Real mantras for real parents

Real mantras for real parents

I am by no means a parenting expert. I do, however, feel pretty sure that I understand the human condition fairly well.

And, well, humans have emotions.

Now, I have always been extremely passionate. But, never in my life until I had kids did I truly understand emotions. I was an only child until I was 17 years old. I never had any enemies {that I know of!}. I was just always balanced. Happy and balanced.

Then I became a mother. Of crying babies. Of two screaming, crying babies.

It was, to say the least, emotionally exhausting. {Oh, and it’s wonderful, amazing and life-changing and all that, too!}

But, in those early days, it was, at times, depressing.

And when those babies grew into toddlers …

Frustrating. Overwhelming.

And when those toddlers grew into big kids …

Easier. Much, much easier. And yet there are still many moments where I have to bite my tongue, breathe one of those deep, through-the-ribs-kinds of breaths …

and. walk. away.

Walk Away

I believe whole-heartedly in self-talk. Some might call them mantras. I call it nurturing myself. And, while, yes, this, too shall pass … there’s a whole lot more to say to ourselves when times are emotionally challenging. These sayings help me reframe a complicated situation so that I can react in a more balanced, calm way — all necessary when trying to live mindfully.

Whatever you call them — here are the phrases that I chant in my head when things are difficult in my life {and I am not just talking about raising children right now either. I use them at work ALL THE TIME.}

10 Real Mantras for Real Parents

{Trust} I used this a lot when things in our life were uncertain. I’m using it right now as I try and build this Awake community on this blog. I use it every single day when I send my girls off to school. We used it a lot when my husband took a great job pretty far away in order to get off unemployment. I Trust that this is all bigger than me. I trust the Universe is in charge here.

{Walk Away} Yeah, I’ve found myself knee-deep in an endless argument with a 5 year old. Uh-huh. Walk away. Really. Works like a charm.

{I choose peace} It’s really very simple. I choose peace. In everything that I do. Except when I’m on the phone with Verizon. I draw the line there.

{It is what it is} If I had to pick just one, this is it. I say it all day, throughout my day and rarely for anything related to raising children. This one is almost always used at work, in my role in our community and trying to make the world a better place. It’s also the most zen saying we can utter. It’s just … well, it is what it is.

{Just be kind} When the kids are having a rough day. When they’ve been less than. Just be kind. I say it to myself. I say it to them. Just be kind. It’s really that simple. And, remarkably, when I say it to them, it churns through my being as well. I am suddenly much more patient. So, just be kind.

{And this} When things are big — very big I say this to myself. And this. Another zen saying that just allows you to soak all of the feelings and emotions and chaos into one moment.

{What am I feeling?} I tend to gloss over my own emotions, walking around just doing, doing, doing and not feeling, feeling, feeling. Ever since I started doing these emotional check-ins, I have learned how my body responds to stress. So, if the kids are acting up and I do a check in, I know what I’m feeling and what I need to do for me BEFORE I respond to them. This is also great for recognizing when you know you just need to take a break from everything. It also tells me when I need to hole myself up and write a few thousand words — to get the crankies out.

{I got this} I’m not sure but lately this has been my mantra. Truly a mantra, too. I juggle a lot of things and yet … I’ve got this. Oddly enough, I just heard the Jennifer Hudson song with these same lyrics today on my Pandora station. It was hard not to crank it up at work.

{I am enough} By now this is pretty well known thanks to Tracey Clark. Still, it’s beautiful enough to repeat here because it’s so moving. So often we beat ourselves up for not doing enough, not being enough, not feeling enough, etc. This mantra is just organically soul-nourishing. Gosh, to think … I am enough. That is a wonderful state of mind for any person, any parent.

{Breathe} In. Out. One. Two. Three. Deeply. Often. Over and Over. All the time. When things are rough. When they are not. Just take deep breaths. This really make me pause and think — again, before I respond or act.

{I am thankful} Last but not least, in this past year, I am saying this more and more. I am thankful. I am thankful to have you in my life. I am thankful for this learning moment. I am thankful for this day, this breath, this sunrise.

There you have them — 10 real mantras for real parents. They are the hug you need at the moment when no one else is aorund. They are ways to heal in the moment when any other kind of stress release isn’t possible. We cannot always control our situations, but we most absolutely can control our thinking.

I would love to know the mantras that you chant in your head each day. I am sure I will need *new ones* very soon.

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81 Responses to Real mantras for real parents

  1. Thank you yet again for this comforting advice.i cant tell you how much i needed to hear it loud and clear. Been in a struggle past 2 days with my 12 year old. Bigger than i anticipated. Over character and critical life values….thus your message is timely indeed. Trust, knowing when to walk away and most of all……..BREATHE!!! Thanks!


    • remember Steph, kids are ever evolving. Yes we have to be firm but I believe with the presence of reasonably consistent responsible role models, the values we fear they aren’t adopting as teens, will be very much there and influential at age 25.

      Lots of responsible adults can tell you about what they thought and believed as teens – and then you can see that from age 12-18 and from 18-25 they really grew.

      And the growing should never stop once we’re realistic about life, who we are and what our potential is.


  2. Be kind. Be oving. Be true. When my kids are headed out the door, or staying with relatives while I travel a few days, those are the final words of instruction. And you are right. They resound in my own mind.

  3. What I say when I realize I’m just too wired and stressed out: I am calm and I radiate calm all around me.

    I first used it as the anxious mother of my first child who was an easy going but Wakeful baby.

    Never stopped recommending the book Calm Mother, Calm Child, ever since.

  4. Wonderful words of wisdom Shawn.

    You made me laugh reading “Walk Away” because I’ve certainly found myself in situations where I have to remind myself that I’m the adult, I’m The Adult! LOL When that thought hits it usually means the adult thing to do is stop arguing and walk away.

    You made me tear up reading “I am Enough”. Like any mom I have this mental list of things to do to help my children; meals to make, places to drive, colleges to look at and forms to fill out. But when I read these familiar words this morning it reminded me that what they really need is me. It’s not about what I can do for them but who I am with them.

    Thank you for the laughter, the tears, and the reminder.

    • Sandy — thank you for your kind words and sharing. I thought you were going to laugh at my Just be Kind — except when dealing with Verizon. ; ) We all need gentle reminders … And, yes, you are enough!!

  5. I love this post. This is so encouraging and uplifting.

    Here are some phrases that help me keep things into perspective:

    “Will this matter in 10 years?”

    “Let it go.”

    Thank you. I love the topics you touch on here.

  6. This post is perfect timing for me right now! I have been trying to figure out how to deal with the emotions that come with raising a 4 year old and 1 year old – an age combination that for me is emotionally exhausting unlike any other patenting stage I’ve been through thus far. Thank you for this post, your mantras are so needed for me at this moment! I believe the universe lead me to your blog for a reason….”trust”!

    • Sara — Absolutely thrilled to have you here. {Trust} me when I say I know. I feel things so strongly … these mantras have helped me greatly. Of course, I’m always a work in progress. : )

  7. Thank you for this. In my head today I have continued to say to myself, “How about we just admit we’ve failed at parents and find someone else to raise our daughter.” Not so uplifting, huh? This is good and timely for me. thanks.

    • Emily — I have the perspective of twins, which I think helps me understand parenting and children a little better. We do everything the same for both. And yet … each one has their little challenges. They were born exactly as they should be — we just have to keep them heading down the right path, kind of like with our hand on the seat of their bicycle. They are in control, we just guide them a bit. At least that is how I like to think of it … good luck to you. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. This is temporary, it will end. I am a new mum and this has got me through some dark hours! There is always the hope that tomorrow will be better, easier or I will get more sleep.

  9. Great post! I sometimes do need to walk away when one of my kids have a meltdown. I often repeat, “This, too, shall pass” whenever I feel totally overwhelmed.

  10. You were right yesterday – today’s post was great for me! {Trust} is one that I think often as we are approaching some pretty big changes in our lives in the next few months, and I’m trusting that I can get the family ready for the changes without knowing with certainty what the changes are going to be, all the while just trying to get through every crazy, busy day. I think I’m going to print out your list to put in my notebook at work and hang on the fridge at home to refer to often!

  11. I can’t thank you enough for this post, I will be printing this out and place it by the kitchen and remind myself from now and then. Truly inspirational, thank you for sharing!!

  12. I stuck to these today… such a good day~ 😉 a little bit of energy clearing is what I needed to do. I love the way you;ve expressed this… loving and flows from the heart. It’s easy to feel it. Thanks for the much needed post!

  13. These are so great- thank you. “Just be kind” is so apt so often. I like to remind myself to “expect nothing” which may sound pessimistic, but I really do believe that for me expectations can be the hugest downfall.

  14. This is a little longer than a mantra, but it’s my go-to phrase and it has kept me out of a lot of trouble with my teenagers. “I love you to much to argue with you”. Sometimes I say it, and in the moment I’m not sure if it is true, but I remember the words and I say them out loud. It’s the best non-response when a fiesty teen is pushing for a response.

  15. Wonderful, wonderful! I think I am going to print this out and put it on the fridge. Breathe is my favorite for sure. So re-centering. Also I often pick words for the day, words that represent who I want to be or what I want to create in my life. Like “calm and vital” or “happy and centered” or “strong and peaceful,” then as my day goes on I run them through my head. I am always surprised at the difference this creates in my day and life.

  16. […] Mantras  like the one above help us through the harder moments as parents. I’m curious if you have your own wisdom to leave here in the comments about letting children handle their own emotions or about how you handle your own emotions. Do you have something you say to yourself or to your child to ease the emotional drama? Please share! Share this:TwitterPinterestFacebookStumbleUponLinkedInDiggTumblrRedditPrintEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  17. My mantras
    We are all in this together.

    It is my reminder that we are all human, pain, joy our humanitie connects us with others.

    I am, she, we , he, they are… (is) doing the best they can with what they have.

    It reminds me to leave perfection at the door for myself and others, and gives me permission to forgive others when I am treated unkindly.

    I love your mantras, I think I may borrow a few.

  18. Thanks for being a REAL mom! Seriously. I’m getting so frustrated with feeling like I’m the only mon out there who gets frustrated and overwhelmed with their life. Bloggig, FB & instagram (the latter two of which I have recently quit) all portray moms who just show the “perfect” life they live and it’s ridiculous. I chant all kinds of things to myself throughout the day to not just get through but to really feel that happiness. But the latest is, “Be humble.” Thanks for sharing this post.

    • kellie — I appreciate your comments. I feel the same way about Instagram .. I mean, really? We do know they aren’t taking photos of the challenging moments! Hugs to you for being real, too!

  19. Beautiful post, and such a welcome reminder to breathe through tough moments and appreciate the situation for what it is, even when it’s uncomfortable. I’m constantly reminding myself that my daughter’s play is her priority and she does not share my agenda (nor would I want her to). I remind myself that she is not trying to make me angry or frustrated, and I repeat her age in my head (“She’s only 3, don’t ask too much.”) because my expectations can be unrealistic at times. I know I’m a very sympathetic mom the majority of the time, but I have real moments of weakness when I feel frustration building inside me, and I beat myself up more than necessary when they happen. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    • Anna — We all beat ourselves up when we make mistakes but we have to remember to celebrate when we get things right!! : )

  20. my favorites are “do all things with love” and “hello moment. i am here.”

    i love mantras. they are so handy. like a mini meditation. thanks for this post.

  21. love this; thank you.. one mantra that my grandmother taught me, that will ALWAYS stick with me, is "he won't be (insert age) forever." silly as it may sound, it's gotten me through some frustrating times :)

  22. So I'm guessing STFU is not a good mantra? Can that one runs through my head A LOT! I have 5yo and twins who are almost 3, so it's constantly noisy in my house. I wear ear plugs a lot.

  23. Great stuff! Love the "I am enough" I'm a mother of 3 kids, 2 of which have Type 1 diabetes. Our lives are crazy and I'm sleep derived but we make it work. My favorite mantra turned into my blog name (not trying to plug my blog I promise – just sharing the mantra) "stick with it sugar ~ it never gets easier you get better" That second part (easier/better isn't mine – I originally saw it in a Nike add I think years ago but I can't find who to credit for it despite exhausted searches for an author. THanks for sharing your list of mantras.

  24. Hello!

    I’ve read this post a few times and often come back to it when I feel I am struggling as a parent.

    I was wondering if you could tell me where I can ready more about “And This”

    You mention that it is a zen saying, but it is very hard to google. Lol “and this” appears quite a bit on the Internet as you can imagine.

    Is there a particular source that you got this information from?

    Thank you!

  25. My absolute favorite is a line from a Regina Spektor song:
    “Hold on, one more time with feeling. Try it again, breathing’s just a rhythm.”
    I sing it so myself and it helps a lot. Also, this:
    “As a parent, I am an ocean. The surface of my experience may be tumultuously stormy with 50-foot waves. But if I go deep enough, the water is always very still. Here I have the capacity to be totally present. To hold the beautiful, fleeting moments with my children in complete awareness.”
    From this amazing blog:
    I will say ‘I am an ocean’ to remind myself

  26. I loved this! I totally relate to feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and sleep deprived. my new mantra is: pause…then parent. I find that when I take a deep breathe it ( usually 😉 keeps me from being reactive to a more centered place from which I am more likely to respond to my kiddos with love and understanding. Pausing seems to be highly under rated… as it can be used with any relationship ( as my husband;). thanks!

  27. I am struggling to feel grounded these days. I feel as though I don’t have my bearings, so when I feel the intensity of my daughter, or son, or other crazy situations around me, I’m struggling to not let them blow me over. I am saying, “I am strong and flexible.” I imagine my feet firmly rooted in the ground like a beautiful wise tree.

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Shawn Fink - Abundant MamaFrom Our Founder

I created The Abundant Mama Project to inspire overwhelmed, busy mothers to slow down and let go of the worries and concerns that are holding them back from experiencing joyful motherhood. Read More »
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