As we near Mother’s Day, I can’t help but reflect on all that I’ve learned from parenting my own two children and from having the great privilege of working with so many mothers through my private coaching and parenting classes. In honor of all of you mothers out there, I’d love to share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned that have helped me immensely on this journey called parenting…
- Let go of parenting guilt: I once read a quote by Vicky Lansky that said, “Parenting and guilt go together like peanut butter and jelly.” Oh how true that statement is! When working with clients, I often tell them to imagine guilt as a giant construction roadblock. Just like a roadblock would prevent you from getting where you need to go, guilt is an enormous barrier to effective parenting. It’s almost impossible to be fully present, calm and self-assured when we are consumed with feelings of guilt. More importantly, when we cling to guilt we teach our children to do the same. So, this Mother’s Day, I invite you to release yourself from all parenting guilt. I invite you to be as kind and compassionate to yourself as you are to your children when they make a mistake. And, I invite you to remind yourself that all parents are full of imperfections and the best thing we can model to our children is how to be accepting of our own. What is something that you feel guilty about right now? It is over. Release the guilty feelings. Right now is a new moment and a time to start fresh.
- While you’re at it, let go of judgments: We are often our harshest critics and sometimes we judge other mothers as well. In honor of Mother’s Day, let’s all join together and think of motherhood as a sacred club where we all support and nurture each other rather than judging ourselves or one another. We are all doing the best we can in each and every moment and let’s remember that and give each other the benefit of the doubt. And when we catch ourselves judging, rather than berate ourselves let’s simply become kind, compassionate observers of our thoughts. Let’s notice our judgments and then let them go and move on to the next moment. The more we can do this, the more we will free ourselves from unconscious judgments that pop up into our mind. We will begin to see past the filters of our own thoughts and feelings and the deep longing which most of us have for things to be a certain way. And speaking of judgment, let’s also let go of others’ judgments towards us. Our life is far too precious to spend any time worrying about other people’s judgments. Think of one judgment that you are holding onto. Now, let it go.
- Take time to refuel your own gas tank: I know so many moms who do everything for everyone except for themselves. They are running on empty all of the time. I often ask clients to think about what would happen if they kept driving their car but never stopped to fill it up with gas, change the oil, or give it a regular maintenance check. The car would definitely not be performing at its best and it would eventually completely give out. The same is true for us. We can only give to others what we have. When we are depleted we have nothing to offer others and our mood is often sour which rubs off on those we love most. When our gas tanks our full, we are abundant in what we have to offer and more than that, our energy and spirits are high and can’t help but be contagious to others. I believe that one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our children is to model how to live a life filled with joy. We cannot do that when we are running on empty. So, again, in honor of Mother’s Day, I invite you to let go of any ideas you might have that taking care of yourself is in any way selfish or indulgent. Taking care of yourself and asking for help and support when you need it is one of the most unselfish things you can do because when your tank is full it benefits all those around you especially your children. What is one thing you can do today to fill up your own gas tank?
Wishing you all a Mother’s Day free from guilt and judgment and filled with all sorts of moments that refuel and replenish you! And by the way, now that we are all part of the sacred mothers club, if we see another mother down let’s take the time to stop and pick her up.