Be who you needed when you were younger.
One of my favorite words to describe the transition into motherhood is called matrescence. What is matrescence? It’s all the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual changes a woman goes through during her personal transition into motherhood. Don’t you just love that? It’s also not just a one time big transition, but a constant stream of changes at every stage in your children’s development too.
As parents, many of us would love a manual on how to raise our kids and an exact timeline on when they will meet their own developmental milestones. Often, we’ll hear phrases like, “all babies do xyx” or “all kids do xyz” which can leave parents feeling like their kids are behind in some way. A much healthier and inclusive approach is to embrace the phrase, “all babies and all kids are different.” This mantra frees your child from the burden of living in someone else’s timeline, so they will hopefully be able to mature and develop on their own personal timeline. And, if there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed, you can come up with a good game plan with you kid’s pediatrician, someone who actually knows your kid.
It can also be helpful to have a personal affirmation or mantra that you use when you notice that you’re spending too much time in your head worrying about your child’s future. This anxiety can rob you of the joy and connection that’s often right in front of you. Some helpful daily mantras may include:
- Be here now (my personal favorite!)
- Be still
- You are worthy/my child is worthy
- Connection first
- Don’t lose sight of what’s most important
- Be your self (for both you and your child)
What’s your favorite affirmation or mantra?
Here are some ways to start changing your behavior and quieting down the anxiety about the future, so you can appreciate your child right where they are today:
- Write down the behavior changes you want to make in your life.
- Put up visual cues that you see throughout the day. This can be a great reminder as to why this is so important to you in the first place (such as you and your child laughing together in a family vacation photo).
- Take time each day to visualize yourself connecting with your child in a deeper, more meaningful way. Make it real in your mind. Picture yourself in that moment.
- Come up with a mantra to help you stay focused on your goals. Make it something definitive that will help you stay present and grounded in this moment.
- Talk about it. Let your children know that you’re working on being a more attentive mom to them.
- Ask for extra emotional support from family and friends when you need it.
Would you add anything to this list?
Don’t forget that with all things, this is a process. There will be ups and downs as you make these behavioral changes in your life. When you do revert back to your “old ways” be it yelling or letting your anxiety get in the way of connecting with your child, remember the repair. It’s not so much what you said or did, but what you do after what you said or did that is so very important.