What if you I told you that you had to get up tomorrow at 5:00 am and bike 30 miles? And, do it all uphill? Most moms would say they were incapable of doing it. But let’s change the the circumstances a bit. What if I told you that everyone who biked by 6 am. to the outlet mall got 95% off of all their purchases? A few moms who three seconds ago would never consider such a venture would now be reaching for the WD40 to tune up a bike. Many women would make the trek.
So what has changed? Not our capacity. Not the conditions. The motivation changed.
In Victor Frankl’s powerful memoir, Man’s Search for Meaning, the author explains how he survived the horrors of a concentration camp. He says, “If you know your ‘why’ then any ‘how’ is possible.” Knowing why we are doing something gives us the power to deal with how to do it.
Recently, I heard my baby make a muffled cry in his crib. I immediately felt the flood of angry emotion amp up my mind, mouth and muscles. I knew that my two-year-old, Mikey, had crawled into the crib with the baby and covered his face. When I walked in not only was Mikey in the baby’s crib, he was having a bounce-house moment as well. I didn’t want to react in anger, so I took some advice from earlier posts at The Power of Moms. I said a small prayer and counted to ten. I even had to jump up and down about a bit to diffuse my anger.
I slowly walked to my toddler and gently lifted him out of the crib. Mikey explained, “Jonny sad, Mommy. Me give Jonny teddy bear!” I replied, “Oh, you were trying to help Jonny boy with the bear?” I used simple, kind language to teach him to stay out of the crib. Mikey hugged me and then ran on his way.
I felt no adrenaline, no anger and no guilt. Typically this kind of scene would have been me running in out of fear. I would have yanked Mikey out of the crib and scolded him for potentially smothering the baby. All of it would have ended in Mikey crying. But, this time, I did it differently. I made a new choice. I gained some self-control and self-respect. I gained the power to find my how because I knew why.
Think of the possibilities if we know why:
- If you know why you want to treat your children with respect, then you will see options to get your temper under control.
- If you know why an organized, sanitary home is important, then housework will not be a resentment and you will find energy to do it.
- If you know why your personal health is vital to your family happiness, then finding time to exercise will become less of a frustration.
- If you know why one-on-one time with each child is essential, then creating that time each day will become a priority.
- If you know why planning the family week brings peace, then creating the plan on paper will feel less stifling or overwhelming.
- If you know why you are uniquely qualified to nurture your children, then confidence and peace in your mothering will feel possible.
Keep in mind that sometimes the “why” behind a positive action might not come until after we’ve given it a try. I’ve always “known” I needed to make healthy choices for my body. It wasn’t until after I started consistently exercising that I discovered why: my energy levels soared, my headaches disappeared, and I slept better. Have faith in yourself as a mother that the wisdom of “why” will come.
Because mothering is at times hard, mothers we must have a firm handle on why we mother deliberately. If we lose sight of the whys, then we’ll lose our capacity with the hows. Mothering can become overwhelming. However, when we know why, we are filled with purpose, power and joy.
QUESTION: What aspect of your mothering is bothering you the most? Why is that aspect important to you?
CHALLENGE: Write out why you want to do or be that thing. When you struggle with it, reread what you have written. Post it some place visible. Consciously remember why.
Photo by Dan at www. freedigitalphotos.net