When we’re pregnant we plan so much, we think about the future. But do we think about the type of mum we want to be? Do we think about what type of mum we need to be so that we’re happy, enjoy life and our kids get the best that they deserve? Have we work out our Motherhood Values?
Often not. If we haven’t it’s okay, it’s never too late.
Our personal characteristics, the type of mum we want to be, our values etc… all the same things and ultimately they guide us with how we want to act with our kids. The type of mum we are is guided by our Motherhood Values.
What Are Values?
Values are the characteristic of the ideal type of person that you want to be in a specific situation. They are a behaviour, attitude or state of being that you hold as important to you.
We all value things in different ways and in different situations.
Your values at work and how you interact with your co-workers may be vastly different to how you are with your close friends.
How you want to be with your best friend may differ to how you are with your partner or husband.
Values help guide our behaviour. Someone who values honestly will act honestly and speak truthfully. Someone who values compassion will act compassionately to those they come in contact with. When we do not act in line with our values we have a values conflict and that is when we often feel guilty, regretful, resentful etc…
Our motherhood values are what we value in the relationship a mother has with her children and are the ideal characteristics of the type of mum we want to be.
Being clear on our Motherhood Values helps guide our behaviour towards our children.
We will act in a specific way with our kids because our behaviour is guided by how we want to be, not just how we react to a situation.
When we slip up and act in a way that doesn’t align with our values then the dreaded guilts hits. Fear not, no-one acts in line with their values 100% of the time.
Remember… There is no such thing as the perfect parent!
How Do We Work Out Our Values?
Your Motherhood Values are adjectives because they describe the type of mum you want to be.
Let me who you how I use mine in my day-today life as a mum.
The three words I chose as my Motherhood Values are: empathetic, approachable and silly.
Meet My Values!
The Empathetic Mum
I want to be a mum who feels for their children and understands where they are. To me it is not important to have sympathy for them but to have empathy and understanding of why they are feeling the way they are.
Our children’s behaviour is always a reflection of what they are feeling at any point in time. By being an empathetic mum and understanding what my child is feeling I can then understand what their behaviour is trying communicate. In turn I can address the emotion before the behaviour which will always get better results in terms of discipline.
From my children’s point of view I want them to feel that their mum is always listening to them, trying to understand where they are coming from and being non-judgemental. We all know how wonderful it is when someone is empathetic towards us and how good it feels. The same goes for our kids and I want that for mine.
The Approachable Mum
The same thing about being an approachable mum. I always want to be a mum who says “what do you need, how can I help you?” I want my kids feel like they can come to me with their problems and concerns, no matter how big or small they are.
This doesn’t mean that I drop everything all the time and run to my kids and help them. There is always a healthy balance. Sometimes I can, other times I can’t. On the days I can’t drop everything and help them, I will always make sure that I find time later.
For example, if my eldest is having a problem at school, discussing it with her younger siblings around guarantees we’ll be interrupted.
I acknowledge that she needs to speak to me and tell her that we will talk later. I always keep my promise and we chat later when everyone’s asleep. The combination of all of this means that my children will grow up knowing that they can always come to me.
The Silly Mum
My final Motherhood Value is being silly. It sounds like a strange way to want to describe yourself as but I chose silly because I love laughter. On a biological level laughter is wonderful. It is healing and positive for our overall emotional and mental health.
I’m pretty silly in life in general, lighthearted and honest. I love to laugh and I love to hear my kids laugh. Laughter is great to break tension.
When I find myself getting frustrated at my kids, I tend to do something silly to break the frustration-anger cycle. This helps stop me yelling or lashing out. I’m always pulling faces, doing silly dances, having fun, wrestling and so on. I always want my kids to be able to connect and laugh with me.
Why Does All This Matter?
The relationship you have with your child when they are young will influence the one you have with them when they are older.
Consistent empathy when they are young on a consistent basis will help them know that my empathy to them when they’re older is a genuine. It is the same with approachable. If they don’t feel they can come to me when they’ve lost one little toy, why would they come to me when they have a problem at school? A teenager will not come to their parents unless they know that they can.
This connected relationship which is so important when our kids are older starts when they’re young. It may mean that we have to listen to boring stories now, or play games that we might not want to. That is the sacrifice we make as mums when we’re playing the long game.
How To Use Your Motherhood Values In Practice
Our motherhood values guide our behaviour. I can ask myself a question when responding to something that is happening with my child. For example:
“How does an empathetic mum act when her son is having a tantrum?”
“How does an empathetic and approachable mum act when her daughter comes to her saying that she’s being teased on the playground?”
“What can silly mum do to help make bedtime easier tonight when everyone is overtired?”
When I’m feeling stressed, I often simply repeat these three words in my mind. This helps me act in a way I want to, rather than react to the situation and end up yelling.
Choosing three motherhood values it doesn’t mean that these are the only way we are with our children. These are the overarching values. I still strive to describe myself as connected, affectionate, truthful, patient, loving, comforting and fun. But three words are much easier to remember on a day to day basis!
How To Work Out Your Motherhood Values
Does this all sound interesting but you don’t know where to start? Here’s the process I take my clients through.
Take 5-10 minutes out to think about the following:
How do you want your child to describe you? Now, when they’ve left home and even in your eulogy.
What do you want them to say about how you were as a mum?
What do you want them to remember about their time with you?
How do you want them to describe you?
What feelings about their time with you do you want them to remember?
Use your answers to help get clarity on the type of mum you want to be. Don’t forget to download the Motherhood Values Worksheet to delve even deeper than this.
Remember that if you’d ever like to discuss this in more detail please don’t hesitate to get in contact. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
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