Motherhood is challenging. Even when you love it more than anything, it’s still exhausting. Keeping realistic expectations and having tools to help you get through the rough days are essential to your mental and physical wellbeing. Some of my favorite tools are what our team calls Mama Mantras.
We cover mindfulness and meditation a lot, but I often hear from moms who say they don’t feel like they can commit to a meditation practice. When people say this, it always reminds me of the zen proverb:
You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.
It’s funny and true. But honestly – who could blame a mother for stressing about her lack of time? A Welch’s study of 2,000 American mothers found motherhood to be the equivalent of working 2.5 jobs. Most moms are putting in 98 parenting hours a week. It’s not really a shock when a mom (especially of young kids) tells you she hardly has time for herself.
One way to bring more mindfulness into your day is to start with affirmations. They’re quick and can be powerful. Deepak Chopra says a mantra is “truly a vehicle that takes you into quieter, more peaceful levels of the mind.”
Mama Mantras to Help You Appreciate the Good Times and Cope With the Challenging Times
These mama mantras can provide you with support just when you need it. They can be a source of comfort, reassurance, or inspiration. The best part is you can use them anytime and anywhere.
You may have to try them for a few days before they feel natural. Take a deep breath and ground yourself, then just pick the one that feels right to you and say it once out loud. Go to the bathroom, your closet, or the car alone if you feel self-conscious. You can repeat it in your mind, but there’s something more powerful about speaking your intention out loud.
I’m willing to let this be easy.
Earlier this week my son noticed a crack in the lens of the camera he has on loan from school. He immediately started worrying about whether it would work for the next day’s assignment, calculating how he could afford to replace it, and trying to remember anything that could have damaged the lens.
He’s careful with his belongings, so I knew it was an accident. But while I tried to stay calm, I also worried that this would be a pretty expensive lesson for him. The cost of that lens is in the $500 range.
I took a deep breath and said, “I’m willing to let this be easy” and felt the words calm my nervous system. Then I looked more carefully at the lens and said, “Wait! It’s just the UV filter.” We found the exact one online for $9. He hugged me and let out a huge sigh of relief.
Am I claiming that the affirmation saved him $490?
Of course not.
But I 100% believe that it saved us a day and a half of further stress. He planned to take it to the journalism lab the next afternoon to explain what happened and find out how to replace the lens. He would have dreaded every second until that time, which probably would have carried over into other classes and his sleep.
By diffusing the negative energy, I was able to see clearly what my hyped-up mind was overlooking. And it really did turn out to be easy.
I am enough.
A common theme among our readers’ concerns is whether they’re doing enough for their kids. A lot of mothers recognize they have issues around perfectionism. It’s sometimes easy to confuse doing enough with being enough.
I am happy to assure you that you are enough. You wouldn’t even be drawn to an article about mama mantras if you weren’t already parenting consciously on some level.
And just the fact that you care enough to worry about whether you’re a good mother means you are.
Even when your patience runs thin and you snap at your toddler. Even when you can’t help but keep score on who changed more diapers this week (spoiler: we all know it was you). Even when your kid gets in trouble at school and you feel like a failure as a parent.
You are still enough.
Say it as often as you need until it settles in your bones.
I graciously accept help.
Up until the last couple of generations, child-rearing involved community and extended family. This new solo, do-it-all approach to modern motherhood is wrong. Our culture is wrong for making us think this should be normal.
I have to remind myself of this one often. There is no award for being a martyr. When I rush around the house doing everything in a resentful huff, nobody cares. They just try to avoid me. Even if there was an award, it would probably be a sad medal that says, “She put herself last.” Do we want that?
In our interview with Do Less author Kate Northrup, she says asking for help is a sign of courage, not weakness. And when we accept help, we’re empowering other women to do the same. I love this advice she shared, “Being willing to ask for help is a true sign of strength, because it means that we know our worth is not dependent upon our own ability to handle things.”
A bad day doesn’t make me a bad mom.
We all have days we’re not proud of. It’s important to remember they don’t define us. Learn from those times. What was the final straw? How could you have avoided getting to that point? Apologize if you need to.
This mantra can help you snap out of a guilt trip or pity party. It gives you permission to forgive yourself and move on to the next day.
Today is a new day.
This is the perfect parenting affirmation to follow the bad day. Whether your child had a meltdown, you lost your temper, or your partner was grumpy yesterday – everyone can start fresh today.
Plus it’s a great excuse to quote Ted Lasso: “You know what the happiest animal on earth is? It’s a goldfish. You know why? Got a ten-second memory. Be a goldfish, Sam.”
I am the perfect mother for my child.
Many spiritual teachers believe that we choose our parents. They say there are lessons our souls opted to learn on Earth and that we get matched up with the perfect family to teach us those lessons. If you believe that, then it’s an easy leap to believing that you are the ideal parent for your child.
There’s no one else who knows your child the way you do. When you parent from a place of mindfulness and connection, you’re always in tune with your child’s needs. When you learn to trust your mothering instincts, you stop worrying so much about what other people think and parent from your intuition.
Things are always working out.
This is just a fun one. Life has a way of living up (or down) to our expectations. Bedtime, meal time with a picky eater, or afternoon traffic – we often expect these to be a battle before they even start. When you approach them with an open mind, they might surprise you by being fun… or at least going smoothly.
Louise Hay told a sweet story about parents who put affirmations in practice after reading her book You Can Create an Exceptional Life. Their preschooler was resisting bath time so hard, the whole family dreaded it. She advised the parents to start an affirmation about how bath time is a peaceful and joyous experience. It took several days for the parents to say it where they could believe it, but to their surprise, bath time started going a little more smoothly every night. One night a few weeks later, the little boy came running up to them and asked, “Is it bath time yet?” The parents said they couldn’t believe the change that one little tweak made in their minds and their home.
I love that example because it shows the power of a very specific mantra and the mind and energy shifts that go along with it.
So, get creative with your affirmations. And if you have one you think we should share here, let us know!