When I was in the workplace, I felt valued. My thoughts were considered important. I was asked to bring specific assignments and projects to their fruition and was praised when an excellent job was done. I was validated by words, smiles, body language, and expressed appreciation. When you are at a job, the job you do is noticed, for good or for bad, and if you happen to be slaying it, it is likely going to be met with some sort of compensation monetary or otherwise.
Motherhood and running a home has surprised me. I never dreamed I would be so fulfilled raising children and tending to the management of a home—a huge job that I didn't realize I was getting into. Being that I am a bit of a worker bee and hyper organized, I bring my "workplace A-game" spurred by an often-unrelenting (Read: not always a good thing) sense of motivation as much as possible. But even when I do that, it isn't often that anyone but me notices or sees.
I don't miss going to work. I don't miss commutes or lunches or meetings. What I miss is the validation. I really, really miss exterior validation. When you are a mother who works primarily in your home full time, about 80 percent of what you do is UNSEEN.
UNSEEN by anyone but you and possibly your children who are not likely mature enough to notice or appreciate it. Sure, we can teach gratitude, but it’s a process that doesn’t pay off until they are elementary-school aged for the most part.
This can make the mundane parts of your life seem absolutely unfair, never ending and unappreciated.
For the past couple of years, I have been on an amazing journey learning to become the chief source of my own validation, and mantras have become part of that journey. Mantras are used in religions and spiritual houses all over the world as devotional tools and when one creates some of these for themselves, the potential for growth is endless.
For the purposes of this article, a mantra is a few words or a phrase (sometimes known as affirmations) that tell you the truth about yourself. You repeat them to combat negative thinking and keep from beating yourself up mentally. Countless studies have revealed just how powerful positive words spoken out loud to ourselves can be for increasing happiness, productivity, and quality of life.
I want to share my favorite MOM-tras with you. These are short phrases about my life and motherhood that I desperately need to remember when my brain goes to those dark places. There are many places you can find mantras about motherhood. For example, Pinterest is a powerhouse of ideas, just search "affirmations" or "affirmations for moms."
Here are some of my favorites:
*I can quickly calm down and come back to my center if I lose my cool*
*A bad ten minutes does not equal a bad day*
*My family appreciates me, even if they don’t always show it*
*I have been working very hard at making calmer choices, and it shows*
*A bad day does not define me*
*I am doing my best, and that will always be enough*
*I am planting seeds of love, security, and self-esteem with every smile and attentive gaze I give my children *
I encourage you to write out or print out your MOM-tras and commit to posting them in places you will see regularly. As a birth worker, I share pregnancy mantras with my clients all the time and I tell them to "pull it, read it, say it, and display it." It's important that you SEE them regularly and say it out loud, not just internally. Don't worry if it feels silly, because pretty soon it won't anymore. It will feel like a declaration. And dear mom, that's exactly what it is: A declaration of the truth about who you are and the hard work you are doing both inside and out in your role as mom. The truth about who you are needs to be spoken out loud and validated just like any other truth. And you are the one to do it.
Take some time to write down or print out phrases that mean something to you, that inspire you in your work as a mom, and motivate you to keep going when your brain tells you aren’t enough. Because you are enough and your heart needs to hear it from it who knows that the best: YOU.
Lauren resides in Oklahoma with her husband and two children. She is a birth worker and an aspiring writer. In her spare time, she loves to work out and spend time perusing old and new bookstores.