Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ROMANS 12:2
My youngest child, Lucy, was born with some serious hair. By the time she was four months old, it looked like she had stuck her finger in the light socket. Think scared porcupine, replacing the quills with thick black hair. Kramer from Seinfeld had nothing on her.
One day, I was shopping through a store’s toy section with my little-miss-big-hair riding in the shopping cart. A mom walked past me with her two older kids following her. She glanced at my adorable baby porcupine and then, loud enough for her own kids to hear, said, “It only goes downhill from there.”
I wasn’t quick enough to shoot back, “Actually, I have two older kids, and I find it gets better every year!” She probably wouldn’t have appreciated that anyway. In that moment, I learned something important from that Grumpy Mom. I didn’t want to become like her. I don’t want to have a negative mindset about motherhood that goes something like this:
Just wait until you get married…all the romance will evaporate.
Just wait until you have kids…say goodbye to your life.
Just wait until your kids are in elementary school…hope you like being a taxi driver.
Just wait until your kids are in junior high…they’ll turn into aliens.
Just wait until your kids are in high school…they’ll hate you!
Just wait until your kids are in college…they’ll suck up every last penny.
Just wait until your kids are young adults…they’ll come back to live with you.
The Grumpy Mom anticipates disaster around every corner. For her, saying “It only goes downhill from there” wasn’t rude. It was a passing comment that flowed out of the reality of her life. When you have a negative mindset, it not only darkens your outlook, it poisons those around you. Remember the Grumpy Mom made her sour prediction with her own children listening to her every word.
Feed a Healthy Mindset
A few days a year, my kids bemoan the rainy-day schedule at school. Instead of going outside for recess, the kids are herded into the multipurpose room for the torture of what Noelle calls “boring-day schedule.” When they hear the forecast of rain, their young faces fall.
Motherhood can feel a lot like rain. Sometimes you’re pounded by storms. Other days you’re dragging your feet, a slow death by dreary skies of repetition. Being locked up with whiny kids, laundry piles, dishes, and to-dos can seem like “boring-day schedule” over and over again. Yet in the monotony, do you know you can choose to feed a positive mom mindset?
- As you fold your laundry, you can say a prayer of thanks that you are not separated from your loved ones.
- As you’re running errands, you can listen to positive podcasts in the car.
- As you’re planning your schedule, you can invite the happiest mom you know to coffee.
It doesn’t take much to infuse life into the “boring-day schedule” of being a mom. It begins with having the right mindset. In her groundbreaking book Mindset, Carol Dweck contrasts a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Applying her concept to motherhood, if you have a fixed mindset, you believe you’re wired with certain talents and abilities as a mom. There’s not much you can do to change the hand you’ve been dealt. If you have a growth mindset, you believe abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. This view emboldens you to learn new things and constantly improve as a mom.
Which mindset sounds healthier for you and your children? You bet—the growth mindset. The days ahead are not carved in stone, careening downhill to the grave like the Grumpy Mom would like us to believe. No, according to Daniel 12:3, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Now that sounds much better and brighter, doesn’t it?
From 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane