When women become mothers, they usually have two options: Go back to work or stay home with the little one.
It can be tough to feel inspired when you’re thrown back into (or continue to remain in) a 40-hour workweek that isn’t flexible. Luckily, you can create better working options (and a happier life in general) for yourself, starting with your mindset.
Here are nine phrases we can tell ourselves to be productive and efficient mamas:
1. “My kids come first, but so do I.”
It’s okay to carve out time that’s just for you, whether that means quiet time alone, meeting up with a friend or signing up for a class. At the end of the day, a happy, fulfilled mama leads to happier kids.
2. “My kids are young, but I can still achieve my goals.”
If you want to start your own business, or move to another country or accept that promotion, do it now. Only you know when it’s the right time, but it’s a myth that your motherly duties require you to wait until your kids graduate from college before you can start doing what inspires you.
3. “It’s never too late to make a change.”
Maybe you invested time and money to get a degree, and you’re afraid of veering off-course to do something you really love that’s completely unrelated. Or maybe you’re intimidated about rejoining the workforce after taking a break to raise kids. I’ve seen over and over that it’s never too late to find out what happens when you follow your passion.
4. “I’m not ready yet, but I will be.”
What does “ready” look like? Spoiler: you won’t be ready for every challenge that comes your way. But that’s okay. Figuring it out as you go is the only way to learn when you’re in uncharted waters. Not feeling ready means you have some self-awareness about your weaknesses, and that’s a great place to start. When you embrace the unknown, you learn more about yourself and will likely have a lot of fun along the way.
5. “I can do it all…with help.”
Mothers are superhero multi-taskers, but doing it all can have a negative impact on your life and relationships over time. Establishing boundaries is key to a happy, healthy life. At work, giving someone else an opportunity to shine shows that you’re a team player, not just in it for yourself. This applies to your children, too. You know what your kids are capable of and can help them build confidence by giving them responsibility.
When you are honest and open about your struggles, it draws people in. Leaning on a community will lighten the load and deepen your relationships with the ones you let in. Use Facebook groups and social media to find your village. Find your village today.
6. “I’m okay just the way I am.”
People may look very polished and shiny when they post photos on Facebook or Instagram, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Comparing yourself to others is not helpful; you have to find what works for you and block out the rest. If it works for you, then you’re doing it right.
7. “I have to leave early to take my kid to __________.”
If you’re leaving work early because your daughter’s ballet recital is important to you, own that, and don’t apologize, because you’re not alone.
8. “I will be present in every moment.”
I know it’s tempting to check your phone while you’re watching your kids on the playground, but dividing your attention doesn’t make you more productive. Moms are awesome multi-taskers, but give your full attention and be present wherever you are. Whether at work or with your kids, quality is more important than quantity.
9. “I am good enough.”
If you’re having a moment of self-criticism, stop and ask yourself: Would I say this to a friend? If you would never utter bad words to someone else, don’t say these things over yourself. Be kind and give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You are good enough.