On Monday morning I got up early (well it was early for me, especially considering it is holidays here!) to take part in a google plus hangout for the Slow Parenting:: Simple Parenting G+ community that was started by Melitsa from the Raising Playful Tots podcast and Play Activities blog.
If you are not familiar with G+ or their hangouts, then think of it as kind of a video chat. Melitsa, and Catherine from Indirect Observation, and I sat infront of our respective computers in various corners of the world and chatted about things… in this case we chatted about parenting mantras.
You can check out a recording of the hang out below:
So after chatting with Melitsa and Catherine I got on with my day, but I kept thinking about the idea of parenting mantras.
I’ve blogged about them before, but in that post I referred to them as a ‘positive first response‘ and, like Catherine at the hangout I used them to deal with those recurrent situations that often drive me batty as a parent. I crafted and stored up those mantras so I had something positive and helpful to trot out when I was feeling stressed, and they work great!
But during the hangout I remembered what was probably my first parenting mantra and one that lots of parents hold dear… “This too shall pass.”
I know I repeated that over and over at times when our twins were little and I felt so far beyond breaking point that I had no idea how any of us were still alive. That phrase was a little glimmer of hope, something positive in what was otherwise a pretty negative mindset.
Looking back now I can see how negative things had become during those dark days. Those days when I felt nothing was going right and it was all my fault. Those days when I felt like the world’s most useless parent. Those days when I couldn’t see anything good for all the bad and difficult. Those days when cutting myself a little slack or remembering things I have done well seemed so impossible.
Our twins are nine now and they cry a lot less. Those really dark days are behind me but I still have patches when I feel like everything I do turns to crap and that I am scarring my kids for life. I still have dark days.
And it’s in those difficult moments that I think parenting mantras could really come into there own.
It’s not often that we parents hear much praise or positive feedback for what we do. Sometimes parenting can feel like the most thankless task in the world. The only ‘performance bonus’ we receive are the moments of love expressed by our children, and while those moments are the reason we keep going, on the dark days, when we need them most, those moments are few and far between. It seems we are even taught to dismiss our roles in the wider community… “what do you do?” “oh… I’m JUST a mum.”
What if we stopped for a moment, every day, whether that day is a bright one or the darkest on record, what if we stopped and remembered to be proud of what we are doing. What if our lives were filled with reminders of how important our role is? What if we were reminded to think of all the things we have gotten right, instead of all the things we get wrong?
Scattered throughout this post are short, positive, parenting mantras. All the images are printable A4 sized pdfs. Click on any of them to open and print or save. Pick one (or two, or three) and stick it on your fridge, on the back of the toilet door, in the pantry. Stick it wherever you go to escape when things get difficult. And when things are difficult, instead of dwelling on the negative, say that mantra out loud and make that little voice in your head a positive one.
You never know… just by cutting yourself some slack, focusing on the positive, encouraging yourself… apart from making yourself feel better, maybe you’ll be better able to handle the dark days and they’ll get better too.
What is your favourite positive parenting mantra?
Share your favourite one or two line positive mantra and I’ll create some more printable pdfs of the best ones.