In some ways, becoming a mother is like starting high school all over again. Where do you fit in this new world of parenting styles and mommy personalities? Are you going to be Organic Mom, making all your baby food from scratch? Brainiac Mom who teaches her kids to read by 18 months? or Exercise Nut Mom who takes her kids to Mommy & Me Yoga in the jogging stroller?
Discovering your “mother self” is not as simple as boxing yourself into a one-dimensional stereotype like we did in high school — we’re all much more complicated than that! But one thing is for sure: A new mother is born right along with that first baby, and figuring out how to mesh your original recipe self with your new mother self can be a tough, if not exhilarating, journey. That’s where The Power of Individuality comes in, and we’ll spend the better part of April focusing on its relationship to motherhood.
The Power of Individuality is about figuring out and appreciating who you really are and using that knowledge to create your own mothering style. It’s about discovering and developing your unique talents and strengths that contribute to your role as a mother, and embracing and celebrating what you and you alone have to offer your children and the world. At the Power of Moms, we encourage mothers to be their own best selves, not to try and fit into some cookie cutter mold that doesn’t feel right. We believe that we benefit our children and each other best when we are true to ourselves, and not the mom next door:
“As mothers, we’re not in the same boat, just the same ocean. Comparing each other’s boats and constantly keeping track of who is ahead does nothing to get us where we are trying to go; it only distracts us from the care of our precious cargo.
“One of the most liberating things about getting older and having more children is learning to let go of stereotypes and expectations and focusing on what I can do. That’s on a good day, of course.” (Click here for the full article by Allyson Reynolds.)
We also believe that in the process of becoming the best mom you can be, you become your best self:
“Sometimes in this journey of motherhood, changing nappies, and refereeing another fight, it’s easy to get lost and forget who we are — as women and as individuals. Funnily enough, I have learned that when we know who we are and can put our own desires aside for a time, mothering helps us truly find and become our best selves.
“‘Be you. Find you. Be happy with that.’
“Doesn’t every woman want this? To be comfortable with who they are and happy with the choices they make? I love the fact that unlike the teenage years, there is a strong sense of self-confidence that comes with womanhood. I realize that ‘finding ourselves’ and being happy with who we are is a process that changes as we change.” (Click here for the full article by Felicity Aston.)
Naturally, we want to encourage The Power of Individuality in our children as well:
“The greatest gift my mother ever gave me was the assurance that she loved me just the way I was. No matter what, I was good enough. I never felt any pressure to be as musical, as smart, as anything as any of my siblings.
“And so shall it be with my own children. They are so very different. They are smart in different ways, excel in different areas and have such different interests. I hope that I can be their champion, that I can encourage and support all the different paths they may choose to take. It often seems in this day and age, with all the challenges young people face, that self-esteem is hard to come by. I’m determined to make my home a place where my kids feel celebrated, a place where they know they can be their very best self, and it will always be good enough. If they want to hike, sing, dance, act, play, swim, run, ride, snorkel, yodel — I’m in.” (Click here for the full article by Jenny Proctor.)
QUESTION: What are some commonly overlooked talents and strengths that you think are key contributors to a healthy mother and family?
CHALLENGE: Identify one unhealthy stereotype of a “good” mother that you can let go of, so you can focus on your real strengths.