With everything that motherhood entails, the chaos that happens at home, the tragedies that happen in the world, and the turmoil that happens within, “BE Positive” is easier said than done. Being a Positive Mom is a difficult endeavor; one that requires self-awareness and inner work.
I think it’s common knowledge, even if you are not religious or frequent a church, that in the Bible – in Exodus, to be exact – we learn the story of Moses was given the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai, while the Jews wandered in the desert, after escaping slavery in Egypt.
As moms, we definitely need a set of behaviors and “Thou Shalt Not” statements to help us escape from slavery and from our own personal wilderness. By no means I consider myself the goddess of Positive Motherhood, but I firmly believe in these practices because I’ve learned most the hard way, and they have truly helped me deal with the ups and downs of being a human, a woman, and a mom.
Motherhood is a noble calling and one of the most important jobs in any society, because as a mom, you are the biggest influence on the children you raise. You’re kind of a big deal!
The Ten Commandments of A Positive Mom
I – Thou Shalt Not Be Perfect.
Striving to be positive is not the same as striving to be perfect. Perfection is a trap. It’s an unattainable state. And when you expect it from yourself, you end up expecting it from everyone else. When you seek perfection, you forsake opportunities to be present, to be grateful, and to be happy. You’ll also rob those around you (those you so deeply love) of those precious opportunities.
I know this because I’m a recovering perfectionist. As a child, I was held to a standard of perfection, and unable to meet those unrealistic expectations, I felt like a worthless failure. After becoming a mom, I realized I suffered from perfectionism and I decided it was time to heal the cycle. It’s been a hard, but rewarding journey that has helped me to be more positive, and more connected with my children. I understand the gift of enjoying a safe environment in which you are allowed to be vulnerable and to use mistakes as a learning opportunity.
I don’t consider myself a lesser example for my children. It may not be the ideal, but it’s the real deal… I’m imperfect, and so are they; no one has it all together. and we love and accept each other just as we are, no masks. You are the best mom for your child not in spite of but because of who you are, and that includes your imperfections.
II – Thou Shalt Not Say YES To Everything
Moms must say no more often. Every time you say YES to something or someone, you are saying NO to something or someone else. You want to make sure you say NO to people, places, and commitments that don’t nurture your soul. Say NO to toxicity in your life, say to anyone that pushes beyond your boundaries.
NO. No is a complete sentence, an empowering sentence that can help you stay true to who you are . I encourage you to say NO more often, without feeling guilty, and without explaining yourself.
III – Thou Shalt Honor Thy Intuition
Through my research and my work with thousands of mom through my mentoring practice and programs, I have found that among the biggest regrets moms have, most relate to listening to someone else’s advice (their mom, friend, doctor, parenting expert, etc.) when they knew deep inside it didn’t resonate with them, and felt something was “off.”
While I don’t subscribe to the supermom / wondermom movements, I know that motherhood does come with powerful instincts. A positive mom listens to her gut and trusts her own instincts, without overthinking. As a mom, you are the most qualified expert when it comes to your own child. Trust yourself and own your authority… and don’t apologize for exercising it.
IV – Thou Shalt Remember To Forgive Thyself
Speaking of regrets, they go right along with guilt and shame:
“I can’t believe I…”
“Why did/didn’t I…?”
“I should have…”
“I could have…”
“If only I’d…”
As moms, we beat ourselves up and focus on our shortcomings and mistakes. Guilt, remorse, and striving for progress, are great learning tools as long as you don’t dwell there. Each second you spend thinking about the past, feeling ashamed, and blaming yourself for everything that is wrong is a waste of your time… Time is your most precious resource and it would be better invested on what makes you happier, and emotionally and physically available to those you love.
V – Thou Shalt NOT Judge Other Moms
I’m not a fan of gambling, but I’m willing to bet that the yardstick by which you judge other mothers is probably the one by which you judge yourself. When we judge, we project our own fear, our own insecurity, and our own suffering onto others.
For the record, judgment is divisive, straight out mean. Being the object of disapproving stares, shaking heads, and hurtful labels is not fun. I can think of many “reasons” why I’ve been judged: being a woman with children and a bare left finger (AKA single mom), homeschooling my children, and being vegan are just a few. It’s painful when people don’t know or care to know your story before they come up with conclusions, which really are assumptions that hinder any possibility for connection. I’ve learned to remind myself it is best to ignore their negativity and to not waste my time explaining myself to people who are committed to misunderstanding me.
You’ve probably read “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven…” and didn’t realize that the person who will judge, condemn, and fail to forgive you is yourself.
As I’ve become less judgmental and sought to understand people with more compassion, I’ve become less judgmental of myself. As I judge other people, I go back to commandments I and IV, admit when I’m wrong, and continue to learn and use tools to move forward.
Mom wars hurt all moms, and we can’t honestly say “I would never” or “my child would never” because we don’t absolutely know what we would do in a situation we’ve never been in. We all have weaknesses and make mistakes, and we each make the choice that we think is best given our circumstances and level of consciousness.
VI – Thou Shalt Not Covet Another Mom’s Life
The old adage says “comparison is the thief of joy.” One of my favorite poems, Desiderata, reads:
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”
When we compare ourselves, we will judge someone else or judge ourselves. And because no matter how much we want to seem perfect, we are painfully aware of our imperfections, we end up always thinking that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Someone else’s life will look easier, her house more beautiful and cleaner, her kids better behaved, her husband more romantic or supportive, her family more united, her career more exciting or successful… she may seem to have the perfect life, but she doesn’t. She’s working really hard in maintaining her own grass. And the more time you spend contemplating her yard, the less you are working on your own, and the more it starts to die.
One of the real commandments in the Bible talks about not having other gods and sometimes we idolize other moms and forget our own priorities. As you let the inner bully take over, you will find that the only thing that gets greener is the envy and jealousy that start to consume your happiness and your sanity as a mom.
VII –Thou Shalt Not Neglect Thyself.
It is so common for moms to stop taking care of themselves and put everyone else’s desires and needs before their own. I believe that you must take care of your needs FIRST and that neglecting yourself is actually a selfish practice.
By practicing self-care, getting your needs met, and enjoying time to yourself, you are able to protect your family of your own resentment. Just by doing simple things like hydrating, showering, stretching, and getting ready for the day, you have the energy to provide constant attention, sit through homeschool or homework, read the stories, kiss the booboos, play with legos, snuggle when they’re sick, hold them when they cry, wish them good dreams when you tuck them in at night, and comfort them when they’ve had a nightmare. You’ll be more centered as you juggle all you do, you’ll have more patience and less yelling.
I’ve learned to incorporate morning affirmations and night rituals to provide love for myself first, because I know I cannot pour from an empty cup, and I notice that when I neglect my mental, emotional, and physical wellness, or I procrastinate til the very last minute, that’s when the loving mom leaves and “momster” comes out.
VIII – Thou Shalt Not Go Through Motherhood Alone
You’ve heard the saying millions of times: it takes a village to raise a child. Yet you insist to do it alone. Well, maybe that was just me. I’ve found it very difficult to ask for help and to receive it when offered. I also isolated myself when I needed the most support.
It’s healthy to join a group of like-minded (and heart-minded) moms you want to be a part of. Psychology teaches us that we all need a community where we feel a sense of belonging.
Enjoying a good conversation, bouncing your ideas, challenges, and experiences off other moms who can relate, telling your story to inspire other moms, and learning from other people who have been where we are, or having a coach, mentor or guide, are very valuable ways to find joy, validation, and direction and motherhood.
Delegation can be difficult, but helpful, and necessary, especially when it comes to the kids. Your job as a mom is to work yourself out of a job, so as you encourage your children to help and assign them age-appropriate responsibilities, you will be raising confident, healthy, and successful human beings who understand the balance of giving and receiving and appreciate that effort brings forth results.
IX – Thou Shalt Not Kill Thy Dreams
As moms, the only thing we neglect is not our wellness, we may also forget our goals, dreams and aspirations. You may be tempted to think that all of your needs and desires are actually related to being a mom, but I beg to differ.
You had aspirations before you were a mom, and though the way motherhood works, you will always be a mom after those children are yours (whether you birthed them, adopted them, or came as a bonus), the reality is they will only be with you for a time, they will grow up and be their own person. And that’s what you want for them… but for some reason, you forget that you must want that for you, first.
As you embrace your dreams, invest in yourself, and get your needs met, you are teaching your kids, your daughters, that they are worthy of the same. You are worth it and they deserve the gift of a confident mom.
Anyone who has had children in custody for more than a few minutes knows that the only guarantee is there will be mess, stress, and chaos. And to embrace the chaos, it helps to laugh a little. Maybe even a lot. Laughter is really the best medicine and we all have wounds.
One of my mantra’s is “relax, nothing is under control!” Having a mantra, choosing to be entertained, helps us keep a broader, perhaps even eternal perspective of what is happening in the moment. As you practice mindfulness, you get a deeper sense of gratitude for your mom life because you are able to savor it.
Are you keeping these commandments? All commandments come with a promise and here’s yours: Inasmuch as ye keep the commandments of motherhood, ye shall prosper in thy household! But, even when it comes to commandments, don’t forget what I always say: Progress IS Success. Share your thoughts below!