Photo by David Castillo Dominici at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Do you ever have one of those days when you are raring to go and attack your goals and to-do lists, but your children are not? I had one recently. I was pacing around the kitchen, ready to go exercise and move on with the rest of my day. One child was playing with the utensils, instead of putting them away. The other child was running around the room in circles, instead of getting dressed.

“You look frustrated,” said my husband.

“I am!” I replied. “I feel like I am always waiting for little people. It would be so much faster if I did things myself, but then they’ll never learn!” After feeling sorry for myself for awhile, I had a rare moment of clarity.

“What’s my main purpose in life right now?” I asked myself. I already knew the answer. It was to be a mother of little children. Does it really matter how quickly I get through my to-do list? Or, better stated, “Does it matter more than my children?”

I thought back to my days in the workforce. One year, our team decided that we needed a mission statement. We wanted our employees to have a real sense of purpose, to feel empowered. We wanted them to know our organization’s priorities so they would conduct themselves accordingly. We worked on a concise mission statement supported by several values. It was an amazing experience.

Following the example of many others, our family had recently come up with a family mission statement and rules. But what about me? What was my personal mission statement as a mother? This got me thinking over the next few days.

I used the following process to come up with a personal mission statement for motherhood. Maybe you would find it helpful to do the same. Then, the next time you’re raring to go, and someone’s lost a shoe or remembered a project that’s due tomorrow, you’ll be able to “keep calm and carry on.”

  1. Brainstorm. The first thing I did was make a list of all the qualities or traits that I thought were important and wanted as a mother.
  2. Define your purpose. After brainstorming, I could see a theme developing. I decided that the single most important purpose for me, as a mother, was to nurture my children. This would be the crux of my mission statement.
  3. Define your values. Your values are what help you make day-to-day decisions that support your mission statement. Decide what things will help you achieve your purpose.
  4. Make it short. You want to be able to remember this quickly and easily.

After this short process, here is my personal mission statement for motherhood: My mission is to nurture my children by listening, teaching, playing and loving.

Now, when I’m racing out the door and my daughter starts crying because she can’t zip her jacket up, I can think, “I will nurture her by teaching her.” When my son is talking non-stop about the robot he wants to invent and I want so desperately to tune-out, I can think, “I will nurture him by listening to him.” I’ve tried this over the last couple of days and it’s made a big difference in how I perceive a situation.

Every major successful business has a mission statement. Many successful families have mission statements. Why shouldn’t every mother?

QUESTION: How would you define your purpose as a mother?

CHALLENGE: Go through the four-step process listed above and make your own motherhood mission statement.

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