Being a mom is no joke when it comes to mental toughness. It doesn’t relent. It’s there 100% of the time, regardless of your circumstances.
Because of that, it’s the perfect life opportunity to grow. On default, you’ve probably already grown in your role, but there’s so much more you can do intentionally.
Here are my best tips for what you can do to become a mentally strong mother.
Without self-care you’re left giving from an empty cup. This isn’t just a saying; it’s the truth. You have needs. Lots of them. And it’s your job to make sure you have those needs met. The more you can plan this ahead of time the less likely you’ll be to need an escape from your family because it all becomes “too much.”
Self-care can be anything from a walk (physical) to listening to podcast (mental) to hanging out with a girlfriend (social) to organizing your closet (practical). Click here to see all six types of self care.
The key is that the self-care is 1) planned in advance and 2) actually re-energizes you.
Feeling your feelings means that you validate how you’re feeling, you allow your feelings to be there, and you don’t react to them.
For example, if you’re feeling irritated, it might sound like: 1) acknowledging the feeling of irritation in your body and accepting it, 2) breathing into the feeling and welcoming it, and 3) letting it buzz in the background without reacting to it.
You don’t have to react to your emotions to feel them. In fact, when you allow them to be there in your body without reacting you have enormous emotional control over yourself and your life.
Feeling bad about oneself often comes from breaking promises to yourself. It can be as small as “I said I was going to go to the gym and I didn’t.” For every broken promise, you erode your self-trust, which means you feel bad about yourself.
To cultivate greater self-trust, start under-promising and over-delivering to yourself. Instead of promising yourself you’ll go to the gym every day, just promise that you’ll put on your gym clothes. As silly as it sounds the key is to keep the promise to yourself. This matters most.
CLICK HERE to download the podcast directory (and get the best mindset podcast episodes to listen to.)
By nature, we’re social creatures, and there’s nothing that brings this out more than motherhood. To maintain your sanity, make sure you have a solid network of people you feel supported by. Whether they’re friends, family, or neighbors—the more you feel socially connected to others, the better.
If you don’t have a network to lean on yet, search for local community groups or meetups online or on Facebook. There are so many ways to connect and meet new friends, there’s no excuse not to have the support you crave.
Negative thoughts are a normal part of the human experience. All healthy humans have negative thoughts. The only real problem with them is when you attach to your thoughts and think that they define you. From here, if you act out on those thoughts, they then become your reality.
Instead, notice your negative thoughts and allow them to be there. Watch them. Detach from them. Talk back to them on purpose. Decide what you want to think without making them mean anything about you.
CLICK HERE to check out my free class for moms on How To Cope With Negative Thoughts As A Mom
When you make a mistake or get it wrong, instead of beating yourself up and being hard on yourself, have compassion towards yourself.
This means putting your hand on your heart in the moment, taking a deep breath, and saying, “it’s okay to feel how I’m feeling; I can cope with this.”
When you validate your experience, you strengthen your relationship with yourself, making whatever is happening in your circumstances so much more manageable.
One of the best ways to do thought work is to write it down. There’s no substitute for the written word. It doesn’t have to be for hours every day, but if you can get five minutes per day in, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor.
I teach a Mindful Journaling practice inside Grow You, where you learn how to journal from your future, instead of just writing more about the past. This helps you train your brain to become the version of you that you want to be. I do this practice myself and it’s transformational.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Grow You.
Your brain means well, but often it can lead you to do things that you don’t intend. For example, if you intend to lose weight, your brain will have you binging those cookies after dinner because your desire for something sweet is so high.
Your brain has a strong desire to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be efficient. This creates problems when you want to delay gratification for the future. Your brain would rather have you eat the fries now and feel good instead of saying no to be healthier.
You can override this part of your brain if you know about it. You can use your Prefrontal Cortex and direct your brain to make tough choices that serve the future you. But the only way this works is if you’re on to your brain.
The ultimate way to become mentally strong is to have a coach you can turn to. A good coach holds space, which means she reserves judgment and helps you see your own ways so you can make the best decision for you.
For example, I don’t tell my clients what I think they should do, but instead, I show them how they’re already thinking and help them make a decision based on what they want for their lives.
A good coach is a causal coach—meaning she finds the root cause of your problem and helps you solve it from that place.
I do this with all my clients, as a Mindfulness Life Coach instead my community Grow You. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Being mentally strong doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time. It means that you’re capable of processing your feelings, managing your mind, and taking care of yourself from the inside out. It’s the hardest and most important work, which is why it’s even more important as a mom (because you have a family to take care of). Even by doing one new thing on this list today, you’ll start to make a small shift that can lead to making a huge difference. And that makes it all worth it.