My husband and I belong to a small group from our church that is made up of other parents of small children. We’ve been meeting regularly for almost eight years, so we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well, and at a recent get-together, one of the fellow moms posed the question to the group: what’s your mantra? I have to admit that my initial reaction to the word ‘mantra’ evokes meditation mats, burning incense, and group chanting. But everyone else seemed to have one, why don’t I? I was at a loss.
Since then I’ve gotten all the eye-rolling out of my system and thought about how remembering and reciting a phrase can center/ground us in times of stress, encourage or inspire us when life gets hard, or summarize our overall approach to life. Perhaps it might be useful to have one, but where to start? In case, like me, you find yourself looking for inspiration, here are a few that you can try out:
For the more ‘Zen-like’ Mama
Keep Calm and Carry On
The woman in the childbirth suite next to you is screaming through each and every one of her unmedicated contractions? Keep calm and carry on.
Your son suffers his first nosebleed in the customer service line at Walmart and the only materials at your disposal are a Lenten devotional and a super-plus tampon? Keep calm and carry on.
Your coworker walked in on you during your pump break? Keep calm and carry on (those ounces aren’t going to pump themselves, after all). Keep calm and carry on.
This Too Shall Pass
I think this is an extremely useful mom mantra, because it can be applied to a variety of situations both figuratively, and literally.
Colicky baby? This too shall pass.
Your two year old picked up a ‘biting habit’ at daycare? This too shall pass.
Your four year old ends every meltdown with ‘I hate you!’ as she slams the door? This too shall pass.
Incidentally, I suggested this mantra to my husband six months ago when he was battling kidney stones, and needless to say he was not amused…I thought it was useful (and hilarious!).
For the more ‘Realist’ Mom
While extremely pragmatic, I wouldn’t advise repeating this one out loud around the children who inspire it, unless you’d like to add to the list of ‘words we don’t say’.
Your oldest son catches the stomach bug the night before your youngest’s baptism? $#!^ Happens
Your husband scrapes the bumper of your week-old minivan while pulling into the driveway? $#!^ Happens
You realize while you’re doing your income taxes that you never paid your personal property taxes the year before? $#!^ Happens
Or, you can channel your inner-Disney princess with…
Let it go
(Bonus: you can either say it quietly to yourself or belt it out like you’re standing atop a magical ice castle!)
Your daughter insists on wearing her sparkly dress up tutu everywhere she goes? Let it go!
You feel guilty for feeding your kids fast food three nights out of the week? Let it go!
This one really could be applied to any instance that causes you to have the dreaded mom guilt…Let it go!
Whatever mantra you land on, I hope it serves you well. And if you turn it into a really funny meme, send it to me–I’m still looking for mine!