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 the images to download the free printable posters to 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.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
It is what it is.
Jodie Benveniste says
Kate – I’m a big fan of mantras and of manifestos! These are all great -thanks for sharing! Jodie @ Parent Wellbeing
Hinterland Mama says
Kate, that was wonderful. Brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for the acknowledgement. I’ve often caught myself saying I’m JUST a Mum. But really – that in itself is So Much!
I say the following words to myself, in so many situations.
“Slow down – I CAN do this” (whatever ‘this’ may be; being strong, finding time, standing my ground or perhaps letting go.)
There’s quite a list of parenting moments, where this mantra gets me through.
Janet Dubac says
I read your post and tried making parenting mantras of my own and boy, they are really amazing! They really do work wonders especially when I am near my breaking point. I am so glad I came across your post. Thank you so much for this and more power to you. :)
maryanne @ mama smiles says
“We can do hard things” is my current favorite. I learned it from my sister, and it works for me as well as the kids!
I love the we can do hard things
Have you heard of the book Time In parenting by Otto Weiniger (cant recall the exact spelling). He talks about “loaning your strength” to your children when they need it so I often come back to that when its a struggle and one or more of the kids are ‘losing it’. Its also a reminder that we has mums also sometimes need to loan our strength to other mums (support them stay calm around them) and that we also need to be able to ask others for help and LOAN STRENGTH from others around us
and the Circle of Security parenting program (COS – Bert Powell and others from USA) sums up the essence of all you need to know about being a parent in25 words or less with this great statement (the whole parenting program fleshes it out a lot more) but a great one to stick on the fridge as an anchor and a goal. It states ” Always be Bigger Kinder Wiser and Stronger than your child. Whereever possible follow their Need. Whenever necessary Take Charge”. It goes into more detail of when and why we are not always being Bigger Kinder Wiser and Stronger and what those needs are when your child is Exploring and when they are returning to get their Emotional Needs met. It talks about the role of the parent as Secure Base from which the child goes off to explore the world and a Safe Base to return to so another simple reminder is “I am my childs Secure Base and their Safe Haven” or “I can be…” or “I am learning to be….”
Another great one is “ALL BEHAVIOUR IS COMMUNICATION”
Yes, yes, yes Michelle – wonderful resources!
also love the idea of “filling your tank” from the Love Languages books. I think the phrase is “How full is your love tank and what do you need to fill it ” or something cheesy like that but its a good one to ask yourself about you and your own needs and also about your children or husband etc.
I am not just a mom but The Mom :)
Thank you :)
“This too shall pass” I love this because it can be used when things are tough during times when I it hard to see past the challenge of the moment or when things are just beautiful and I just want to hold on to the moment forever.
Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky says
I so wanted to be a part of the hang out, but we were too busy that day. I love these mantras, and I also used “this too shall pass” so often. So, so often. Less often these days, which I think is a good thing. I have been thinking a lot about pregnancy, birth, parenting, expectations, and making things hard on myself. I have a big ol’ lengthy post of the topic, if I can ever get my words out right. You have written this so well, I love your mantras and will be printing them out and putting them on display ready for when newborn #2 arrives!
Debbie @ Aspiring Mum says
I love these. The words I frequently visit are: It is what it is, Just breathe and I am blessed. They definitely help when those crazy times come along.
Ness @ One Perfect Day says
Thanks for sharing the recording of the hang out. I wanted to join in but I’ve never seen one and am clueless about Google+ so I was too scared to take part. Now I know what to expect next time! This is a beautiful post Kate. This too shall pass has been a fave of mine for a long time, not just for parenting but for life in general. Another of my favourites is “Not every day is good, but there is something good in every day”.
Danya Banya says
So many great ones. I like “we can do hard things” too.
Thanks for including the hangout snippet…so interesting. I must admit that someone on the multiples forum told me about ‘This too shall Pass’ and i have really embraced that one. I liked hearing it from other twin Mums who had already been through the stage i was going through so i knew it would pass. I love the strength and emotion of this post Kate…thank you so much for sharing so honestly and reminding us all that we are so much more than ‘just Mum’!
‘stay out of the jungle’ for when the kids are going ape and I’m feeling compelled to join in
also, when it’s been a tough day, I always try to forgive myself for all the things I could have done better and give myself & my kids a ‘clean slate, fresh start’ every morning.