It was 6 months after the birth of my second son when it dawned on me, I was very unhappy, even though I 'had it all'. I was confused, resentful, sad and felt like an ungrateful failure.
Embarrassed and fearful that I had worked in Early Childhood Education for 10 years, loved children and thought that my purpose in life was to have kids. When I did I would be blissfully happy, life complete, thanks for coming, validate your parking. In actual fact it had brought me to my knees. I hit a point where I knew that if I didn't do something to fix it I would head down a dark path...and I am afraid of the dark.
The turning point came when I realised I had focused on the external. I read the books telling me what would physically happen to me, how to prepare mentally for labour, bought all the things necessary (and unnecessary!) to raise children but I had failed to prepare myself internally, I didn't train myself mentally for after the birth(s) and when things got tough I wasn't strong enough.
Through that difficult time many years ago, I drew on my years of experience and I trained as a Mental Skills Coach and become a NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programing) Practitioner. We now know that the brain is not “hardwired” it is in fact “soft-wired” through our experiences, we can change the way we think if our thinking is no longer serving us.
These skills, training and passion for helping other Mum’s allowed me to develop “A Mother of a Mindset” approach, which I currently teach in workshops throughout Melbourne.
Here's how to gain a strong mindset for happiness and parenting success:
Are you living at Cause or Effect?
At Effect (External)
- Being at Effect is taking no responsibility for what has happened to you.
- You are reactive – ruled by emotions.
- You live in fear and feel helpless.
- You are a Victim.
- You are a Martyr (this one was a specialty of mine!)
- You are focused only on you.
At Cause (Internal)
- Living at Cause is the knowledge that you are 100% responsible for all outcomes in your life.
- When you are 100% responsible you can change it!!
- You respond to life – choosing your emotions and your response.
- You are focused on you and others.
- This is the mindset you should be working towards.
What you Focus on is what you get
Imagine that your Focus is a torch light. It captures within its light what it is focused on. Everything outside the beam is excluded; it can't pick up what it isn't focused on.
At my worst I was focused on what wasn’t working, how tired I was. A victim to my emotions and thoughts. I was at Effect because of what I was focusing on. If you are focused on your problems you will have problems, if you focus on what you are grateful for and the positives in your life that is what you will get! Sounds simple? Not always, habits run deep. Be gentle with yourself, when you catch yourself thinking about the negatives acknowledge it and train your brain to then switch to focusing on what you do want to think about.
Be on a Mission
Set yourself a Mission or Missions every day. Change out of the tracksuit pants you have been in for the last 3 days. Get to work, clean and on time. Being present with your children. Write a book. Whatever it is have an outcome in mind so when you wake up in the morning you are working towards something so that you are attacking the day as opposed to the day attacking you.
Before going to sleep review your day and congratulate yourself on achieving each mission and set your top 3 missions for the next day. Our brains love goals. Providing your brain with a goal/mission/to-do list and getting a clear picture of what achieving it looks like in the 45 minutes before you go to sleep, allows your brain to go about (while you are asleep) planning to get it done.
The benefits of Meditation are well documented – stress relief, relaxation, better sleep and brain function, reduced anxiety and depression, to name only a few. You can download free apps like Smiling Mind or Head Space to guide you, or easily access information where people like Deepak Chopra run free "Meditation Experiences". The important thing is to find what works for you and develop the habit. Make the time because it makes you better.
It is well known that moving your body helps your mind. According to Harvard Medical School psychiatrist and author John Ratey “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory and learning.” Start at your beginning and build from there. Dance in your kitchen or run a marathon, it’s your choice, making it happen is what counts!
These steps were instrumental in getting me moving in the direction I wanted to go. The key being, having a successful mindset is 100% within our control. I think Dr Seuss said it best: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
About the Author:
Anna Rogacki is a Mental Skills Coach, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner and mother of two, who believes deeply in everyone’s ability to live with purpose and reach their full potential. With over 10 years experience working with elite athletes, coaches, pregnant women and new mothers, Anna is committed to empowering women to gain a strong and successful mindset through the most exhilarating and challenging times of their lives.