults they were meant to be.
I stopped telling myself that I was failing as a mother. And I started to remember that I was the exact parent my child needed to learn important life lessons.
I stopped feeling like I was constantly running an uphill motherhood marathon. And I started to feel like I was soaring to the finish line, repeatedly chanting, “You’ve got this.”
A calm and steady presence began to take over me. I started to unstuff the joy buried deep in my heart, and layer-by-later, the love and appreciation I had for motherhood and my kids was revealed.
Not only did I experience a huge shift away from negative self-talk towards contentment and happiness, my kids shifted too.
It turns out that the presence you carry as a mother is recognized by your children.
As I began to trust myself more and more, the kids seemed to recognize that my calm and steady confidence couldn’t be ruffled by the challenges they set before me.
The kids kicked and screamed, I continued on calm and steady.
The kids cried and pushed boundaries, I continued on calm and steady.
The kids woke up every three hours at night, I silently cursed and remembered there was coffee.
It wasn’t perfect. And it wasn’t easy. But my day-to-day life started to feel more like a 100 yard dash instead of a marathon.
Positive affirmations for moms.
I believed in the power of affirmations so much that I turned them into a set of beautiful printable cards.
I honestly can’t think of a mom who wouldn’t absolutely, without a doubt, fall in-love with these printable positive affirmations. Even if you aren’t a mom, and you’re reading this post, I know every mom would appreciate and LOVE these cards as a sweet gift.
Here are all the positive affirmations for moms included in the card set:
- Just as the needs of my children matter, so do my own.
- I trust my intuition to make intentional parenting choices and decisions.
- I am capable of amazing things if I believe it to be true and act.
- I am brave and courageous for trying even when I think I can’t do it.
- I accept where I am in life and will make the most of today.
- In the eyes, mind and heart of my child, I am a good mom.
- Today I will find peace in being good enough because perfection is impossible.
- Everything thing I do serves a purpose for my family.
- Taking care of myself makes me a better mom because I parent from abundance, not from lack thereof.
- I give myself permission to do something to nurture ME
- My love and connection helps my child above all else.
- Everything is exactly the way it needs to be in order to learn the lessons I need the most.
- Loving my children is more important than loving every moment of motherhood.
- I am a good mom, even as I work to become a better one.
- I am the exact parent my child needs to blossom so I don’t need to compare myself to others.
- There is peace and love in my home, even in the midst of chaos.
- I am grateful for the time with my kids today.
- My family appreciates and loves me, even when they forget to tell me so.
- I will do my best as a mom, and that will always be enough.
- Motherhood is not made up of one success or failure, but rather by the sum of my parenting choices.
- I forgive myself for being an imperfect parent. Today I will let go of the guilt weighing on my shoulders.
- Giving my child time and attention is more important than giving them material things.
- I am what my child needs. Worrying about what others think only distracts me from being the parent I need to be.
- Today I will love fiercely, laugh freely and live courageously. I can never get today back.
- One bad day does not make me a bad mom. One bad day makes me human.
- Taking care of myself is a responsibility I will model to my children without guilt.
- Establishing personal boundaries and sticking to them helps me remember that I am important too.
- The best moms are the ones who struggle the most. It means they care enough do better.
- I will push through challenges so that my struggles today will become my strengths tomorrow.
- A successful relationship with my child is not defined by what we have but by the time we spent together.
- I will let go of how I think today is supposed to go and accept how it imperfectly happens.
Being a mom is enough.
Motherhood isn’t based on perfection. A mother is the person, who kisses the boo-boos, worries during the night, hides in the bathroom to eat chocolate, and shows up for her kids even when it…hurts.
You fight, give, pray, work, and never, ever give up even when you desperately want to quit on the 23rd mile of the marathon. Because the truth is…it was never about being the perfect mother. It was about being the mother who was exactly right for the kids standing right in front of her, loving her, wanting her, needing her.
Remember that you are always, always enough. From the bottom of my heart to the bottom of yours, I know you’ll be so glad you did.
Want more post on motherhood?
- Why I Finally Quit Doing It All
- How to Get Your Kids to Follow a Routine Without Reminders
- Dear Mom of Wild Toddlers
- 5 Unspoken Truths About Being a Stay at Home Mom
- 31 Printable Affirmation Cards for Kids — They’ll Actually Use