“Oh, I’m just a stay at home mom.” I heard the words leave my mouth before I could stop them, one in particular ringing in my ears. Just. I’m just this. I just do that. Except, there’s really no “just” about who I am or what I do all day everyday. I’m betting the same is true for you, too. Shifting your mindset as a stay at home mom is crucial in order to thrive and actually enjoy most days.
Not all the days, because hello stay at home mom life, but most of them.
Okay, think of shifting your mindset the way you might shift your child’s attention from the toy that his sister is playing with, to a different toy in the toy box full of available toys. It’s not about not letting him see his sister’s toy. It’s about presenting him with a variety of choices and encouraging him to choose something more fitting for the situation…i.e. anything but the toy he’s currently fixated on.
The toy he can’t have is upsetting him. It’s making him scream, cry, struggle, and fail to see the joy in his life. Dramatic, for sure. But introduce him to a toy that has more appeal, that he can actually get his chubby little hands on, and suddenly he’s smiling again. Calm. At peace. Curious and eager to continue on with his agenda of playing the day away.
Mindset management for moms is a lot like that. Sure, there are plenty of things you can focus on that will make you want to scream, hide in your bathroom crying into a tub of ice cream, struggle to get on with your responsibilities, and cause you to lose appreciation for where you are and who you’re with… but there are a lot of other options buzzing around your brain waves and it’ll serve your purposes a whole lot better to focus on one them, instead.
My husband has career goals. Long term, he has objectives he’s working towards. He logs his 40 hours a week knowing that each day he shows up, he’s plugging into his goal, working towards it, and then leaving to rest so that he can wake up and do it again the following day. His place of employment expects him to continue growing, achieving, and reaching for the next level of efficiency and productivity.
Often times, the hamster wheel of motherhood can feel exhausting, draining, and if I’m being honest about those moments when I can’t possibly imagine life beyond the wild screams of discontent in the living room, pointless. At least, that’s how it used to feel before I realized the importance of shifting my mindset and creating goals for myself that weren’t actually goals about my children.
Mindset goals are not the same as your babies’ milestone goals. They’re not even the same as resolving to not yell or say no for the day. Mindset goals are exactly what they sound like: goals for mind and mindset improvement. Mindset goals should help you shift your mindset for success as a mom.
Let’s be real right now, there isn’t a lot of mental stimulation throughout the day when you’re alone in your house caring for your kiddos. Unless you’re homeschooling your third grader through math and you’re not exactly a math whiz, but I digress. There isn’t much in the day to day that requires your mind to expand, be challenged, and grow. That’s why it’s so important for stay at home moms to shift their mindsets and prioritize personal development regardless of whether they think their job requires it.
To that end, your job does require it. Because if you don’t have a good and positive mindset, you will more easily spiral into depression, overwhelm, or complete and total burnout. I say that from experience, sister, I have been there!
Having goals is an important part of being human and, here’s a shocking revelation, mama, you are still you. A person. Independent from the tiny little bodies who depend on you for their survival. If you stop setting goals, you stop progressing. You wind up beginning each day in a pit of quicksand, climbing towards the top, and sinking further down.
Setting goals and shifting your mindset will help you thrive as a stay at home mom because you’ll have a big picture view of what you’re working towards that won’t get blurry every time the small picture moment isn’t going to plan. You’ll feel more successful at night when you lay your exhausted head on your pillow even if potty training took three steps backward and your kids watched way too much tv that afternoon.
Shifting your mindset isn’t a one and done deal. It requires daily intentionality and determination, much like losing weight or addressing your child’s behavioral issues. You don’t simply address it one day and move on with your life as if your mindset transformation is complete.
For starters, you can figure out your values. Any person, stay at home mom or not, will feel overwhelmed, irritable, or generally negative if they’re not in alignment with their values. Though this is true, most people have never taken the time to think about, much less write down and dwell on, their own personal values. Get clear on what you hold close to your heart!
Once that’s done, you must prioritize living out your values. If you’re consistently living to please others (don’t confuse this with a selfish me first mentality, but rather family first), then you won’t have enough time leftover to live for the things that you hold near and dear. Once you start prioritizing the activities in your day to honor what you value, and not just meet the needs of external demands, you’ll be in a place to really address your mindset shifting.
Additionally, and most importantly, pray. Seek the One who created your mind from scratch. Seek him in his word, seek him in your mundane drudgery, seek him when you falter, seek him when you want to run away, seek him when you can’t figure it out, seek him when you can. If you are a blend of the people you spend the most time with, spend the most time with God. He will transform your mindset to be more like Christ, and that should be your ultimate mindset goal.
“Do no conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”Romans 12:2 NIV
Okay so you know your values, you’ve refocused on your priorities, and you’ve begun praying more often and more fervently… but you still feel grumpy and sort of sad and maybe a little lonely. Now what?
Picture yourself as a cup. You are not empty no matter how “mom brain” your brain is right now. You are a vessel and you are filling up and whatever you fill up with you also pour out. No one can put lemonade in a cup, tip the cup over, and spill milk. So if you’re filling up on junk, junk will be in you, and junk will come out of you.
You’re walking with a mug of coffee. Precious, rich, strong, black coffee. Your overly ambitious wrecking ball of a two year old barrels over to give you one of her notorious hugsmashes, and coffee spills out of your mug. Why did you spill the coffee? Because someone bumped you? Because you weren’t being careful enough? Because your mug is too small or your coffee was too much? Nope, nope, and nope. You spilled coffee because there was coffee in your mug. Had there been tea, that’s what you would have spilled.
It’s silly but it makes sense. If you want to shift your mindset to thrive, you have to fill your mind and life with things that support thriving. If you’re scrolling facebook and filling up on everyone’s uneducated, unfiltered opinion, you will pour out annoyance and frustration. If you watch mainstream media and fill up on the lies and falsity that makes up the news reel, you will pour out resentment and despair. If you read garbage that depicts marriage as a chore to endure instead of a journey to enjoy, you will pour out impatience on your spouse. If you surround yourself with moms who value their wine o’clock hour more than their kids, you will pour out irritation on your littles.
Shifting your mindset requires you to take responsibility for your mindset, for what you’re filling up on, surrounding yourself with, and participating in. If you want to change your mindset and your attitude, read, watch, and do the things that support that endeavor.
listen to podcasts while you clean
limit your time social media scrolling (or ruthlessly weed out your friends list to clean up your newsfeed)
limit your exposure to the news (especially during election year, especially during the coronavirus scamdemic)
read your bible (seriously, it has never been more relevant and there’s no book more helpful to moms)
Listen to sermons (instead of watching netflix- and seriously, if you haven’t yet, cancel your netflix account- watch sermons online instead)
journal (this is the best way I’ve found to stay focused on the good things God has done and is doing in my life)
keep a gratitude or answered prayer record (a more specific way to journal is to just record what you’re grateful for each day, or one happy moment you can dwell on, or the way your prayers have been answered)
go outside (how can anyone be negative watching the sunrise…and if you are, you haven’t had enough coffee yet)
get some time away (this might be a comical suggestion but it’s mega important… you can’t truly appreciate what you have if you don’t remember what it’s like to not have it)
“A wise woman builds her house but, with her own hands a foolish one tears hers down.”Proverbs 14:1 NIV
You are a stay at home mom. You set the tone of your household. You influence the attitudes of your family. You are needed every waking hour and even some of the sleeping hours, too. You owe it to yourself, to your family, and to your Creator to spend time and energy shifting your mindset to develop a happier, healthier, more God honoring homelife. Mindset management is of the utmost importance in your quest to thriving as a stay at home mom!