Every mom wants to be a good mom, and every good mom wants to be better. And I think the hardest part about being a mom is coming to terms that “being good at it” doesn’t come automatically, doesn’t mean what we thought it would, and doesn’t look like other people think it does.
Motherhood has been a journey of discovering time and time again that being a mom is not something I do separately from who I am. In order to be a good mom or a better mom, I must be a “good me” and a “better me,” and I get to define what that means.
My inner bully wants to convince me that I’ll have time for me LATER, that I’ll live my dreams SOMEDAY, that I’ll do it my way SOON… that I’m being selfish, impatient, and irreverent – or even a traitor! – to the way it’s been done before and expected of me.
However, based on my own life experience and the feedback of hundreds of moms I’ve mentored over the years, I am certain that being a better mom starts with acknowledging and addressing your needs first.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ~ Matthew 22: 39
The second greatest commandment teaches us that we can love others to the extent that we love ourselves. This couldn’t be truer in motherhood.
Have you noticed that those days in which you feel more depleted, depressed, and deprived are the days you just can’t hold it together?
I’ve learned this the hard way. I think of times when I yelled at the kids for something I normally wouldn’t be such a big deal, simply because of pressure, stress, and exhaustion. The word “simply” is bothering me in my last sentence because I don’t want to minimize and invalidate what I was feeling.
And those of us who grew up in a dysfunctional environment didn’t really get the acceptance, approval, and appreciation we needed to thrive, so we are mothering with a hole in our hearts – yes, even if you feel healed and even if you forgave those who hurt you. This realization helped me resolve that I would do anything I could to heal my inner child and break this cycle.
The good news is I’ve found a way I can be a better mom (and you can too!) that is free, I don’t have to leave the house to do, and doesn’t take a long time. Better yet, the results are guaranteed to impact your life positively.
No, it’s not a magic potion… but it does require that you believe in the magic of it – which is normally the hang-up for most people, including moms.
What is this powerful daily ritual that will make you a better mom guaranteed?
It’s called The Mirror Exercise, and it is a process in which you talk to yourself in the mirror every night before bed and acknowledge what you accomplished.
Yes, it sounds a little or a lot weird, but if you think about it, at the end of the day, most moms are assessing whether they completed their Cinderella-long to-do list, feeling like a failure and dreading the next day – because tomorrow’s list just got longer… and more difficult to check off.
I learned The Mirror Exercise from my mentor, Jack Canfield, while I was studying to be certified as a Trainer for The Success Principles.
I’m sure you know Jack Canfield because of his monumental success writing the mega-popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, and if you already own a copy of The Success Principles book, you can find The Mirror Exercise instructions as part as the Success Principle #26 [ Acknowledge Your Positive Past].
This process is amazing because as humans we don’t give ourselves enough credit, and as moms, not only are we hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up, but we are also targets of so much judgment!
Why You Must Do The Mirror Exercise
The main reason to do The Mirror Exercise is that we all need acknowledgment and the most important acknowledgment is the acknowledgment we give ourselves.
Your subconscious mind needs positive reinforcement, and whether you want to admit it or not, you must learn to accept praise and gratitude so you can have the energy and desire to achieve your goals, dreams, and daily aspirations.
How To Do The Mirror Exercise
You’re ready for bed, you’ve washed your face, brushed your teeth, and have your pj’s on. You’ve locked the bathroom door to make sure you’re alone and will be undisturbed for the next few minutes (unlikely scenario but speaking it into existence lol). Here’s what you do next:
- Stand in front of the mirror.
- Look at your reflection in the mirror, directly into your eyes.
- Address yourself by name
- Reflect on your day and recite out loud several accomplishments you are proud of (big or small). Acknowledge any achievements, disciplines you kept, and temptations you didn’t give into.
- Say “I love you!” while you look deep into your eyes. Let the love settle in.
Example of The Mirror Exercise
“Elayna, I want to appreciate you for the following things today: First, I want to appreciate you for finishing that blog post you wanted to publish and writing it from your heart without editing yourself, so you could heal yourself and the moms you’re called to serve. You also read the Scriptures with the girls, which was a great bonding and faith strengthening experience for all of you. You said “no” and honored your boundaries… Good job! I like that you’ve been more selective with your coaching clients and standing in your worth – thank you for that! Those things you said to your daughters were really nice, and you were patient with your husband even though you didn’t want to be. Hmmm… what else? Oh! You got the workshop testimonials up on the page – it looks good! You’re doing awesome, taking care of yourself and making your self-care a priority… plus you’re doing The Mirror Exercise right now and going to bed at a decent time, without having to pass out exhausted on the couch. You were wonderful today! And one more thing, Ela… I love you and God loves you. You’re one of his favorites!”
So, it’s really as simple as it sounds: maintain eye contact, appreciate your wins, and say “I love you!” Really soak it all in and bask in the love and positive energy of the moment.
Because we’re used to looking in the mirror and looking for imperfections or reasons to criticize ourselves harshly, it’s normal to feel silly, uncomfortable, or even embarrassed doing The Mirror Exercise.
Many of us weren’t trained to appreciate ourselves or had an example of a mother who did unless it was in narcissistic ways.
When people walked around talking to themselves, they were negatively labeled as “crazy,” “unstable,” or “insane,” so I grew up thinking that was not something one should do. You may think the people in your life will think you’re stupid or that what you’re doing is ridiculous.
While it’s important to honor all the emotions that come up, it’s essential that you then release them and choose this vulnerable moment to see yourself as the lovable, deserving, capable woman you are, in all areas of your life… because you are.
Keep gazing at yourself with acceptance, love, and compassion, even as you feel awkward, teary, and like all you want to do is turn away from the mirror!
The Mirror Exercise is an intensely powerful self-love exercise, and when you have love you can give love. You know you can’t give water from a dry well!
A more grounded, confident, present, and self-assured mom is a better mom. The more you practice being loving, being appreciative, and expressing thanks, the more naturally those attributes will come to you when you need them.
Will you give The Mirror Exercise ritual a shot and incorporate it into your daily routine? It will make you a better mom because a happier mom is always a better mom! Share your thoughts or questions below.
Elayna is a homeschool educator, single mom of 4, founder of the Positive MOM Community, award-winning Storyteller, Story Strategist, and Student of Pain. She’s a bestselling author, internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, and 3x TEDx speaker. To receive a gift from Elayna, click HERE.
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P.S. Have you heard?
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