My friend Diane Sanford, PhD, co-wrote an incredible book with Ann Dunnewold, PhD, for new mothers, called Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom’s Postpartum Survival Guide. She mailed me a copy, and since I received it a few months ago, I occasionally turn to it when I’m having one of those “I’m a terrible mother” days. You know those days? I hope you don’t, but I think they’re an inherent part of this motherhood gig, unfortunately.
This book is one I wish I could loan to all of my pregnant postpartum friends–but I can’t bear to part with it. So I’ll recommend it instead. Especially this exercise in the book, called “Two Minutes for Yourself”:
Two Minutes for Yourself
Take out a sheet of paper. Fold it in half length-wise. On one side, write your strengths. The flip it over and write, “The mom I want to be” on the other side at the top. List the ten qualities that you think make a good mom. Your list may include virtues such as patience, drive, and organization, or more diverse elements such as joyfulness or an affectionate nature. Now take a deep breath and view the lists. Which qualities do you intrinsically posess? Many of these attributes may already be on your strengths list. Circle the matching ones on both lists. Recopy these (or the top five, if you have more than five) onto a three-by-five note card with the heading “Qualities I have which make me a good mom.” Tear up the other list and throw it away. Rather than fretting about what personal aspects of a stereotypic good mom you lack, focus on the strengths you bring to this new relationship. There are as many ways to be a good mother as there are opinions about getting a baby to sleep through the night. Put the card in your purse or wallet and review it regularly to build your confidence in this new role.
Doesn’t that sound like a lovely way to spend a few minutes? When I did this exercise myself, I was surprised to see that many of the qualities I listed as possessed by a good mom are ones I had also listed as my strengths. I think you will be similarly surprised.
This book delivers what it says it will & then some: “clinically-proven strategies for surviving and thriving during both the postpartum period and a lifetime of motherhood.” Two and a half years into mothering, I’m thriving in my role, in part due to books such as this one, a helpful and supportive community of women like me, and my friends and family.
What are your go-to resources for motherhood survival?