Confident moms are happy moms. But in the world we live in, motherhood is often minimized and even demeaned. I hear it every day. If it didn’t affect the confidence of the awesome moms I know and love, I wouldn’t care as much. But more and more, moms suffer from self-esteem issues, and that is rubbing off on our kids. Being and acting confident has a profound effect on our children. So offer your children the greatest gift and become a more confident mom.
As someone who chose motherhood over any other occupation or opportunity, I’m obsessed with helping other moms who did the same to feel happy, assertive, and confident in their roles. Not only can we accomplish so much more each day, but being and acting confident actually has a profound effect on our children. It affects how we treat ourselves, how we treat our children, and ultimately how our children treat themselves.
From a Real Mom
I recently had a conversation with a good friend, who shared how after the birth of her 3rd child becoming the mom she had always promised she wouldn’t be. She was impatient, yelled at her young kids for small things, and would snap at the drop of a hat. As a result, she spent her free time beating herself up for her actions.
She found clarity through some life-changing advice she got:
“Your Thoughts Will Turn Into Your Actions”
Her friend pointed out that she was the only one in control of her thoughts. And negative thoughts about herself would never help her to act more positively.
She realized in one moment that her negative thoughts about herself were not the solution, but rather the cause of so much of her angst with her children. Her feelings of guilt and negativity about herself became the thoughts filling her mind during her free time. She assumed that “beating up on herself” would teach herself a lesson, and remind her not to repeat her behavior to her kids.
But, with the help of some great advice, she realized that the solution was the opposite. If she wanted to become a better Mom, she just had to start doing it – beginning with her thoughts about herself!
Feign Confidence When You Are Far From Confident
My friend shared that she sincerely felt that she had no reason to be confident about her mothering skills at this time. She felt nothing but discouraged and disappointed in herself. But, she listened to the therapist. She started with positive thoughts. Every single time she began beating herself up after yelling at her kids, she would say, out-loud, “No!” And she would then proceed to repeat positive affirmations about her mothering skills.
She would tell herself she was trying hard, remind herself of all she was going through, and she would talk positively about her kids. By listing out all of their good qualities, it at least kept her from focusing on her own negative ones. The result was quick and hugely positive. Our conversation about this experience inspired this blog post.
I realized this exact piece of advice could help every single mom who struggles with this at some point. I haven’t met a woman yet who feels 100% fantastic about how she’s doing as a mom, wife, homemaker, and the rest. So maybe, if we all started changing our thoughts, our actions would become more of what we want them to be.
Confidence Doesn’t Always Come Easy To Moms
Sometimes confidence as a mother can wear thin. I often hit the end of a day with my toddler and feel not only like the worst mom ever, but like I’m doing it all for nothing because he doesn’t even like me.
Kids can have a way of stamping out our confidence, even if it’s as simple as screaming in your face “I want Dad to take me POTTY!!!!!” (Who knew a win for a day in motherhood would be getting to take your toddler to the toilet?)
But, it’s exactly the confidence that they are personally stripping away that they need the most from us. They need to hear us being positve about ourselves. They need to see us believing in ourselves. And they need to see us continuing to do something difficult over and over and over again. The lessons this can teach our kids will be absolutely priceless.
The next time you think you are teaching yourself a lesson by beating up on yourself, reconsider and take a new approach by thinking about these 3 reasons your kids need a positive mom. It could change everything about your relationship with your children, as well as their view of the world and themselves.
1. Our thoughts trickle into reality
Sometimes we think we are beating up on ourselves in the privacy of our journal, or to our husband after the kids are in bed. Sometimes we excuse ourselves for just expressing frustrations, thinking we deserve what we are telling oureslves. And sometimes, maybe we do deserve it. Nobody is actually a perfect mom 100% of the time.
But that doesn’t make it okay, because those negative thoughts will continue to bounce around our heads when our kids are up and around us. Our shoulders will slump, and we will feel nothing but discouraged about becoming the mothers that we need to. We will feel overwhelmed and tired by even attempting the impossibility of perfection. Our words about how bad of a mom we are might even make our children wonder if it’s their fault for being such bad kids.
We can’t afford for our children to see this, hear this, or experience this.
What to Do Instead
Instead of launching into a bunch of self-hate speech at the end of the night, think of at least three things that went well. Tell your spouse, or your sister, or your dog how you were patient during one of your toddler’s regular tantrums (no need to bring up the times you weren’t so patient). Share how you got your kids to the park (leave out the part about yelling at the kids for fighting on the way over). Mention that you folded a huge load of laundry you’ve been avoiding (and don’t even mention the un-mopped floors).
We all have a million things on our to-do list that go undone. That’s life. But when we start celebrating the things we do, we will start feeling better about ourselves. There is no way around it. And we deserve to celebrate the good. When we see the good, we allow ourselves to laugh a little more about the bad. We stand taller, and look forward to the next day a little more.
2. Kids Are Huge Copycats
They learn by example. If you want confident children you have to be confident. I think we all assume that by taking shots at ourselves, it helps to excuse the negative behavior – because at least we know about it? No way. All it does is normalize another negative behavior – self-hate speech.
I had the cutest friend a few years ago who said she’d always had the worst body image. She had suffered from anorexia, been in and out of the hospital, and always felt fat. I couldn’t believe this, because she was stick-skinny. She told me her mom had constantly called herself fat, was always dieting, and focused on how she looked in every outfit. Her mom never said her daughter was fat. But my friend started saying it to herself. She figured that’s just what people did. And the more she said it, the more she believed it and acted on it.
It broke my heart to see how this daughter picked up on such a negative behavior. Her mom never would have dreamed the effect of her negative speech. It may feel like you are only affecting yourself when you speak negatively about things in your life, but it’s just not that simple.
Do not let your children think it is normal to talk negatively about themselves. Let them believe in themselves, because they see you believing in yourself.
3. Confident Mothers Have Children Who Believe in Themselves
Because kids copycat negative words and actions, if they see insecurity or hear negativity, they might implement such self-demeaning talk and action in their own lives.
It works in the opposite way just as well. When your kids see you being confident and happy with yourself, that becomes the norm to them. It becomes natural to say positive things about themselves, encouraging things, motivating things, and hopeful things.
A parenting expert I admire said, “Many experts say the greatest gift is positive self-belief. It turns out that a mom’s level of self-confidence and how she expresses herself enhances or sabotages her daughter’s [or son’s] self-beliefs….A study found that a mother’s own confidence level was far more powerful determiner on her child’s self-esteem than her occupation, income, education, religion and even IQ.”
As parents, we believe our children can become anything they want. If we want them to start believing it about themselves, we need to truly believe it, and say it, about ourselves. They will imitate this behavior, and find it natural to feel confident and capable.
(Don’t miss this post for specific ideas for becoming more confident as a mother.)
I’m Grateful for My Confident Mom
I have to give a loud shout-out to my mom. In the world we live in, confidence often comes from occupation, income, and education. As a result, many moms without these qualities are left insecure and unsure about their role in society.
My sweet Mother didn’t finish her college degree, never worked outside the home, and did not add to the income of our family. But she never seemed to care. She knew that what she was involved in was far more worthwhile. (All she did was manage a rockstar home and raise eleven kids. NBD.)
My Mom is a professional at rolling with the punches and taking life in stride. She puts a smile on her face, and owns every moment. If something isn’t perfect, she laughs. She sees the good in herself. Instead of focusing on the negative, she just quietly works on it. I’ve rarely heard her beat up on herself out loud.
I can gratefully say that my own self-esteem comes from my mom. I’ve always had a strong belief in myself. I’ve never doubted that I could do anything I wanted to. But I didn’t necessarily get this from parents who told me this every single day (let’s be honest, as one of eleven, they didn’t have time). So I’ve often wondered where that comes from.
I realize now that I can only thank my Mom for allowing her own confidence level to affect my personal self-esteem for the better. Quietly, and probably without ever thinking about it, she helped me shape my view of myself.
My Vision For All Mothers, Everywhere
Motherhood is a journey. We can’t do anything but start from where we are.
So, we can compare to all of the mothers around us, and keep telling ourselves we can never be as good as them.
OR we can be confident about our position in our journey, and remind ourselves that we are doing our best. We can start from where we are and spend time making “our best” better and better.
For those days when you yelled one too many times, locked your baby in the car, accidentally burned your toddler’s arm with a curling iron, forgot to move the laundry to the dryer (again), glared at a stranger in the grocery store who offered to help with your screaming kids, screamed at the top of your lungs to compete with your two-year-old’s temper tantrum, ordered take out again because you forgot to make dinner, or simply just felt like you aren’t measuring up – come back to this blog post. (By the way, yes. I have done all of those things, and a million more.)
Remember the ways that you shine as a mother
Stop forgetting these bright moments of motherhood where you shine!
You shine as a mother when…
You squeeze your child with so much intense love they have to say “too tight!”
You change a million poopy diapers without even complaining.
You smile and laugh every time your baby and toddler learn something new.
You scream excitedly as your baby takes their first step towards you, encouraging them to keep going.
You play patty-cake 1,000 times in one day, even when you want to quit.
You are home and there and ready to talk to your teenage daughter about more boy issues.
You make so many dinners you can’t even keep track of your favorites anymore.
You spend more time at the grocery store than you did doing homework in high school.
You organize (even if its only occassionally).
You snuggle your child on their bed on the days you just don’t want to go out.
You clean up every dish for every meal and snack, 17 times a day.
You sneak into your child’s room after they are asleep, because you miss them and just so you can watch them peacefully breathing. And you cry because your heart fills with joy.
You have taught your children to believe in something, to read good things, and to learn from everything around them.
And so many more! Just start your own list and see what happens.
Be Confident – You Are doing better than you think
The truth is, these moments happen way more than the negative moments. But we don’t talk about them enough. So here’s to positivity in a negative world. You are doing amazing, and way better than you think. Start talking about it, start celebrating it. Do it for yourself, and if you don’t think you deserve it quite yet, then do it for your children. Because they deserve nothing less.
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