Mindset is everything, how you see your life is how you’ll live your life.
I’ll say it a thousand times because I believe so fervently in the truth that our mindsets determine our whole life. We will all experience so much good in our lives but also so much pain, that’s inevitable, but the way we decide to reflect and view our lives is the difference between a happy person and a miserable person.
Every mom has a hard time from the moment she becomes a mother to the moment she takes her last breath. Motherhood is difficult a lot of the time, every time we feel like we’ve mastered this stage, everything changes again, and again, and again. No mom has it easy. No child is perfectly behaved all the time. Through all the chaos that comes with motherhood, some moms seem to actually be happy, how is that?
The “happy moms” are the ones who have their mindsets in the right place. These are the moms who choose to focus their attention on all the things that are going right, they give energy to the positive thinking and behavior, and they always practice an attitude of gratitude – even when disaster strikes. You can be one of the happy moms too, and it’s not about changing your schedule, screen time, or meal prepping… It’s all about how you choose to see your world.
Choosing gratitude, all the time
When we get into the habit of practicing gratitude all the time, we really do begin to see blessings everywhere we look. When the blessings begin to look bigger, the burdens begin to shrink in comparison.
For the last few months, I’ve been stepping away from chaotic moments at home. When the kids start to fight, they get really high energy or start throwing tantrums, I’ve been stepping into the other room and practicing gratitude. It starts with a pause, then deep breathing, and finally I think of some of the things I am grateful for specifically about whoever/whatever is stressing me out at the moment.
When my kids start fighting or throwing tantrums, I immediately begin thinking of all the things I love about my kids, how I’m grateful to get to stay home with them all day, how much I absolutely love them and would feel such a pain and emptiness if anything were to happen to them.
It’s been only a few months of practicing this, and it’s become a knee-jerk reaction. A couple weeks ago my youngest climbed up on the kitchen counter and broke the coffee carafe. I didn’t feel angry, I didn’t feel sad, I felt love and gratitude. I ran to him, I picked him up and held him close, I told him how much I loved him and appreciated him. I safely set him in the living room while I went and cleaned up the broken glass. As I cleaned the mess, I thought about how had this happened a year ago, I know I would have yelled, maybe even cried, but because I’ve made gratitude a habit when things go wrong, that’s what I felt this time.
Minimizing fears and failures, visualize the worst case scenario, and walk it out.
There are so many blessings in our lives that we too often take for granted. It’s easy to forget how blessed we are when the burdens seem so big. Burdens like fear, failure, stress, or pain. Gratitude works to make our blessings appear bigger, but how do we make our burdens smaller?
One method I learned from a past therapist of mine has been to walk out the worst case scenario. I was experiencing a lot of fears about how I was parenting, I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be the mother to my children and I feared that I was screwing up their childhoods and going to cause them to need therapy in the future. My therapist had me walk out my fear and visualize exactly what might happen if I kept parenting the way I was.
At the time, this fear seemed totally reasonable and rational. In retrospect my specific fear that my children might need therapy in the future was incredibly inappropriate. What’s wrong with needing therapy? I’ve been in and out of therapy for the last decade and it’s almost always been incredibly helpful. I’d be lucky to raise sons who understand the importance of mental health and would be willing to seek therapy if they needed it.
If fears of the future or anxiety are your motherhood kryptonite, get in the habit of visualizing your worst case scenario. How bad would it really be? How would you cope and overcome that situation? Walk out what facing that fear would look like and accept it.
When you have a game plan of how you’d handle the worst case scenario, you begin to take away the power that fear holds over you.
Be present, be here and now, the past is gone, the future is unknown – and that’s not a bad thing.
Learning to be in the moment, being mindful of your present experience, is another way to shrink the burdens. Most of our burdens exist in the past or the future, both of which don’t technically exist. We find freedom when we let go of the past, accept what has already happened and move forward. Forgiveness is freedom, this means forgiving yourself too and letting go of shame.
The future is always unknown, and that’s not a bad thing, this means that what you fear or feel anxious about, may never come to pass. Don’t waste today worrying about tomorrow. There’s another kind of freedom that comes from accepting all possible outcomes and futures. Let go of your expectations for tomorrow and realize that the future is always unknown.
Release your past and your future, learn to live in the present.