Parenting – it’s one of life’s biggest blessings but also most challenging tasks.
From sun up to sun down (and most, if not all, moments in between) we’re on duty.
During that 2am wake-up call or the fifth tantrum of the afternoon, it can be challenging to remember what a blessing parenting can be. All that shines in those moments is the fact that parenthood is ever challenging.
Sometimes, however, the biggest challenge to parenthood isn’t even our children, but our perspective (sometimes it’s definitely the children…but our perspective can still help!).
Focusing on some positive parenting mantras can be helpful little reminders throughout the day (and night) to help us in those rough moments as well as to help us from falling into those rough moments.
10 Awesome Parenting Mantras
Here are 10 parenting mantras to help get you through the day:
#1: I Am The Right Parent For My Baby/Children
When you are struggling to get through the infant crying, tantruming toddler or talking back teen, sometimes doubt creeps in. Doubt can make everything seem worse.
“Sally never yells at her daughter like this. She’s always so calm. Ugh, maybe I’m not cut out to parent such a strong willed child…”
These thoughts creep in and undermine your confidence and your ability to choose how to properly respond. Rather than doubt yourself, trust that your children have been put in your life because you are the right parent for them. Whether they arrived from your womb or via adoption/foster/temporary placement, it’s no accident they ended up in your life.
You ARE the right parent for your baby/child. And trust me, Sally has her own parenting battles, we only see a small portion of people’s lives.
#2: Crying Is Communication
Nothing can be more frustrating than a crying baby or child that you simply can’t settle. It’s easy to be convinced your 4 month old really is just trying to torture you when it’s 2 am and all you want is a bit more sleep.
Reframing crying from an annoyance to a form of communication can help. An infant cries to alert you to a need, a toddler cries to show frustration and, an older child may cry from sadness or struggling with a situation.
Read more about what your baby could be communicating to you in BellyBelly article 10 Things Your Crying Baby Wants You To Know.
#3: My Child Is Simply A Child
If I had a dollar for every time I was upset with my child for being a child, I could probably retire! Wiggling at the dinner table, making a mess during play or repeating herself for the 500th time can lead to frustration. However, it’s important to remember that children aren’t mini adults, they’re simply children.
#4: Self-Care Isn’t Just Okay, It’s Necessary
Let’s face it, it’s quite easy to put yourself at the bottom of the Totem pole. It isn’t uncommon for parents, especially mothers, to feel guilty about spending a moment, or a dollar, for themselves.
Your child will be okay with daddy while you take an uninterrupted shower. Your preschooler will be fine if you have a night out. Need a moment to reheat and drink your coffee? Take it!
No, you can’t neglect your child to have fun. However, self-care is vital! And sometimes having a bit of fun is a part of self-care. Neglect would be truly ignoring your child’s needs, and I can assure you, if you’re questioning a bit of self-care, you’re definitely not a negligent parent!
Sometimes self-care is splurging for that latte or taking a 5 minute shower, and other times it’s taking a solo holiday.
Read about what Kelly learned when she went on a solo holiday in her article 5 Things I Learned When I Took A Holiday Alone – Without Kids.
#5: I Will Pause Before I React
As parents, we’re always on the move. We rarely pause, we just keep going, and going, and going. However, sometimes when we don’t take a pause, we miss important details. A simple situation can become a stress inducing, giant event.
Reminding yourself to pause and then react can help everyone’s day to be a bit calmer. The spilled milk might be an accident. The dumped toy box could have been a well thought out toddler action while he sought his missing car. And even if your child is blatantly breaking rules, by staying calm we keep the moment as a teachable one rather than a situation where we later have to return and apologize for losing it.
#6: Children Aren’t A Distraction From More Important Work, They Are The Most Important Work (C.S. Lewis)
This quote can be used as a mantra to be a good reminder, especially if you’re a ‘type A‘ like myself.
Being able to have a list and check off completed tasks can feel excellent. With children, however, rarely can you check off anything as complete. Nap, check… but repeat in a few hours. Lunch packed, check…repeat tomorrow for 179 more school days.
We also, unfortunately, as a society don’t seem to value childrearing as legitimate work, when in reality it’s vital to our society to put raising our children at the top of our to-dos.
Reminding yourself that your children aren’t less important can help when you’re working on a deadline and your little one needs an extra cuddle, or that laundry pile is ever growing but your child wants to have a chat.
#7: I Can Only Control Myself
Ahh… a hard lesson in life, especially in parenthood! It can be incredibly hard to realize that these little people in your care are just that, people with their own will. Yes, we do need to keep our children safe and our home in order…but ultimately you cannot truly control another human…nor should that really be our goal.
Reminding ourselves that we can only control ourselves will help us to be more calm, loving and to lead by example. When we control ourselves, we teach our children self-control through example.
Rather than aiming to control them, we can focus on giving them the tools and lessons to learn self-control. We can focus on creating a safe environment, expectations, etc that can be controlled rather than attempting to control another person.
#8: This Too Shall Pass
The mantra we love to hate…yes it’s true, but it doesn’t always feel helpful. However, it really can be.
You won’t be up at 2am forever. Your toddler will eventually communicate in ways other than throwing themselves on the floor like a crazy squirrel. Your teen won’t always think you’re unreasonable (they may even thank you one day!).
#9: I’m Not Alone In This
Any thought you’ve had, any frustration, rest assured you’re not alone. All parents have difficult moments. All parents struggle with guilt or doubt at least occasionally, if not often.
Sometimes knowing that no matter what you’re going through, someone else has also been there (and many are likely currently there with you) can be enough to help you push through.
#10: My Child Is Loved And Safe
No one wants to hear their child cry, or struggle with homework or feel disappointment. Unfortunately, the reality of life is that sometimes our children will have hard things. From losing their favorite lovie to being let down by a dear friend. And sometimes the disappointment feels as though it’s coming from us, and that’s hard.
However, remind yourself that your child is so loved by you, and you are also keeping them safe. When you’ve had a rough day, from colicky infant to heartbroken teen, remind yourself that they are loved and you’re both tucked safely in at night.