I understand that being a mom is a NATURAL process, but do not be mislead: being a mom is NOT easy. Scientists don’t agree, cultures clash, religions contradict one another, and every person has a unique genetic makeup and life experience, yet every mom is supposed to mother “perfectly,” when no one even knows exactly what that looks like (and it’s UNATTAINABLE!)
I don’t think anyone has the definite roadmap when it comes to the journey of motherhood, and given that each child is different, no one can give you reliable advice on how to raise your child. Man, I can’t even trust my own advice sometimes and they came out of my body!
I know you often stay awake at night asking yourself:
What direction should I take?
What will work?
What is the best way to handle this?
It seems that no matter how great the reviews on the book, how seasoned the parent or expert, and how fervent your prayers may be, the answer is nowhere to be found and you fail at each try.
The good news is that you’re not alone. Wait, how is that good news? Well, it is and it isn’t because even though you are not happy that there are millions of moms out there with the same issues, it means that you’re not a sad unicorn and you can find empathy, compassion, and even support in your incurable predicament.
In my own experience as a mom and in my coaching work with thousands of moms over the years and all around the world, I have found that little shifts can yield positive, predictable, sustainable results.
One of these shifts is recognizing the distinction between being highly productive and highly effective. Let’s consult our old friend – the dictionary – before we dive in:
effective. adj. successful in producing a desired or intended result.
productive. adj. producing or able to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities.
What I’ve noticed in my mentoring practice is that most moms focus on being productive. They even measure their worth to how much they get done.
What does it mean to be a highly effective mom? It means you are successful in that which you intentionally set out to achieve.
But we are humans, and without a Life GPS, we get caught up in the details. I discovered this because just a few years ago it seemed like every single morning I was yelling at my kids because they weren’t ready for school and we needed to hurry up and go. Did they have their permission slips, their homework done, the right socks on, all the breakfast eaten, their teeth brushed…? The morning checklist was endless and the car line was long! Now that I’ve been homeschooling for six years, that list doesn’t even matter. It was a good list, but preventing everyone being unhappy, defeated, and stressed first thing in the morning on a consistent basis is NOT, because it is not aligned with my intentions and desires for my family.
I remember being a first-time mom and people asking me “What are you having?” And even if it was past the first trimester and past finding out the gender (which was female all three times!), I would answer:
I hope I’m having a healthy, happy baby who grows up to be a good person!
I try to constantly remind myself of that. My intentions and my desires were so simple. I didn’t pray fervently for a baby who would grow up to get all A’s or to even brush her teeth. When I focus on raising healthy, happy kids who are growing to be good people, I am being highly effective and I strip myself and them from the long list of expectations that don’t really matter in the end.
These 7 positive habits will help us become highly effective moms:
Highly Effective Mom Habit #1 –> Get Clear On What You Want
Being intentional starts with knowing what your intentions are. What kind of mom do you hope to be? Without having a clear goal, you won’t be able to create a plan, you won’t be able to say NO to distractions, and won’t effectively overcome challenges that may get in the way of what you want to achieve. Read how you can define your intentions here.
Highly Effective Mom Habit #2 –> Practice Vulnerability
Many moms feel that they have to hold it together for the kids. Sometimes this is appropriate, but sometimes it’s just shooting yourself in the foot. Knowing the balance between these two options is wisdom, because as moms, we have a need to be vulnerable, to express our emotions, to feel heard, seen, and understood.
When you are vulnerable and genuinely let your child know you aren’t perfect, you have a wide range of emotions, and a healthy list of needs, you are setting real expectations and helping them help you in any way they can. Plus, let’s not underestimate the wonders a child’s hug or compliment can do during a difficult time.
Highly Effective Mom Habit #3 –> Strive for Non-attachment
Experts tell us all day long and all year round what good parenting looks like, not only as to what we should be doing, but also the results we should be getting. And our motherhood skills and competency gets judged left and right all the time, especially by other mothers that buy into what it’s expected of them.
Of course you’re going to teach our kids to be honest, to be empathetic, to be kind, to be self-reliant, to be positive, to be respectful, and to have age-appropriate self-control, but it’s outside your control whether your child will listen or practice these principles – no matter how hard you try.
Learning to detach from outcomes in motherhood is a great way to live in a more balanced flow and be more effective in your motherhood approach. I know that when I blame myself for my kids’ mistakes or when I attach my worth to how many items I checked off or tasks I completed, life is really miserable. Instead, when I do my best and focus on the fact that I did do my best and forgive myself for where I didn’t, I have a more peaceful, stress-free experience and feel more empowered and in the flow.
Highly Effective Mom Habit #4 –> Mother Yourself
One of my pet peeves is the proliferation of “self-care” exclusively as skin care, fun, and pampering. Yeah, we all need a little something something every once in a while, but self-care is taking care of your health, your sanity, and your spiritual growth.
Let’s get real – you wouldn’t buy new shoes your kid doesn’t need instead of taking them to the doctor when they are sick or instead of feeding them a healthy meal that day. Self-care is about mothering yourself… it’s about having a healthy daily routine to care for your holistic wellness so you can be the best version of yourself for everyone around you, including your child!
Highly Effective Mom Habit #5 –> Do Nothing Alone
Because we are so focused on being productive and there’s always something on the To-Do List waiting for us to get busy, we forget to embrace the ease of simply doing NOTHING, taking a break, and spending some well-deserved alone time.
I know you worry about being neglectful, but assuming that you have invested some time to bond with and care for your child’s needs, then it’s also good for the soul to do SOMETHING alone every once in a while, so you can reconnect with the notion that your name is not “mom” and there’s more to you than the one blessing we call motherhood.
Parenting is one of the most well-researched disciplines and many findings are extremely helpful, but a mother’s intuition never fails – a heightened intuition is one of the perks of meditation and time spent in self-reflection.
Highly Effective Mom Habit #6 –> Delegate More
Being a mom is tricky because we are to nurture our kids, help them, teach them, guide them, nurse them, and rescue them… but this is supposed to be a temporary stage.
I always say that being a mom is working yourself out of a job, because as you train them to do things for themselves and by themselves, you don’t need to do it for them when they are perfectly able and capable. Reasonable responsibility will give them a sense of being useful and valuable.
Delegating more will help you feel supported and connected, and will free up time for any other purposeful activities you’ve wanted to pursue.
Highly Effective Mom Habit #7 –> Keep A Broad Perspective
A little flexibility goes a long way. Sometimes it’s good to zoom out and see the big picture, because sometimes we pick the wrong battles to fight. Perfectionism, control, and stubbornness make a poisonous, explosive mix, so it’s good to step back a bit and see if we would actually be better off giving up on a certain rule or “right way” of doing things. Although it may not seem like it in the moment, it’s always better to be kind than to be right.
Some things won’t matter long term and insisting on them may hurt a child’s self-esteem, make you lose your self-control, and ultimately even destroy your relationship…
When I was 13, I was a straight A’s student and a chess champion, but I was so depressed that I tried to end my life. Someone can both be focused on education and happiness, but the latter should always be the priority. I’m glad my kids are book smart and academically successful, but that means nothing to me when they aren’t happy, healthy, and learning to be a good person.
Keeping an eternal perspective reminds us that whatever phase they’re in will not last forever, which is sad at 14 months but a relief at 14 years.
You are the best mother for your child and when you follow simple principles to become a positive mom, you can
What would you add as another habit of highly effective moms? I am looking forward to your response in the comment area below!