This month we're sharing posts by mama-writers as inspiration for our latest creative activity, Book of Mum, (doodling an imaginary book cover for that book you're going to write, one day...).
Writing ‘Affirmations’ has meant many things for me. Firstly, it was a very practical exercise in ‘walking the talk’. It is an amazing motivation to tell people you know and don’t know that you’re going to do something because suddenly, you feel you have to!
The force of other peoples’ expectations outweighed my own limiting beliefs with this project. I have longed privately to be an author and not done anything about it; other people were authors, not me!
It was with the development of the ‘e-book’ that I saw a way of publishing that seemed to be a more achievable avenue- a less-daunting option. It did not require a huge investment to publish, nor did it involve critiquing by book-weary editors. And it certainly felt a less ‘out-there’ way to publish without diminishing the buzz of having my very own ISBN number!
Secondly, not only was I doing something I loved but never took seriously in myself (writing) but I was writing about something I believe passionately in: helping mothers to become positive and confident about themselves and about their parenting; and ultimately, in raising happy and confident children.
So much of what mothers see and hear about themselves as a group in society is negative - what ‘type’ of child they are raising compared to other generations; what they are choosing to do or not do and how that is impacting negatively on children.
Every facet of child-rearing is picked apart these days with conclusions being drawn quite succinctly and smugly about how the mother, in one way or another, can fail their child. Added to this or because of this, mothers tend to have an extreme susceptibility to feelings of guilt and perfectionism, which over time erodes and diminishes their esteem and confidence.
Mothers everywhere and all the time are doing a good job. They are doing a great job. In fact it’s not even a job, unless you believe in the currency of scuffed knees, raspberry kisses and daisy chains. It is a role and a relationship - one of many that women have in a lifetime and perhaps one of the most complex and challenging they will ever have. I believe this is not acknowledged enough.
Policy and politics do not acknowledge or legislate for enough of the challenges; partners, families and friends do not acknowledge or consider the unique complexities enough; other mothers do not encourage or support without judgement enough and we, as mothers, do not acknowledge what we are doing every day in a celebratory and positive way enough.
So in my work with mums, I say ‘enough’! If we do not start with ourselves, we cannot expect there to be change anywhere else. It is part of what I do with mums to identify where in the ‘mother’ role and relationship things have become too all-consuming and negative. As with any relationship that gets out of balance, motherhood too can become toxic and often I see that in the mothers when they feel too chaotic, too angry, too stressed. They feel they are not themselves and they don’t like the way they are parenting.
Affirmations are not another stick with which to beat mothers over another ‘parenting fail’. Affirmations are positive and a part of the change process I engage the mums I work with in. I see them as a simple way to effect immediate change in their thinking and parenting without any large investments of time, money or energy! Perfect.
It is a simple concept: think = be. Children are sponges and soak up everything around them. If we want them to be the wonderful, beautiful, amazing beings we know them to be, they need to see it first from their mother. We want our children to grow thinking these thoughts for and of themselves but if we don’t model that in our own lives, how else are they going to learn it? Once we see it in ourselves more, our children reflect it right back.
An extract from ‘Affirmations for Mothers’ by Kirsten Hanlon:
“Affirmations are a powerful tool utilising the theory that thought influences action. Affirmations can be used incredibly successfully for changing our beliefs, our ‘default’ thinking, our behaviours and ultimately what comes into our lives.
The basic theory behind affirmations is: if you repeat something often enough, over again, it will create a thinking pattern that becomes truth and will influence behaviour and further thoughts.
If you would like to be a more positive parent and believe in yourself as a good parent, then a good first step is to start thinking exactly that.”
You can buy a copy of Affirmations for Mothers from Amazon.
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Special treat for the story of mum community
Kirsten is very kindly offering a free copy of Affirmations for Mothers to members of the story of mum community - if you've joined up here or joined a #somum party on twitter, email Kirsten at email@example.com, with the subject line: Story of Mum giveaway and answer the question: What boosts your confidence as a mum?
This special gift is available for one day only: Friday 19 April 2013, so email Kirsten straight away!