Just Keep Swimming is My Working Mom Mantra
Quite often these days, I’ve had to tell myself “just keep swimming.” It’s become my working mom mantra. Do you have one? If not, you should get one.
What is a mantra?
A mantra is something you may relate to meditation; it’s usually a word or a sound- something simple that is meant to be repeated, and in doing so, helps with your concentration, relaxation, or meditation efforts.
Mantras help to block out anything else going on because you continue to focus on the mantra itself. The classic “om” comes to mind for many of us when we picture people meditating: sitting on their yoga mats, eyes closed, relaxing, and quieting their mind, gently repeating “om” again and again.
While “om” may work on a yoga mat, in a setting of serenity and silence, I can’t help but feel my mantra needs to be something a bit heartier. My mantra needs to be used day-in, day-out, often within the chaos or stress of whatever we have going on. This is not a “sitting on a yoga mat, breathing in silence” kind of mantra.
My mantra needs to be strong enough to help me focus when I’m sitting in the middle of a mess, trying to deal with it, only to find that one of my kids has added to it; for every toy I put away, another two seem to come out.
My mantra needs to carry me through the times where I look at my lengthy to-do list and ever-approaching deadlines and help me focus on moving forward, rather than getting overwhelmed and stuck.
Why do working moms need a mantra?
Mantras for working moms become so important because we constantly have so much on our plates at any given moment. We need to have something to latch on to and to put on repeat, that help us continue to make progress. Because I don’t know about you, but for me, there is a very fine line between progress and pause.
If I focus too much on what I need to do, how much there is to get done, or how messy the house is, then I get stuck. I stall. I have a hard time moving past the overwhelm that is created. Instead of taking steps to deal with it, it’s like the pause button gets hit. But, with my mantra, I am able to keep moving forward. Or, at least try to move forward. And sometimes try is all you can do.
By continuing to put one foot in front of the other, even if it feels like you’re on a treadmill, you’re still moving. And with this movement often comes progress, even if it’s small and not always noticeable. I’ve realized that there are times where it is okay to stop and to hit pause on something, but when I do it, I want it to be on purpose. For example, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to clean up the mess during the day because it’s just going to continue to get messy. Sometimes it’s better to tackle it at the end of the day.
For moms who work, there is often the added challenge of responsibilities, deadlines, and pressures. Being a mom is a hard enough job, and when you add another job on top of that (whether it’s part- or full-time, from home or away, it doesn’t really matter!), it’s HARD. There are any number of strategies you might find helpful to keep moving, to resist getting stuck in the feelings of being overwhelmed, and a mantra is one that I encourage you to try.
- Choose something meaningful to you. If you’re afraid of swimming, “Just keep swimming” probably isn’t the mantra for you.
- Pick something that feels powerful. “You’ll get there” may feel too far off, but “One step at a time” feels more manageable and doable; go with the latter.
- You can use a quote you love, something from the list below, or make up your own.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. We have so much competing for our attention that we likely need to put this statement on play back. And, mantras traditionally are repeated over and over to help block out the unwanted. You might find that the repetition not only helps to focus you, but it may bring a sense of peace as well.
What is your mantra?
Now is the time to pick or create your own mantra. Here is a list for you to choose from (You can have more than one).
- Just keep swimming
- Just breathe
- You’ll get there
- One step at a time
- It will all get done eventually
- You’re a good mom
- This too shall pass
- Everything will be okay
- The kids will always love you
- You’re doing a great job
How to use your mantra
Now that you’ve chosen your mantra, you need to use it. Think ahead about the times where you get overwhelmed and may benefit from repeating your mantra. If you feel like you might forget, give yourself reminders. Maybe make it in into a cute wallpaper for your phone, or order a print or sign that you can put up in your house or office, or have it engraved on a piece of jewelry.
Mantras, like anything else, need to become a habit, and that takes time. So, keep using it, and try a new one if you feel like the one you’ve chosen isn’t the best fit. There may be times where you only need to say it once or twice, or you may find that you have to return to repeating it over the course of the day. Use it however it works best for you, but definitely take the time to create a mantra.
Let us know- what’s your mantra and how’s it working for you?