Hedra (Parenthacker extraordinaire) wrote to me a while back musing on the recent post encouraging us to list our parenting superpowers. She’d love to take that conversation in a slightly different direction:
How about “parent mantras?” You know, the things you say to keep yourself going during the latest meltdown or catastrophe, to maintain balance, compassion, humor, or even the appearance of calm.
This idea was the start of a thread on the multiples Yahoo group I’m in. Multiples moms use mantras a lot – but we all have them, yes? I have three:
1) It’s just a phase. Whether this is good behavior or bad behavior, it is probably going to be grown-out-of eventually. Reminder not to panic, and to cherish what’s happening right now. Even being called ‘That’ – instead of ‘Mommy’ – by my second son is something I now definitely miss.
2) Wait twenty minutes. This one is a friend’s, but works like the others – for good or ill, if we wait twenty minutes, things will probably be different. Siblings fighting? Twenty minutes later, they’re laughing together. Twins holding hands while taking a walk? Twenty minutes later, they’re complaining about each other. Up, down, it moves fast. If I lock in to what’s happening at any given point, it colors my mood, my day, my attitude. Wait twenty minutes, and I’m reminded that it comes and it goes, flows and shifts and changes.
3) In two weeks, it will all be different. (Notice how they’re all about waiting and not getting ‘stuck’ in what’s going on now?) This one was from the very difficult breastfeeding experience I had with my first. A friend told me that I could probably last two more weeks, and if I did, it would all be different. I did that three times before it was ‘better’ but she was right about it being different. I felt different, I wanted different things, I knew different things, I could see and understand what was going on in a new way. It takes longer as they get older, but I still use the two week mantra.
Anyway, there were a slew of hysterical, ‘oh-yeah’, and useful mantras on the multiples group. I wonder what mantras ParentHackers use?
I use the “in two weeks” mantra all the time! It’s so hard to take the long view when the immediate future (as in, the next five minutes) is so intense. But it’s often the key to my sanity.
My other mantra is I don’t expect perfection. I don’t expect it from my kids or from myself. Many of our decisions are actually a series of incremental shifts — I want to model that flexibility to my kids. I never want them to let perfection stand in the way of whatever they strive for.
What’s your mantra?
(For more quick hits of inspiration, check out Mommy Mantras: Affirmations and Insights to Keep You From Losing Your Mind.)