The role of mother calls for much sacrifice and care. When you spend your day kissing boo-boos and slicing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it can be easy to forget all about the person you were before you became a mom. The woman in your rear view mirror deserves a ride in the front seat sometimes. Remember her? She loved cuddling up with a good book or catching a movie. Her laugh could light up a room, and she loved the company of good friends. If you find yourself getting lost in the shuffle, don’t start 2011 in that same cycle. Put yourself on your own “to-do” list this year.
It’s great to be proud of your children’s accomplishments. I know you are proud of every beautiful art project that adorns your refrigerator, and there’s nothing like the excitement of seeing your child kick that soccer ball through the goal for a point, but this year make sure you have pride in your own life too, as a woman separate from your life as mom. Some may ask, “Elizabeth, how in the world do you expect me to do that? I’ve got a kid hanging off of each extremity!” Others may say, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.” That’s OKAY. Take a deep breath and keep reading. Hopefully, you’ll get your second wind.
Let’s look at the word pride. Some think of pride with a negative connotation, but pride can be healthy for you. One of the definitions in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “a reasonable or justifiable self-respect”. Building on that definition, I made an acronym to help you remember the importance of having a healthy pride in yourself as an individual.
R-Reaching out to others
I– Identifying your strengths
D– Developing good relationships
If there is one thing a mom can do, it’s persevere. You get up each day putting forth your best effort to raise healthy children who can go for their dreams. Have you asked yourself lately whether or not you persevere for your own dreams too? Did you give up or quit on something too soon? Is there something you should pick up again? Maybe it’s a career change or going back to school. Have you laid down your own personal goals on behalf of your family? Maybe there is an alternative. Have you thought about the fact that your personal goals are important to your family too? They are. They help you to be a balanced and whole person. When you feel personally happy and whole, you can be a great parent. It’s great for the kids to see you manage all of your roles. It models the life they can have when they start their own families. Take the time to sit quietly and ask yourself if you are living your ultimate dreams. If the answer is no, take the time to think about what your dreams are and go for them.
Reaching out to others:
I know you spend a lot of time giving, but giving to people outside of your own circle can really give you a rush. When you are parenting, you get asked to do fundraising for things that directly impact your children, but what about other children and other families? My mother-in-law broke her ankle when she slipped on the ice this week. My sister, a stay at home mom of four, made a meal for me to take over to her, and my 3-year-old niece drew a “cheer up” picture. When I walked in with those items, my mother- in-law beamed, but I think my sister and my niece felt even better. I called my sister to tell her about my mother-in-law’s reaction and she exclaimed, “I simply love surprises!” She loved that feeling so much that she’s got a roast in the crock pot now for me to take over tomorrow. Have you extended a hand of generosity to someone lately? If not, consider giving it a try.
Identifying your strengths:
All of us have talents. There is something about each of us that makes us special. There are innate gifts in each of us to share with the world. It’s important to take the time to become acquainted with your talents. What do people say about you? What things do they think you do well? Maybe you made costumes for the school play and heard “you know your way around a pattern”. Many of us start every New Year becoming reacquainted with our weaknesses. We say things like “I really need to lose weight” or “I don’t floss enough”. Do something different this year. Make a resolution about something related to your strengths. Pick something that really makes you tick and do more of it this year. What are you good at?
Develop Good Relationships:
Find a group of people that share your interests. It feels great to leave a meeting with friends and feel rejuvenated and understood. Although the company of children is great, adult conversation is a must. Friendship and connection are essential. Are there relationships you need to strengthen this year? If so, pick up the phone or shoot an email to get that relationship moving. On the other hand, it has to be noted there are relationships that could also need to end. If you leave a conversation feeling empty or drained, that is a relationship that might need to be put on the chopping block. Make a list of traits you would like the friends of your children to have. After you make that list, examine your own friends for those same qualities. It could be eye opening.
When you live your life according to the aforementioned ideals you can really expect great achievements to follow. Think positively this year. Take baby steps and expect good things to happen.
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