14 Calming Things to Tell Yourself (Before You Totally Lose It!)

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Parenting is no walk in the park but lately (as in the last two years) it feels like the cards are stacked against us: pandemic restrictions, online school, and endless Zoom calls can make “ordinary” parenting challenges seem overwhelming. This is why it is more important than ever to offer some positive reinforcement…to yourself! We talked to the experts and came with 14 easy statements to get you started. Keep reading to see them all.

photo: iStock

Why Self-Affirmation Can Make You a Better Parent

We asked renowned parenting expert, Reena B. Patel why positive affirmations matter. Patel, who is also a licensed educational psychologist, board-certified behavior analyst, and the author of Winnie & Her Worries, reminds us that positive affirmations are rooted in Positive Psychology. "Positive, simple statements help shift your focus away from perceived failures and direct your focus toward your strengths," Patel explains. "We believe and act upon what we think, thus leading to self-fulfilling prophecies if we focus only on what we are not good at. There is power in positive thinking. Positive emotions are linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being." 

Patel also suggests that, whenever possible, parents try to state their affirmation while looking at themselves in the mirror, and by saying the statement multiple times a day (at least three is ideal). She adds to use positive "I' statements and to, "Place a visual of the words in an area that you can see daily as a reminder."

1. I am a good parent. It's easy to criticize ourselves and focus on how we think we're failing as a mom or dad. But parenting is tough, and we're all doing the best we can. Acknowledge that fact, and tell yourself out loud, every day, that you're a good parent.

2. Loving myself is the greatest gift I can give to my child. Kids are sponges and they learn from us. So if your kiddos know you appreciate yourself, they will learn to love themselves. That's one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids.

3. I’m not perfect. We all know that nobody is perfect. But we place a big expectation on ourselves as parents to be pretty close to it. Repeating that mantra is a great reminder that it's okay to be human, not to be perfect.

4. I can only control myself. The only person you can really control is yourself. It's so hard, but one of the best ways to help kids grow emotionally is to exhibit mature behavior. Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC says, "When we react emotionally to our kids and lose control, we’re allowing our kids to determine how we behave rather than the other way around." Next time your kiddo throws a massive fit, try to stay calm and see what happens.

photo: Pixaby

5. Today is a new day. It's easy to focus on how yesterday was a bad day. Sanah Rizvi, the founder of The Psych Way, suggests changing the self-talk to focus on how every day is a chance to make progress and change to whatever you want and be whoever I want to be.

6. I’m doing the best I can do. At the end of the day, that's all we can do. Repeating that mantra every day will help you accept it as truth.

7. I make good decisions for my kids. This is a tough mantra to remember, especially when little ones are very vocal about making their displeasure for our decisions known. Parent Trust points out that moms and dads know they're making the right choices for their kids. Embrace it and repeat the statement to yourself as a reminder.

8. I’m going easy on myself today. Give yourself permission to take it easy. Say it out loud and embrace freedom.

9. Parenting is exhausting. Every parent knows this statement to be true. Lauren Tamm, the writer of The Military Wife and Mom, suggests repeating this mantra as a reminder that taking care of kids is hard work. No wonder we're so tired at the end of the day!

10. I am loved. Motherhood can be a thankless job, and little ones aren't known for their compliments. Nicole Schwarz, parent coach and family therapist, reminds moms to keep in mind that even though our kiddos may not say it, know that you are loved and repeat it as a daily mantra.

11. I am what my kiddo needs. At the end of the day, there's nothing else that's as true as that statement. 

12. It won't always be like this. Although it does feel like this pandemic thing will never end, the one thing we know for sure is that hardships always pass. From colicky babies to distance learning to pandemics, one day, you'll find yourself on the other side. 

photo: iStock

13. I do not need to compare. Patel says, "I know my kids the best, and comparisons do not serve me. If I notice myself comparing, I will quickly let it go. notice when I compare myself to other parents and I quickly let them go."

14. I am willing to learn and grow. Patel reminds us that it is critical to embrace change and growth, even when things seem tough. After all, it's what we'd tell our kids, right? 

—Leah R. Singer with Gabby Cullen & Amber Guetebier

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