Reflections Post-Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day, unlike some holidays, can provide a chance to reflect and take deep personal stock.

I am a mother of two grown sons and the grandmother of three baby girls. I have daughters-in-law who are thick in the midst of raising babies. I coach women in their thirties with children of varying ages and others who want nothing more than to be mothers as their biological clocks tick faster and louder.

My mother is alive at 90 years young, and I am so grateful to have her. I grew up wanting to be like my mother, and I raised my sons by trying to emulate her. It wasn’t until years later that I felt the call to be different as I experienced parenting ways that worked for her but didn’t always work for me. The underlying truth is that she and I both, in our own parenting styles, had the best intentions.

The women I coach shoulder many challenges. Women are, for starters, forever questioning themselves and their abilities. Our shadows expand to full bloom, however, when we navigate motherhood. We want the best for our children and to do the best job we can. As I was in my early mothering days, many woman want to be like their mothers and just as many strive for the opposite. Throw into the mix the predominant childrearing philosophies of the day, and it all gets quite complicated.

I remember every stage and worry about parenting. I remember the victories and the losses, the ebbs and flows and joys and the grief. I remember the stresses of dealing with sick children, and how I de-prioritized myself in the family hierarchy. I watch my children raise their children, and it all comes back.

We all have heard the tongue-in-cheek comment that newborns should come with an instruction manual, which ironically is part of the problem. Sometimes there seems as many books and theories about how to raise children as there are children. My life coaching strives to help women empower themselves by seeing and embracing what they do right instead of repeated self-focus on what they do wrong. Parents are inclined to spend precious little time looking at what’s right as they tend to concentrate on what isn’t working, whether it be them or their children.  Looking at what is right makes you feel good, strong and worthy. It is a redirection that deserves constant repetition because it is easy to backtrack into disempowered mindsets.

Parents face multiple choices that affect both them and their children. The key is deciding what kind of a parent to be and being vigilant in making choices consistent with that formulation. I coach my “mother-clients” that feeling good about themselves is essential to becoming good parents. Motherhood is as much about the mother as it is about the kids. Fill your own cup if you want to parent successfully.

Happiness is an inside job, and in the maddening rush of raising children, it is easy to relegate one’s own happiness and self-care to the back burner. Appreciating yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children; so be generous with yourself.

Like all of us, children are meaning making machines, but because of their limited emotional resources, they lack the capacity to process significant emotional events like we do. That often causes them to internalize skewed interpretations about their parents, not merely based on what parents say, but how they look, interact and act. Parents are well-served to clean house from inside out. Living on autopilot is not the way to parent. Every choice matters, a principle effective parents embrace and teach to their children. We each had fantasies about what kind of parent we would be and how parenting and family building would feel. The challenge is letting go of the fantasy. From there, we can make choices that help us build the relationships we want with our children.

The best tool I can share? Stop and notice even the smallest moments. Don’t parent on autopilot. Find meaning in every choice. Take a quick snap shot a few times every day so that seemingly mundane moments become memorable and impactful. We lose many beautiful moments in the feverish pace of parenting. I taught my sons to make a picture frame out of their hands and take a virtual snap shot of even their routine experiences-a way to remember to be in the moment. I look forward to doing the same with my grandchildren.

As a mother, I take my children’s ups and downs to heart. I watch them navigate their complicated lives and put my faith in to the Universe that everything is as it should be and the Universe has their back. On this holiday of honoring mothers, I marvel and recognize that the job is never done. I still pray I am mothering them the best way I can, and I am happiest when they are happy.

I am so grateful I raised my boys the best way I knew how. Every sleepless night was worth the fruits I am reaping. Did I do everything right? Of course not. Just ask my sons! For me, though, it was and is the best job I have had. And on this day, I can sit back and love myself for the job I did for my sons, their wives, and my three beautiful granddaughters.

Peace and love,

Nancy

If you or anyone you know would like to be coached, email me! I’d love to hear from you! 

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About the Author: Nancy Pickard is a Debbie Ford integrative life coach and a writer for Happiness Series. She wants to help people learn how to live a life of integrity by moving in alignment with their goals and visions. Nancy wants to inspire others, including Happiness Series readers, to move towards personal empowerment with a strong mind and body in balance with a spiritual practice. She does this deep, transformational work through her integrative coaching and her writing. To connect with Nancy and work with her, check out her website at NancyPickardLifeCoach.com.