Let’s use our imaginations to be anything we want to be!
“Don’t be ridiculous, that’s just pretending Smiley!” chant all lovely Mums across the internet.
Yes, that’s right! It’s just pretend. Or is it? Your brain doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. So if you start to imagine what you want to be, then you will become it.
What’s that you say? “You’re no good at imagining things”? Let me help you.
It’s as Easy as Child’s Play
Have you ever watched your child play acting? When I was little I used to love click clacking across the kitchen tiles in my Mum’s pink stilettos (come on it was the 80s!) with my Tiny Tears dolly attached to my hip. I also loved playing hotels (I must have had Entrepreneur running through my veins from a young age), so I could take care of people and be the boss. I’ve never been good with authority! You’ve done this stuff before, you can do it again!
Are you the Mum you thought you would be?
Given that parenting doesn’t come with any training, you create your role as you go. Tricky huh? It’s likely you are stepping into your Mum’s shoes or the shoes of another nurturing and maternal woman you admire. I think a better way to do it is meet your child where they are with empathy and respond according to what they need. Every child is different.
Sometimes we parent consciously; considering our responses and being mindful of how we impact our child’s development, but sometimes, we are human. We react. We find ourselves unconsciously playing out our childhood hurts. Let’s say your Mum had a fiery temper and you spent a lot of time as a child walking on eggshells. You thought your job was to keep her happy (it wasn’t ) but as a child that is what you internalised and now when your child shows anger or you are faced with anger, you morph into a People Pleaser walking on eggshells to avoid being on the receiving end of that horrible anger again. Or you have internalised your Mum’s shouty bits and you shout at your children? Shouting becomes part of your Mum toolkit and yet you are outraged when your child raises their voice disrespectfully to you.
You can change. I’ve seen it happen.
You can change if you want to. The first step towards change is being aware that you need to. Sounds obvious but lots of people walk around unaware of how their behaviour and their words affect other people. Feeling resentful or irritated by something are indicators that something needs to change. It’s also a sign that your self care needs immediate attention.
Who is the most powerful version of you?
So, let’s use play acting to access the most powerful part of you. I know anger feels powerful but it’s a force that, in the moment, can unintentionally say or do the wrong thing.
Is the Mum you want to be confident, calm or patient? Who can you think of that you know that exudes the qualities of that Powerful Mum? I’m thinking Princess Diana. What sort of Mum was she? Selfless, loving and gentle. A little cheeky and fun loving. Or how about Victoria Beckham or Beyonce? Sassy and career minded. Who else is a good female Mum role model? Whose shoes do you want to step into?
My Power Mum is Brene Brown. She is a Vulnerability Researcher and does fabulous TED talks. She believes in a no blame household and showing up to live an authentic life. She believes in keeping it real with heaps of unconditional love. Her whole-hearted family manifesto is utter genius.
We are not aiming for perfection here people, just progress and good enough. Children bring out in us what we need to grow. Pay attention to what it is they are showing you. Don’t take it personally when they are pushing your buttons. They didn’t install those buttons in you. They came from way back when and it’s your responsibility to work on those.
Whichever role model Mum you chose, she will have the qualities which you want your children to remember you by. I wonder if they were qualities you wish you’d seen more of when you were growing up? If you are struggling to think of somebody, identify which characters you admire from your favourite book or a film? I love Donna from Mama Mia played by the amazing Meryl Streep. Miranda Hart’s Mum Penny (Patricia Hodge) makes me laugh but doesn’t cut it in the Mum stakes with her constant interfering and passive aggressive put downs. Who is the most confident Mum you know? If you don’t come up with somebody straight away, sit with it, it will come.
What would it be like to walk in their shoes?
Download my Power Up Your Mummyness exercise to get you feeling amazing. It’s the feelings from this exercise that you want to hold on to. It’s will help you to power up your inner confidence whenever you need to.
‘As you think so shall you become.’ ~ Bruce Lee
Another way to do this, is to create a vision board on Pinterest. (My one here has great inspirational women such as Joanna Lumley, Dawn French, Miranda Hart, Lorraine Pascale, Meryl Streep and so on). Pin up all the quotes, pictures, articles and things which make you feel like this person you want to be. Check in with this vision every day and notice the Mum that you are becoming.
‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ ~ Gandhi
You can be anything you want to be. Play with it. Have fun. Watch yourself grow. When you are more confident, your child will be too.