Owning the mama you are.
In case no one has told you recently, you are the most important person in your child’s life. I know, that statement can be kind of terrifying. I don’t want it to scare you though, I want it to empower you. We as mamas have an extraordinary intuition, especially when it comes to our children. We know the depths of our child’s being and know what is best for them. We play such an important role in who they are, and even more important, who they become. Everything we speak into them will either tear them down or lift them up.
Owning who you are as a mama is not only beneficial to you but your child as well. I have had many experiences during my first year of motherhood where I have been criticized for how I choose to raise Marek. I have brushed things off, and I have also spoken up. At the end of the day, I have realized that the one thing that truly matters and has made a substantial difference in how I carry and view myself as a new mama is having pride in who I am.
I make an effort to ask myself frequently “Am I happy with the mother I am? Do I think I am giving him enough?” It’s important to know that it’s not how you respond to those questions, but how you react that’s the key to being a constructive parent. Now, I definitely have moments that I’m not proud of. I get frustrated when my son won’t nap and the dishes are piling up and dinner needs to be made, or when he slaps my laptop when I have an entire essay assignment due in thirty minutes. Sometimes I hide in the bathroom or tell Matt I’m not feeling well so I can get some extra help, even though he just worked through the night and went to school all day.
Yeah, those weren’t my proudest moments… but, I make an effort to show up. I reflect, and I put into action those little things that are going to make a difference for Marek. I truly believe being present with your child is going to have the biggest impact and I really try to do that as much as I can. I read that extra book with him that I missed the night before, I take a moment to smell and kiss him longer when I drop him off at daycare. I play the monster and get rug burn on my knees, chasing after him just to hear that sweet laugh one more time.
My husband and I are constantly holding one another accountable to put our phones down and be together. It’s tough sometimes when you just want to escape. We as mamas aren’t perfect, and that’s really ok. It’s important to embrace who we are through our imperfections and give ourselves grace, but also, know when changes need to be made within ourselves and become the mindful mamas our children need. I want to share a few important topics that I have reflected on throughout this first year that has shaped me into the mama I am. I hope this can help you consider the things you do with your child, and even give yourself a moment of grace.
Your children are watching; set the example.
We can’t teach our children to behave a certain way if we don’t embody that in our day-to-day. This one always gets me. I reflect on this idea quite often and it whips me into shape. To love, show kindness, respect for yourself and others. Our children don’t know what that looks like at a young age, and it starts with us to teach them. Sometimes my sass gets the best of me, but I continue to make an effort to own my mistakes and make them right, especially in front of Marek.
Setting the example doesn’t always have to be how you treat others, but your work ethic and integrity, too. One of the reasons I chose to go back to school was for Marek. I don’t want it to make it seem like that was the reason, because I was actually taking classes up until I gave birth and knew I would get my degree at some point, but I probably would have taken off longer if I hadn’t push myself to enroll again. I want to show Marek there is no age or limits to your success in life. It’s what you make it, and on your time.
This one is probably my favorite because I love consistency and something I can depend on (It’s also short and to the point). Being confident in your choices as a mama sets the tone for the boundaries and expectations of your child. For me, it’s important to be firm on certain things (Yes, I let up on some things) with Marek. When you are confident in what you are saying, and mean what you say, there will be less uncertainty between you and your child, and they are reassured and trust that you have their best interest in mind. I also think this is a great lesson because while they are watching you, your child will learn to take ownership and become confident in decision-making as well.
It’s very healthy for you to say no. Do it more!
This past weekend, we celebrated Marek’s first birthday and it was truly amazing. There were some instances where I should have said no, and didn’t. Not because I was scared, but rather, just wanted to keep my peace. There are so many expectations as a new mama that we put on ourselves, that we have to do all these things to show that we are an amazing parent or we have something to prove; we don’t.
During clean up, I just felt all this guilt. All I kept thinking about was how wasteful it was to spend all this money on decorations, just to throw them away! For what? Now, I’m not saying you’re a crazy mama for throwing your child a birthday party. If you want to do that, you should! Finding peace looks different for everyone. But for me, spending money on his party decorations just to throw most of it away just didn’t bring me peace. I should have said no and have had more restraint as far as decor goes, but this was a new learning experience for me and I had no idea what to expect (Insert grace here).
Usually, I am the first one to say no to anything that doesn’t bring joy or is going to cause me extra stress. Many women in my life say yes to way too many things and way too often, just to please everyone else. Every single one of these amazing women gets burnt out. I have seen it first hand. This is another life balance thing: it’s ok to serve others. It’s actually great and admirable! But, in moderation. Now, I use the word moderation because it’s the correct term, but sometimes when I think of it, I think about it as “a little here and there,” instead of its proper meaning. That’s not what I mean though, moderation is avoiding excess or extreme behaviors. So, moderation for me may look different from one mama to another, and that’s perfectly fine, but please be mindful of what that is for you.
I’m here to tell you, you cannot be your best self and do for others around you if you say yes all the time. Eventually, it will catch up, and you will be forced to say no. Saying no has such a negative imputation. If you say no, that means you can’t handle juggling all these things at once, or that whatever someone is asking of you is an inconvenience to you. Well, maybe so, but saying no can also mean you can’t give one hundred percent to that event or person. I would much rather someone give me that kind of respect than saying yes, and not being able to be all-in or present.
Teaching your children to say no can also be a very great tool to use their voice. It’s important they know when to use it if they don’t feel safe, or cannot emotionally or physically take on any more responsibilities. Giving them the choice of what happens in their life can be very empowering for them too.
I hope this post gives you the encouragement to get you through the week and reflect on things you do well because you are one amazing mama.
Lots of love,