To be a parent takes patience, grit and an endless reservoir of love and affection. It also takes resilience—that partly innate, mostly learned, ability to bounce back from life’s little spills and giant collapses so that you can move forward with a sense of peace and happiness. Here is a look at five common traits resilient moms share that help them navigate the glorious minefield of parenting.
Bend before you break, and adjust with flexibility. One of the things I have learned as a parent is that while some things are in my control, often children and their feelings and behaviors can turn a situation upside down. A resilient mom learns to roll with the punches.
It is important for all parents to learn that taking care of oneself is as important as taking care of others. If you are not well rested, fed and emotionally healthy, it is much harder to meet someone else's needs. You cannot help your child in an emergency if you are not functioning. Life is the same way.
3. Acceptance of imperfections
No one is perfect. Resilient parents learn to accept the fact that we and our children make mistakes and have plenty of imperfections. Perhaps your child is forgetful or loses things. A resilient mom comes to realize that this just might be the nature of the child and invests extra time and energy in teaching them organizational skills instead of getting angry and worked up.
4. A positive outlook
In life there will be good days, rotten days and everything in between. A resilient mom learns to focus on things that make her happy, and she remembers what she's grateful for to help her get through the more difficult moments. When you are running late, your child is having a temper tantrum and knocks over a glass of juice—it's frustrating, but remind yourself about the peaceful times, and even talk with your child about those times as a distraction from the chaotic moment. Be grateful that you have time with your child and that you are healthy and strong enough to clean up that mess.
5. A growth mentality
Often as a mother, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine. Get up each morning, get the kids ready for school or day care, go to work or do things for the household, come home, have dinner and go to bed. And start over again. While there is nothing particularly wrong with this schedule, a person can become resentful without some fun or novelty added to the mix. A resilient mom realizes that she needs to continue to grow and evolve, just as the kids do. Taking a class, starting a new hobby…these are ways to continue learning and finding joy in your daily life.
Stacy Kaiser is a successful Southern California-based licensed psychotherapist, author, relationship expert and media personality. She is an editor at large for Live Happy, and the author of How to Be a Grown Up: The Ten Secret Skills Everyone Needs to Know.