When I found out that I was pregnant, I had this image of the kind of mom I would be. Quite often, the mom we envision ourselves to be is an unrealistic combination of the women we grew up around and mother figures in the media (enter Clair Huxtable).
But the truth is, you really don’t know the kind of parent you will be until your child is right in front of you. You may be surprised that motherhood looks differently than how you imagined, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
I’ve learned to change my expectation of having confidence as a new mom into finding contentment in how I show up everyday.
While confidence may show up in little wins here and there, like getting your baby to sleep through the night or figuring out which song calms them down, contentment is a more consistent feeling. You can fake confidence, but you can choose to have contentment at any time. It’s all in your perspective.
After all, you can only get out what you pour into yourself. The job of encouraging yourself requires self-reflection and gentleness.
I’ve found that incorporating these simple practices into my life has helped me find contentment in motherhood. When perfectionism and imposter syndrome begin to appear in your motherhood moments, give the practices below a try.
1. I speak affirmations over myself on a consistent basis.
By confirming what I know to be true about myself, I begin to quiet the negative thoughts that can try to enter my mind. This one step is particularly necessary on those days when you just want to throw the whole day away. Here are a couple you can borrow for yourself.
– I am a great mother because I show up every single day with all that I have.
– I am exactly who my child needs.
2. I am intentional in being present.
One thing I’ve noticed about myself in the last year, is how easy it can be for me to get pulled into everything else going on in the world. Being a new mom during a pandemic, heightened racial tension, and constant uncertainty can create a level of stress that makes you feel like you have to constantly check the news or social media. But those distractions can rob you of your time and attention.
Instead, I choose to be intentional with my time. I set timers on my phone to place limits on my social media time. Sometimes I simply leave my phone in a different room so that I can focus on the people that are right in front of me. I try to gravitate to little things that bring me joy like reading a book to my son and watching him discover something new.
3. I stop comparison in its tracks.
We have all heard by now that comparison is the thief of joy. If you find yourself comparing aspects of your parenting to everyone running their highlight reels on social media or even people in real life, it may be time to switch your focus to what is special about your own family.
The next time you start to envy someone else, pull up the Notes app on your phone, or put pen to paper, and make a list of everything you have now that you didn’t have 5-10 years ago. Start to think about the little things that make your life special. You’d be surprised how quickly your list can grow when you think of all the good in your life.
4. I look outside of myself.
After looking within to encourage yourself, it also can be helpful to think about ways to support others. Whether it’s your spouse or another mom, thinking about someone else can help shift your focus off of your own frustrations. Not to mention, seeing someone else smile is sure to make you smile.
5. I try not to overwhelm my to-do list.
Now this one is difficult for me because I am a planner by nature. However, no one benefits from trying to accomplish everything in one day. You’ll drive yourself crazy. (I’m speaking from experience here). I make a point to keep my properties in focus and take things one day at a time.
I created a “One Day at a Time” planner for this very reason. On the printable, I’ve included a special space to add encouraging scripture. Find the planner sheet in the Resource library to use this for your day to day planning.
I truly hope this list inspires you to make room for peace and contentment in your parenting.
Mamas, how do you encourage yourself in your parenting? Share in the comments.