Mantras for Motherhood is my 6 part blog series, where I talk about the little quotes and phrases that get me through life as a mum to three little ones, get me focussing on the good stuff and keep mama guilt at bay as much as possible. I love a motivational quote on a Monday morning, facebook and Instagram are full of them, but to be honest most of the offerings that float around my timeline don’t really apply to my life… it’s hard to get ‘fired up’ about ‘smashing my goals’ or ‘reaching my dreams’ when my goal is just to get everyone dressed so we can go to the shop and get milk, and my dream is to get to bedtime without any major calamities… shoot for the moon indeed.
So I’ve been saving little quotes that really do help whenever I find them, and they have evolved into six mantras that I look at most days and even better than that, if I’m having a crappy day, if I’m stressing over something or feeling like a rubbish mum, I can usually find a mantra that will help me out and give me some perspective on the situation.
Every Monday for the next few weeks I will be introducing you to one of my mantras and what it means to me. Some of them I have done a facebook live chat about, so I will put the video in where I can, and even better than that… I have made you a printable version of my mantra cards for you to print off and use at home if you want to! Just click HERE to find all the posts in the series, and the link to your free printable download.
So, onto today’s mantra…
This mantra is the one that really helps me on days when I’m not feeling my best. Maybe Ernie has had me up all night and I’m shattered, or I’ve got a little cold, or I stayed up too late the night before to watch one more episode of whatever series we’re currently binge watching, or we’re in the middle or a heatwave and it’s 100 degrees in the house and I just want to sit naked in a paddling pool all day (I don’t cope well with heat). Or on days when something goes against my plan, maybe Ernie won’t go down for a nap when I need him too, or Greta has an accident just when we’re ready to head out the door and it makes us late. Whatever it is, whatever reason I have for feeling a bit off my game, it can totally throw off my whole day.
I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, but I think most of us have a bit of a perfectionist streak in us, and for me it causes all sorts of problems. As soon as one thing doesn’t go to plan, I just give up. Something in my head seems to think, well if it isn’t going to be the perfect day, then why even bother trying? I may as well just not even bother to do whatever it was I had planned, because it’s not going to work out like the perfect vision I had in my head.
Obviously that is so counterproductive it’s ridiculous and almost guarantees that we are going to have a totally horrendous day! So I have to remind myself to just do what I can do, and let that be enough, don’t worry about perfection, who needs perfection? I’m not going to suddenly be crowned the best mum in the world if I finally manage to have that one elusive ‘perfect day’!
I’m going to be a good mum by just trying my best and doing what I can do, day in day out, every single day.
And I am going to let that be enough. I’m not going to beat myself up about what I didn’t do, what I should have done and what went wrong. I’m not going to mourn the loss of my beautiful plan for the perfect day. I’m just going to accept that I did the best I could with what I had, and move on. Maybe tomorrow will be better, or maybe we’ll eat crisps and watch Paw Patrol on repeat, who knows? But I know that I will do my best and that will be enough, because that is all my children need.
In fact I think it’s really important that my children see me making mistakes and not beating myself up about it.
When Mabel is trying to write her name, do I point out all the mistakes or do I praise her for having a go and celebrate the huge effort she has made? When Greta doesn’t make it to the potty in time, do I tell her off for not having 100% success rate, or do I say it’s ok, you’re doing a great job, we can try to get it in the potty next time? When Ernie is learning to stand up and he lets go of the walker, lifts his arms in the air and falls straight on his bum, do I frown at him or do I smile, pick him up and give him a kiss?
Of course I don’t expect my children to be perfect, they are learning and growing…. but so am I! I shouldn’t expect perfection from myself either and I definitely shouldn’t let my children think that I am perfect or that I know everything, or can do everything. Trying your best, making mistakes, trying again… it’s all part of the learning process and not something I want my children to ever give up on.
So I need to practice what I preach because children learn from example after all. I’m going to have a go, even when I know something isn’t going to go perfectly. And I’m not going to overly criticise myself for not being perfect because perfect isn’t the aim, good enough is the aim.
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