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Five Things I Wish Every Mom Knew

For the first quarter of my life, sports framed most of my teachable moments. I learned to push myself past perceived limitations, work well with others, lead, and even deal with common aches and pains in a more reasonable way. One coach used to call this part of sports “The unseen game.” He taught us that even though this part was “in our head,” it was the most important.

Mamas, I am here to tell you that the same applies to motherhood.

So many of our emotions and behaviors have a direct link to the appraisals that we make about ourselves and the world around us. We are constantly making these judgments throughout the day (most of the time without full awareness).

We treat these thoughts as facts instead of hypotheses, and this blind acceptance often leads us down a road of dysfunctional emotions and behaviors. We have to learn to think about what we are thinking about, and to be aware of our critical self-talk and the assessments that we are making about ourselves.

So as you begin this journey of learning to become more aware of your thought life, I would like to tell you five things that I wish every mom knew.

1. YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK. You have the ability to do the work that is before you. Trash those thoughts that tell you otherwise. They are not worth your time.

2. YOUR THOUGHTS ARE IMPORTANT. Our thoughts (self-talk) lead to our emotions, which influences our behavior, and as a result – our environment. Learn to nurture yourself. I like to ask myself if I would let someone talk to my kid in the same way that I am talking to myself.

3. YOU HAVE CONTROL. How much control do you believe that you have over the outcomes or events of your life? Monitor your thoughts. How many thoughts have a blame theme? How many thoughts have a hopeless theme? Yes, bad things happen, but you always have a choice to pivot in all situations. There is always a chance to try a different direction.

4. MOTHERHOOD IS A LEARNED SKILL AND THERE ARE NO PROS. Our kids are always growing and changing; and to put icing on that fact, they all have different personalities and characteristics. I may be like riding a bike, but it is like riding a bike when the landscape is constantly changing under your wheels - Cobblestones, mountain climb, downhill slope, deep, soft beach sand, sudden WALL, (and then a beautiful sunset cruise finds its way into the ride 😊) We are all learning as we go. No one has it all together.

5. SELF-DOUBT IS A PART OF THE JOURNEY. The key is to learn to treat thoughts of self-doubt as hypotheses and not facts. Here are some very common examples of self-doubting thoughts for moms; “I am not patient enough to be a mother,” “I’m not fun enough to be a mother,” or, “I’m not organized enough to be a mother.” Our critical voice wants to make these thoughts general and definitive. Practice a nurturing voice and a scientific mindset. Here is a good place to start – Look for evidence first. "Ok, have I been too impatient lately?" Then clarify and ask yourself, “I may have been impatient in that situation. How can I practice being a bit more patient with my child when they _______?” "Does something need to change in this particular area from a systems perspective?" "Am I giving myself enough self care?" Our nurturing voice (the voice we mostly use with friends) is a voice that helps us keep things in perspective. When we are acting with a scientific mindset, we can use these thoughts to help us grow and pivot.

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