Sunday, July 08, 2007
My latest favorite book about parenting is Mommy Mantras: Affirmations and Insights to Keep You from Losing Your Mind. The book contains a whole bunch of mantras, little sayings really. Things to bring to mind during the...oh...10 or 12 difficult parenting situations that may come up on any given day. The authors, two child psychologists, then share stories from their own experiences about how these mantras have come in handy for them.

There are mantras for getting through a visit with your in-laws ("take what they can give"). Mantras for getting along with your spouse ("ignore the score"). Mantras for the working mom and for the stay at home mom ("give up the guilt"). Even mantras for coping with tantrums in public ("be invisible").

I ran into this book around Mother's Day. The title immediately brought to mind the mantra I recited to myself during the first few months of Katie's life. I'm not sure where I got the idea of reciting a mantra, but it helped me stay calm when I was feeling a little out of control.

My mantra was "I'm grateful for Katie." I remember saying this to myself in the wee hours when I'd hear Katie start to cry...again. I'd say it to myself while we were going through a rough patch with the whole car seat and driving thing. And I'd whisper it to Katie's sleeping form after she'd finally settled down for some sleep.

It was a useful thing for me, because becoming a mom was my choice. Randy wasn't particularly keen on the idea of giving up our comfortable couple-dom, and it was really me who lobbied for the idea of having a baby later in life. It was something I really wanted to do, even though I knew next to nothing about babies and kids. So it was a useful way for me to remind myself that this new phase in my life was something I'd chosen for myself. I needed a little reminder to keep those feelings of...oh I don't know, longing for the past I bay.

During the last few days, Katie's been on edge. She's got two molars working their way to the surface, and I can actually see a little blood on her gums, poor thing. So she's had a bit of a fussy mood these last few days, and bedtime can seem like it's a long way off. I know if I can keep her engaged in fun activities, the whole day goes a lot more smoothly. But then I can only work up the enthusiasm to go to the park so many times in one day. So I've been reviving my mantra again. It works. It keeps me thinking about what I'm supposed to be doing with my day.

So what are your parenting mantras?

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