Every year on Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think back to those first days after giving birth and how overwhelmed I felt. When you first became a mother, didn’t you wish there was a playbook written just for you? One that would take into account your utter lack of experience along with the temperament of the beautiful and delicate human being you just gave birth to? It’s ironic that, despite all the books I read during my pregnancy, nothing really prepared me for what it was truly like to embark on the challenging and amazing journey of motherhood.
Now that my daughter Chloe has graduated from high school and will be starting college in the fall, I can look back and feel good about the job I did in raising her to be the incredible young woman she has become.
Although I am proud of the mother I am, there were many times while my daughter was growing up that I silently chastised myself for not being the perfect mother—one who was better, smarter, more flexible and patient, etc. Rather than focusing on my parenting successes, I could be self-critical and pay attention to my perceived shortcomings. This of course made me feel like a failure at times. Can you relate?
Gratefully, I found that with age comes wisdom, and I can now accept that even though I wasn’t perfect, I raised a great kid. And that speaks to me much louder than the judgments I had of myself as a mother in the past.
I also know that parenting is, by far, the most important job you have. It’s also the hardest one! So, if you’re anything like I was, it’s time to cut yourself some slack for mistakes or regrets you may be holding onto.Parenting is, by far, the most important job you have. It’s also the hardest one! It’s time to cut yourself some slack for mistakes or regrets you may be holding onto and focus instead on all the ways you have been an amazing mother! Click To Tweet
Giving Yourself Credit
When you think about your child—or children—is there anything (within reason) that you wouldn’t do for them if you were able to? My guess is you would answer that question with a resounding, “no!” I also bet that you are a pretty amazing mom who doesn’t give herself the credit she deserves.
It’s time to change that!
To help you start identifying all the great things you do—and have done—as a mother, I want to share with you a journaling exercise I did that helped me identify what I did well, rather than the self-criticism I was prone to in the past for being an imperfect mom. Doing this is a great way to honor yourself for Mother’s Day. In other words, by focusing more on the positives instead of the negatives, I was able to shift my mindset which allowed me to recognize and acknowledge the good things I have done in my job as a mother.
Here’s the exercise:
Doing this is a great way to honor yourself for Mother’s Day!
- Build some me-time into your upcoming schedule so you can write in your journal.
- Each time you sit down to do this, first take a few minutes and do some deep breathing or a little meditation to calm and clear your busy mind.
- Start thinking about the various ways you have been a good mother and write each one down. Come up with at least 10.
- Give yourself the praise you deserve and let go of any fears about complimenting yourself.
10 Ways I Have Been a Good Mother
If you’d like some examples to help you get started, here are 10 of the things I have written down about why I am a good mother:
- While she is still growing up, Chloe will always be my first priority in life.
- I know I will do anything I can to encourage her and help her succeed.
- I will always be there for her when she needs me.
- I have been a positive role-model in teaching her how to take good care of her body and brain.
- I taught her self-respect and how to set healthy boundaries for herself.
- Being honest with her encouraged her to be open and honest with me. Even though we have different views on certain topics, we can talk about things and agree to disagree.
- She knows I will always love her—even if I get frustrated with her at times.
- Chloe has healthy friendships and is a good friend to others.
- When she’s feeling down, I know how to help her work through things.
- When we go places, we have the best time together. I know she is having as much fun being with me as I am being with her.
While all of us moms have made errors during this journey, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. So, without reservation, start thinking about many ways you have rocked motherhood, and set the time aside to record them in your journal. Re-reading them occasionally can be a good reminder of all the strength, patience, care, and love you have as the incredible mother you really are!
For more inspiration, order my new memoir, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child: How Persistence, Grit, and Faith Created a Reluctant Healer.