In case of an emergency while in a plane, we are instructed to put on our own oxygen masks first, before assisting our children. We hear this advice so often, it eventually becomes a mantra we repeat to ourselves as soon as we board an aircraft.
But how often, in the midst of hectic times in our lives, do we jettison all the healthy instructions we know we should be repeating to ourselves right then, when we need it most?
For busy moms, the answer is too often. Enter these 10 mom-power mantras to help you remember the magic words that can quickly restore order and sanity to your life no matter how much hustle and bustle you are facing today.
So sit yourself down and commit these phrases to memory. This list of notes-to-self will remind you how to take care of you in the short run, so you can better take care of your whole family in the long run — and set a good example for a lifetime of healthy self-talk:
1. I am allowed to say ‘No thanks’
If you feel harried and hectic, running from one family activity to the next, you may have forgotten how to bow out gracefully. All you likely need is a little practice in the “No, thank you” department. Once you get back in the habit of weighing and measuring before you commit, your schedule will calm down and you can better choose how to divide and conquer your time. Just remember, in times of distress, the cure is often the shortest word you know.
Repeat: Sometimes I say, “Yes,” and sometimes I say, “No.”
2. My health and energy matter
Expect to feel happy and healthy every day. And if you don’t, seek solutions and improvements immediately. If you are not feeling your best, don’t ignore niggling symptoms. Maybe a small adjustment in diet and exercise is all that is needed. Or maybe you need to consult with a healthcare professional. If you carry invisible hurts from the past, you owe it to yourself and others to seek healing support.
Repeat: I take care of health concerns in a timely manner.
3. Oops, I am not perfect
If you are putting yourself under too much pressure, or believe that others are holding you up to impossibly high standards, you may have trouble accepting yourself as you are. You are human, so, naturally, you will sometimes make mistakes. Forgive yourself for past errors in judgment or action, make amends with others swiftly as needed, and resist the tendency to be too hard on yourself. A penchant for self-recrimination will hurt you in the long run.
Repeat: I am human, therefore, I make mistakes.
4. Home is sacred
Creating a safe, secure, stress-free home helps everyone in the family feel more loved and loving. Undercurrents of strife can undermine a family’s need for relaxation and rejuvenation. Try to make your home a relaxed respite where everyone feels welcome and appreciated. Then family members can carry that feeling of sacred space out into the world when they leave home, too.
Repeat: There is nowhere as precious as home.
5. I keep in touch with my needs
Are you feeling fuzzy and muddled, as though you are not really certain what matters and what doesn’t? If you can’t remember the last time you did anything for yourself; then it’s time. Making space for yourself is not selfish; it’s necessary. When you spend time doing things you enjoy, your energy goes up. For caregivers, it takes conviction to carve out time for self-expression, otherwise it inevitably falls to the bottom of the priority list.
Repeat: I make regular time for myself.
6. My voice counts
Sometimes we convince ourselves that our opinion does not matter before we have even had a chance to share it. The truth is that everyone’s opinion matters, ours just as much as anyone’s. Sometimes it’s hard to share what you think, especially if your opinion goes against the grain, and speaking up is a risk that’s always worth taking.
Repeat: My opinion deserves to be expressed and considered.
7. Acceptance is sanity
Practice accepting situations and others as they are. When things don’t work out the way you’d like, remember that we can’t ultimately control other people and situations. If you feel beholding to everyone and everything, maybe you have forgotten how to let the world spin on without your input. Sometimes we need to be reminded that the world will keep spinning without our expert micro-managing. Today, just tackles what’s already on your plate.
Repeat: I am only responsible for what I choose to take on.
8. My example inspires
You matter. Often we look for role models without remembering that we are all setting an example, for better or for worse, every day. Sacrificing self is not a requirement; it’s an unhealthy habit that needs to be broken. If you relentlessly practice self-sacrifice, then that’s the legacy you pass along. You are all called to be an example for someone. Start with what you want to embody for your children and family and then move on to the rest of the world from there.
Repeat: I strive to be a person I would admire.
9. Tomorrow is going to be great
Things don’t stay the same, so it’s important to expect life to be an adventure in growth and change. If you have a very traditional mindset and you like routine, it may take courage to embrace the idea of life as an continual evolution. But if you start by looking forward to tomorrow, and can simply let it be different from today, you will enjoy the journey instead of resisting it. If you want to raise brave, optimistic, adventurous children, you are going to have to be brave, optimistic, and adventurous yourself.
Repeat: I look forward to every day of the future.
10. I appreciate this moment
Of course, we all want to live as long as possible. But we never know how long we are going to be here. Rather than worry about it too much, why not just embrace today? Happiness in this moment isn’t about how much money you make, what you look like, or what kind of car your drive. It’s not about how clean your home is, your waistline, or what grades your kids are earning. Enjoying the moment is about finding something to appreciate right here, right now, and sharing that joy with whoever is right in front of us.
Repeat: I surrender to the joy of this moment.
Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz tries to remember to slow down and smell the roses in her own yard, but she can always use another reminder.