Everyone has their own mantra.
~ Russell Brand
As a parent, it is certain that there will be times you have to talk to yourself to keep from going mad. When you've answered the same question seven times (and it's usually a question that makes no sense, has no bearing or importance, and has no great definitive answer), when you've asked your tiny comrade to put their shoes on for the past twenty minutes with no response, or when you're just so completely exhausted and delirious that you've begun to lose your mind...muttering under your breath soooo works.
A mantra can be quite meditative and can transform you to a more peaceful place. As a mom, I rely heavily on my self-delivered pep talks to get me through the day...or, as I like to refer to them, my "momtras". Below are the typical "momtras" I frequently draw from:
Slow Down. I tend to work through my days with the clock as my enemy, in that I cannot get quickly enough to the point in the evening when she is asleep, the house is quiet, the toys have been put away, and I have a glass of wine in hand. From the moment I wake up, I feel as though I'm aiming at naptime, and once naptime is over, I begin to barrel towards bedtime. Inevitably, though, once she is asleep at night, I find myself missing her and wanting to wake her up for a chat or a snuggle. So throughout the day, I try to remind myself to stop gearing for the day to be over, and instead savor the time with her.
Lighten Up. I'm an exceedingly anal, Type A personality. This can benefit our lives in a handful of ways, such as always being on time, never running out of the essentials (fruit snacks, toilet paper, wine), and having an organized home. However, it also serves to our detriment because I tend to take things waaaayyyy too seriously. One of my sole desires for Merrill is to ensure that she never takes herself or anyone else too seriously, that she is allowed to have a carefree fun childhood, and that she understands the importance of fun and spontaneity in order to keep some semblance of sanity. It starts with me, and so I have to remind myself to just chill the fuck out at times and realize that in the grand scheme of things, crumbs and mismatched socks really won't cause the world to stop spinning.
Dig Deep. This one is kind of a catchall for any variety of situations. Whether it's my need to find the inner strength to play that game again, read that stupid story for the eleventy millionth time without losing my shit (seriously, why don't I ever remember to get rid of the books I loathe when she isn't looking?), or simply to get through the day without the desire to stab myself in the eye with a sharpened pencil, I have to often remind myself to dig deep...very deep...and find the patience lurking within.
Be Better. Again, this one is pretty grandiose and wide-reaching. It has a direct tie to "dig deep", except it relies more heavily on tapping into the ambitious part of me and forcing my lazy side to take a damn break already. (My lazy side likes to dominate.) I call on this momtra when I am reaching for a quick and easy dinner option instead of making sure it's nutritious and fortified with something other than sodium and saturated fat. I repeat this one to myself when I'm tired and feel like doing little more than watching cartoons and pretending they are educational. This is my go-to when I really don't want to do what Merrill is asking me to do (the 437th game of hide and seek, the alphabet puzzle that drives me batty because she says that every damn letter is a "c", etc.), and this is the one that forces me to be aware of my role as parent, guardian, educator, playmate, example setter, and so on. This is the one that reminds me to be better for her, because damn if she doesn't deserve it.