As a working mom, I constantly struggle to keep everything organized—my schedule, the kids’ schedule, day-to-day operations at work and home, etc. There is a constant push-and-pull between having to fulfill my obligations at work and at home. That’s life, right!? A few years ago I found myself at a crossroads. I was on the brink of starting a new position (I teach community college) and I could feel myself panicking with the thoughts of how to handle being away from my kids again and going back to hands-on work in the classroom with young children and parents. I felt very excited, yet also overwhelmed. One morning when our teaching team was knee-deep in getting the classroom set up, one of my colleagues, Nicole K., said, “I can do anything for 10 weeks.” Her comment was in the context of all of us gabbing away at our busy lives and how we each cope with the stress of just trying to get through the weeks ahead. After hearing her words, it took a split second for all the jumbled stressful thoughts in my head to be still and obtainable. Her statement of, “I can do anything for 10 weeks” immediately grounded me and it gave me a surge of empowerment. It became my mantra–my affirmation or invocation, if you will.
The statement offered a beginning and an end, just that simple and clear. To this day, I use Nicole’s “I can do anything for 10 weeks” as my mantra for when I’m feeling uncertain of what’s to come–whether it’s with my job or with my family life at home. For obvious reasons, the “I can do anything” part gives me strength, clarity, and validation. When I follow it up with “for 10 weeks” it helps to mark milestones and break down the unknown into obtainable steps or goals. It’s hard to explain but it works for me. For example, when my 13 year old and I are in a funk of disagreeing on a daily basis or when my 11 and 9 year old seem like they antagonize each other every hour on the hour–I think, “I can do anything for 10 weeks.” The statement helps remind me to stay positive and keep on the path to better parenting.
I encourage all parents to find a mantra that brings them clarity during the bumpy journey of parenting. Here are a few mantras that may help you find peace and purpose when the stress of parenting is battling against your will. I imagine that each one will take on a different interpretation depending on the situation.
“This is an opportunity.”
“What’s the lesson here?”
“I am an ally, not an adversary.”
“They are not their tantrums.”
The Parenting Hub would love to hear your personalize mantra and how you use it in parenting situations. Please send your mantras to: firstname.lastname@example.org