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The Mom Mindset

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Where the Heart Resides

By: Amanda Hyslop  |  May 16, 2024

Okay, let’s be honest. Being a mom is the hardest job in the world. Oh sure, athletes are celebrated for their lock in, be aggressive, stay hungry mentality. In business, the focus is high ownership, move quickly! Healthcare’s approach is data-driven, grounded in compassion and empathy. And in the world of education, it is all about Carol Dweck’s growth mindset- stretch, grow, and when you say you are not good at something, tack on the crucial word ‘yet’. 

But folks, have we talked about the ‘mom mindset?’ This is the real deal. “Strong like Mom” isn’t some cute slogan to put on a t-shirt. It's a high-stakes, demanding role relentless to scrutiny—whether it's armchair experts online who think they know your child better than you do, or in-laws during the holidays, turning every dinner into a performance review. Being a mom requires a certain mindset.

The ‘Mom Mindset’

When I think about the 'mom mindset', it's all about nurturing my kids in a way that helps them grow, not just physically, but also in terms of resilience and adaptability. For me, being a mom isn't just about meeting basic needs—it's also a form of coaching. It's those quiet moments when my child shows me a disappointing test result, and we talk through it. Or when I reassure them on the way to a friend's house, reminding them of our secret code word they can use if they need me to pick them up. It's the little things, like asking them to walk the dog to teach responsibility or encouraging an apology to a sibling to build empathy.

And truth be told, there’s no handbook handed to mothers on how to master this mindset. We have to navigate through motherhood with intuition, advice pieced together from various sources, and a whole lot of trial and error. And through it all, we're tasked not just with keeping it all together, but also with doing our utmost to stay sane and centered. And the kicker? There is no paycheck.

Adaptability, Empathy, And Presence

So here is what I have pieced together in cultivating my ‘mom mindset.’ Embrace flexibility and adaptability. No day is perfect and no one has it perfect. Sometimes you have to adjust on the fly. This could mean adjusting dinner plans—instead of the planned chicken and vegetables, some days might call for taco takeout. It could also mean your child has played softball her whole life and has decided it's not for her. Time to change lanes and sell off those bats.

I've learned being present is crucial to parenting. It's about stepping into our children's shoes and really seeing the world from their perspective, which helps us establish a stronger emotional bond. The problem is we are so busy, with endless to-do lists scrolling through our minds. This busyness often makes us forget to pause, listen, and be there for our kids. Yet, at the heart of the ‘mom mindset’ is this very idea of being present, even when life feels like a rush.

My son used to hand me his schoolwork to sign right as we were about to leave for school, which I thought was just forgetfulness and found quite frustrating. But one morning, when I saw hesitation in his eyes, I realized he wasn't forgetful—he was worried about disappointing me. He always took his time because he was summoning up the courage to show me his tests. So I made time to talk with him, reassuring him that he was loved no matter what despite his grades.

Building Resilience 

Facing difficult situations with our children's social dynamics and peer groups is never easy, but it's part of building resilience for them and ourselves. I’ve found it challenging to engage in some parenting conversations, whether I was sitting on the bleachers during a game or mingling at school events. Many parents had strong opinions or exhibited 'mama bear' tendencies, prioritizing their child's needs and wants above all else. This often has led to comparisons between children, undue assumptions, or gossip, which left me feeling uncomfortable and out of place.

As I navigated these dynamics, I realized the importance of carving out my own approach to parenting. I've come to understand that even though I'm not always right and have made my share of mistakes (like trying to resolve things over text), it's vital to uphold integrity and approach conflicts with a constructive mindset. This perspective has helped me foster a more inclusive and understanding attitude, even when conversations turn heated, competitive or critical.

Prioritizing Self-Care and Continued Learning 

I won't sugarcoat it—keeping my cool is incredibly tough. But I’ve learned that prioritizing self-care is key to handling the stress of parenting. When I skip my workout, let resentment build up, or stop practicing piano, I notice the entire mood of our home starts to shift. My patience runs thin, and I'm more prone to snapping at the kids. But when I make time for myself, whether it's a quick run or even just 10 minutes with a book, I feel the difference almost immediately. So, even when it feels like the to-do list is endless, don't forget to take that pottery class you signed up for, or take that walk you've been promising yourself. It might just be the reset you need.

One thing I've learned about embracing the ‘mom mindset’ is that it's all about continual learning too—just like in any profession. For me, listening to parenting podcasts and reading insightful newsletters (including this one!) have been game changers. They boost my confidence and offer fresh perspectives that I can apply in my daily life. Sharing my own parenting stories and hearing from others helps me grow, not just as a mom, but as a person.

Each of us has a unique ‘mom mindset’ that guides us through the ups and downs of parenting. I'd love to hear about the wisdom and insights you've gathered along the way. If you feel inspired, drop me an email. I would love to hear what you have to say.

Amanda Hyslop is rocking the mom life with two whip-smart kiddos, Sienna & William, and her hubby, Bill, who has a knack for dad jokes. By day, she's a go-to Advice Nurse at Tamalpais Pediatrics; by night, you'll find her playing the keys or hitting the pavement for a run. Amanda's all ears for your thoughts and will get back to you – just as soon as she locates that pesky missing sock!
More from this issue:

A Message for Mothers HERE >> 

Design Ideas for Creating a Spa Bathroom Experience for Busy Moms HERE >> 

The Benefits of Nature-Based Education HERE >> 

Mom Mindset HERE >> 

The World Needs Gifted Girls HERE >>