About six months ago I unintentionally created a mom mantra. It sounds a little odd, I know.
In the bestseller High Performance Habits, the author explains that successful people are extremely intentional about their actions. He recommends using the mantra “bring the joy” and setting your phone alarm to remind you to do it multiple times each day.
This would ideally make you more purposeful and aware of how you act around others. Sounds great! So, I gave it a shot.
And you know what, within a few days I wanted to throw my phone across the room because it was so annoying. I wasn’t bringing anyone joy for sure. I guess I just don’t do alarms well!
My Mom Mantra
But then I began thinking about how I liked the idea of being more intentional. Maybe I just needed a saying that actually meant something to me. This blog began from the idea of what I want my kids to be someday. I will have succeeded if they grow into healthy, happy, and impactful adults (and if I am one too).
This mantra, however, was more how I wanted my kids to see me. How would I like for them to remember me when they are grown? After some thought, I came up with “present, playful, calm.” I picked this mantra for two reasons…
First, when I am long gone I hope this is how they will think of me. I want them to feel that I was mentally there, lighthearted with them, and an overall calm mom.
Second, and just as important, I naturally suck at all of them. I mean wow, I’m awful. My default state is more like “distracted, boring, edgy.” When I sit down to play, all I can think about is the dishes on the counter and the email I need to send. It’s difficult for me to do all of the things a mom needs to do, and also be present and playful. As for calm, I’m a bit too Type A. When my kids just aren’t listening, my natural position is to start yelling. When one of them gets sick, it takes approximately 5 seconds for panic and paranoia to set in.
Ugh, I hope my kids don’t remember me that way. So how can I do a better job? Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…
I try to block time with my kids during the day where I’m only focused on them. Morning and evening are family times (ideally without phones). When my 4-year-old is home, I try to do something just the two of us in the late morning. I frequently schedule it in my planner or discuss it with my family to help me stick with it.
Also, I’m obsessed with rituals and traditions. They keep me honest. This is everything from weekly Family Night to reading our wrapped books at Christmas. When we are doing a ritual or tradition, my mind somehow knows to be in the moment with my family.
I need to get better at sitting down to play, but frankly, I’m not really a fan of building legos. There are other ways to be playful too though. Can I race my kids up the stairs today? Can I tickle them? Tell jokes at dinner? Dance to a little music as I make dinner?
Again, traditions help tremendously with this as well. Every Valentine’s Day “Mr. Mustache” appears instead of mom (it’s really mom wearing a pink mustache). During the holiday season, my kids know that I’ll do my best to chase them under the mistletoe for kisses. When my kids expect me to be playful because of a prior tradition, it helps force me into it.
The best solution I’ve found by far for being calmer is meditation. If I can consistently sit down for a few minutes every day and focus, I’m a much different mom for the rest of the day. It’s like a short rest for my mind that brings clarity and peace. The self-care checklist has helped a lot with feeling less frenzied overall as well. It makes things like breathing and journaling more of a priority in my life.
Keep It In Mind
I now write the mantra ” present, playful, calm” every morning as one of my goals, and that has really helped me remember what it is that I want to exude that day. I haven’t made it back to the alarms yet, and I doubt I ever will.
Check out more on why it’s so crucial to write down goals HERE.
In the end, they may still remember me in my default mode, but I’ll fight the good fight.
What three words would make you a better parent? What would you pick as your mantra? And how can you use it going forward? Choose to be intentional and you’ll find some surprising results!
High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard