5 ways to use your assets as a mom
During dinner the other night, my husband and I reflected on becoming parents. Since this is my first Mother's day, I asked Janne if seeing me as a mother had any surprises. Our conversation sparked something that I just had to write about it.
Even though I always sensed that becoming a mother would be incredible, raising another human being has its challenges! Yet what I wasn't expecting to find, is that by having a child I have found more confidence to use my assets as a women. What I mean is that we have certain strengths that sometimes we forget about or are afraid to use. So moms, get ready because I discovered five ways we should use our assets proudly!
wear your smile
The first thing my husband mentioned was that no matter how crazy of a day I've had, he sees me always show up with a smile on my face for our son. This completely melted my heart. It is super important to me that our son feels warmth and sunshine when I am around. Not frustration or anger.
"The prettiest thing you could wear is a smile!"
- author unknown
You might be wondering, why was this a surprise to Janne? Well generally speaking I have not always been the most patient person (if you know me and are reading this right now I am sure you are nodding your head in agreement). Yet it is something I am aware of and have been working at. Somehow becoming a mother has brought the best out of me and I am so grateful for that.
This made me think of our power as women. One of our greatest assets is our smile. It can leave such a strong mark on those around us. But I wonder if we use it enough?
If you are struggling with this, there is good news! Recently I read an article in the New York Times "Turning negative thinkers into positive Ones." The article describes the effects of positive emotions from everyday activities (yoga, meditation, smiling, etc.). Basically you can train yourself to become a positive thinker!
What everyday activity can you implement which will make you smile more?
listen to your intuition
The next asset is a women's intuition. I will be honest, I was a bit worried about becoming a mother. Mostly because I wondered if I would be able to understand my child's needs.
Ironically, communication isn't necessary. When you become a mother your sixth sense kicks into full gear. If you listen carefully you will know what you need to do.
Of course, this isn't very different from life before a child. I have always had good intuition. I just haven't been so great at acting on it. Raise your hand if you let your head or heart lead more than your gut?
"Never apologize for listening to your intuition - your brain can play tricks, your heart can blind, but your gut is always right."
- Rachel Wolchin
As a mother, I have gained much more confidence in my instincts because it has been extremely valuable in fulfilling my son's needs.
So now I see many areas where I should use this more often, whether in business or with my personal relationships.
What ways do you leverage your intuition?
don't be afraid to nurture
When in grad school, learning about change management and behavior, the same question often came up: can people really change?
Of course, there are many hypotheses about behavioral change and there is the classic debate of nurture vs. nature. However, one psychologist, Kurt Lewin, came up with a heuristic formula about behavior that really resonated with me. He says that behavior is a result of our personality and our environment.
Not to get too much into parenting styles, but I have found that by providing the right environment for Aiden's personality, I have a very happy baby.
Which is why I try to capitalize on my female asset to nurture my child, according to his personality.
How does this show up for me? I try to be present and disconnect from any other distraction. I introduce him to new things and pay attention to what he likes and doesn't like. I encourage his development but do not force it. I give him space when I sense that he wants to be independent (even though I would rather snuggle him the entire day). And I support his need for routine even if it doesn't always fit into my desire to be spontaneous.
What type of environment do you nurture for your child and how is that working for you?
role model PERSEVERANCE
This one is so key but not always easy! Everyday we are faced with new challenges which sometimes seem daunting or even overwhelming. But the ability to persist and not let fear overcome our abilities is critical.
Let's be honest, as women we are no strangers to adversity! But persistence is one of our assets which we should be proud to use more often!
How does this show up for me as a mom? Pursuing my dreams with my career despite the demands of being a mom. Being relentless in the pursuit of finding activities for Aiden, even if it means getting him out the door at 8 a.m. on a Sunday for swim practice. Making sure I home early enough to walk around the neighborhood before his bedtime routine. Pumping breast milk in the bathroom in between business meetings. And the list goes on and on.
It may seem like a lot as you read this, but funny enough most of this comes effortlessly because I am highly aware of the benefits for my son! I want Aiden to see me as someone who persistent and not afraid to go after what she wants.
What obstacles are you up against right now raising your little one(s) and how can you overcome them?
influence with humility
The last asset I want to discuss is humility. I cannot stress this enough, being humble is not a weakness and should not be mistaken for having a lack of confidence. Some of the most influential women I know are the most humble!
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less."
- C.S. Lewis
So what does this look like as a mother? Being able to accept the blame. Not pretending like you have all the answers. Admitting when you are wrong. Seeking support from those around you. Treating others with respect and dignity. Laughing at yourself. Not having to take all the credit. And yes - winging it!
How would you describe your style of parenting influence?
I hope you take time this Mother's Day to celebrate all your assets, whatever they are! And please share with me what you would add! I love hearing from you and learning new things.