We all want to be better moms but it’s a vague concept so we rarely make a plan for how to do it.
In this episode, Sterling lays out a four step plan for being a better Catholic mom. You can use this to improve your relationship with yourself and with your kids in 2023
RESOURCES MENTIONED ON THE SHOW
Join Us in Masters
TRANSCRIPT OF THE SHOW
Welcome to today’s episode. I’m your host, Sterling Jaquith, and today I wanna talk about how you can be a better mom in 2023. And we coach on this all the time. Moms who want to be better moms. It’s just a concept that rattles around in our brain all the time. Gosh, I wish I was a better mom, so I wanted to lay out a four step process for how to be a better mom. And just make it really clear, because your brain likes to be confused. So I want you to know that’s not you a problem. It’s a human brain problem that human brains don’t like change, they don’t like discomfort. And so when you think I want to be better at something, we know that it will likely involve the discomfort of growth to be better at it. And so your brain automatically wants to talk you out of it.
So it will do that first by just getting you to be confused, getting you to be confused, or making you believe that you can’t do it. I feel like those are the two big ones. And so me, I don’t know, three years ago before I had life coaching and mindset tools, I would’ve had six kids and I would’ve thought things like, it’s just so hard. I don’t have time to read a bunch of parenting books. I don’t even know what I wanna work on. There’s too much to work on. And I just would’ve been overwhelmed. I would’ve given into this confusion and then I would’ve just continued my day-to-day life.
But now I know that there are some very specific things that you can do to be a better mom. It’s actually not confusing. It may be uncomfortable. So you can just tell your brain that right away she’ll be like, Hey Maureen, it’s gonna be uncomfortable to be a better mom, but we want to do it. We wanna do it. And then I’ll remind my brain, brain, once you get used to something, you usually like it. We like being good at things. We just don’t like getting good at things. So step one, decide what it means to be a better mom. So that’s gonna mean something different for each one of us. So one of the things I’m really focused on right now with my kids is teaching them how to be more encouraging. They kind of put each other down like, oh, why did you do that?
Or You’re not very good at that. I just noticed there’s a lot of like siblings sniping between them. That’s fine. It just means they need to learn how to speak with more kindness and encouragement. And so instead of just sitting around thinking, oh, this is terrible and siblings are so mean, and it’s probably a poor reflection on me that they do this, I can just decide what it means to help the kids be more encouraging to each other and then I can make a plan. Okay? So for me, I can research ways to help kids be more encouraging. I can write myself a note or put something on my phone that helps remind me to encourage them because I’ll tell you how it plays out. You know, one of my girls will say something insulting to one of the other girls and it makes me upset in my body.
I’m just like, oh, that’s so terrible. And so then I want to be critical of them doing that, which is literally the action that I don’t want them to be doing. So instead, I have to at put at the forefront of my mind, oh, we’re working on encouraging the kids and teaching the kids to encourage each other. How are we going to do that? Well, I can reinforce their encouraging behavior and I’ve been catching them doing it. Cuz at first I was like, they never encourage each other, but actually they do. And even just the smallest thing I will say, ah, thank you so much for encouraging your brother right then. That was so great. I am encouraging them. So I just decided. So for me, being a better mom was I wanted to create an environment of encouragement and kindness in our house. And listen, I’m not shooting for a hundred percent, but I know that we could do a lot better than we’ve been doing.
And so I just decided that was one thing I was going to work on, not gonna work on all of the things I just decided for me being a better mom was teaching them this thing and really focusing on it. I don’t know that it’ll take a whole year. So I’m not really giving it a timeline per se. I think it’ll be less than a year. And then I’ll just pick another virtue or attribute that I want to teach the kids about. But I get really clear on, I want to teach them to be more encouraging and more kind to each other. And then I will tell you, it always starts with you doing that for yourself, being more kind and encouraging to the kids and me being more kind and encouraging to myself. We’re gonna get to that one in a little bit. So step one, decide what being a better mom means and make a plan. And again, your brain might go, I don’t know how to do this. Yes you do. You know how to go to the endless internet and find something that will help you accomplish what you want to accomplish. There are lots of books about kindness, there are lots of sibling books, there are programs. I could just Google it and read blog posts about it.
I know that Kendra Tierney often writes about phrases that they use with her kids. I could go look up that she’s like 400 blog posts or something crazy. So make a plan, even if the plan is just to do research to make a plan, right? That might just be step one. So step two, once you’ve made a plan is to put it on your calendar. I think my biggest gripe with goal setting is that they are on a piece of paper and they rarely make it to your calendar. And I don’t know about you, but if it’s not on my calendar, I’m not doing it. And that was true even before I started working from home. If it’s important, it has to be written down somewhere. I have to see it. Otherwise I will just forget about it and it will always fall into the background.
So schedule this thing on your calendar. So for me, it will be scheduling some research time to figure out maybe some good catchphrases, maybe some teachable stories, just any kind of advice or wisdom. And I’ll kind of put that together myself. Then the second step for me will be meeting with my husband and talking about it with him, because I want this to be a family thing, but I wanna do the research ahead of time so he and I can just go over the things and then agree, okay, these are the phrases we’re gonna use. This is, you know, we’re both gonna purpose to encourage them, we’re going to reinforce when they encourage each other. Here’s what that will look like. Okay, so I have to put the research on my calendar. I have to put the plan with my husband on my calendar. And then for me, it’s probably gonna be like a sticky note on my bathroom mirror or something on my phone or something on my computer or in the kitchen, something visual that says encouragement or kindness.
And so put it on your calendar, make a plan and put it on your calendar. The learning part and the doing part. Create a visual sign to anchor you to this goal. Because listen, you are presented with just hundreds of thousands of inputs in your mind every day. It’s not expected that you can buffer, that you can hold all of this in your mind, that you can store it up and remember everything that’s important to you. So the things that are important to us, we have to, to create systems or cues to remember them. Okay? Step number three. And this is no matter what being a better mom means, right? So being a better mom to you might be teaching the kids how to do more chores or creating more organizational systems or decluttering something around house stuff. So mine was about encouraging the kids and teaching them to be more encouraging.
But let’s also just use the example of better house systems decluttering the house chores training, okay? Step number three is work on how you speak to yourself. This is always a step that is required when we are growing into a new version of ourself, a better version of ourself, because your brain is gonna trash talk you, your brain is like a gutter rat who just tells you horrible things about yourself all the time. And so if you want to grow, you have to stop listening to those unintentional thoughts and practice new ones. And I even sometimes engage in unintentional thoughts. So if my brain says something like, you’re really doing a terrible job, I will go, you know what? Thanks sprain. I hear what you’re saying. I know that you’re just trying to keep me down so I don’t do new things that might result in dying, but actually I think I’m doing a pretty good job.
Or I’ll ask my brain, Hey, your opinion is noted. Is there something specific that you think I should be doing better? You know, maybe there’s some truth to the trash talking. It wasn’t kind right? But my sainthood voice can come in and say, Hey, I love you. Of course we wanna be a better mom. How could we practically do that? So working on how you speak to yourself, gone are the days where we are white knuckling it and tough loving ourself to grow. We are not doing that anymore. It doesn’t matter if that came from your parents or from school. We’re not doing that. We are growing from compassion and wanting to honor the Lord with our life. It is amazing that you woke up today. What a gift. You know how I know it’s a gift. You wouldn’t trade waking up for anything else.
And so speak to yourself with compassion. It’s going to feel weird and awkward at first. And when my brain is really spinning and tantruming, I just watch it. I’m like, woo, you got a lot going on there, kid. Anything else? Do you have anything else to say? Like, I’ll just let my brain tantrum, but I’m watching my brain do it so it doesn’t feel like it’s who I am. It’s just unintentional thoughts that are coming. So then I decide what I want to think on purpose and how I wanna speak to myself on purpose. And you guys have heard so many examples of that on this podcast.
Hey, love, what do you need? How can we be a better mom in this next hour? What’s one thing that I could do to make the house run more smoothly? Are the things that are important to us on our calendar, are we honoring that? Is there something I need to ask for help or space? You know, so often as moms, we do everything alone and we don’t ask for any help. You might sit down with your husband and say, do you have some ideas on ways that I could be a better mom this year? It’s a brave question to ask cuz you’ve got to be prepared for what he says. And husbands are mirrors. So he’s going to say things that are challenging, but that is a good thing. Now, it’s not a good thing if he doesn’t say it kindly and it comes out kind of critical and harsh. But you can still listen to the wisdom that’s inside of that.
And you don’t have to ask your husband. You can do step number four in how to be a better mom, which is to spend time with the Lord. He will tell you what to do in a way that’s always step zero. But I put it as step four because I think as action oriented moms, we want to do something. And so I think we wanna start with the plan and put it on the calendar, and then work on how we speak to ourselves. And then just make sure that you keep coming back to the Lord. You keep spending time with him.
If you’re in a challenging season right now, you might not get that quiet time with no kids around. But I want to challenge you even on that. Can you go sit in the car for five minutes? Can you increase the silence in your life? Can you give him a little bit more than you’re giving him now? And then I wanna encourage all of you, when you spend time with the Lord, to do it with some form of paper or ability to capture what you hear. I want you to begin training your mind that God speaks to us and we can hear it and we can write it down. That will change your life.
And so, you know, January is a time when we’re often reflecting on how we want our lives to be better, what we wanna improve. But we usually begin with this kind of sinking feeling of failure and screwing it up. We’re kind of dusting ourselves off and we’re like, all right, let’s try again. . And I do want you to dust yourself off and stand up and say, I want to try again. But I want you to say it with Joan of Arc Energy. I was born to do this. God hand picked me to be a mom. And it is part of my job to sit down and think about how I can be a better mom.
And because of this episode, now I have some steps. I’m gonna sit down and decide what being a better mom means, whether it’s for the next month or three months, or the whole year. I’m gonna put it on my calendar and I’m gonna put visual reminders in places so that I know that this is what I decided was important to me. And then I’m gonna work on how I speak to myself, because my brain, as I try implementing this plan, is going to tell me a bunch of garbage things. And I’m gonna watch those things, but I’m not gonna plant them. And instead, I’m gonna think new things about myself. I’m gonna encourage myself. I’m gonna approach things with self-compassion, and then I’m going to spend more time with the Lord every day. I’m gonna challenge myself there. I’m gonna push myself there. And not only am I gonna pray, but I’m gonna ask God to reveal things to me and I’m gonna write them down.
If you are part of Masters or you want to join Masters, I highly recommend our Holy Spirit program. It is not very long. We have a short teaching on each of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how to ask for them. They’re like superpowers. They’re like souped up vitamins. Why wouldn’t we ask for them? But I’ll tell you why. It’s just because it’s not at the forefront of our mind. We’re not in the habit of doing it. We haven’t trained ourselves to do it. But when we spend more time with the Lord and we ask him for grace and for these gifts, he will give them to you. He will tell you what to do. If you are feeling lost and lonely, go spend time with the Lord and don’t be scared of what he’s going to tell you. It will be comforting. It always is.
So one more time, make a plan. Decide what being a better mom means, and make a plan. Put it on your calendar and create visual cues. Work on speaking more kindly to yourself. You can listen to a podcast episode we have called Inter mean Girl Voice that’ll tell you how to do that. And then spend more time with the Lord. Write down what he says. I wanna be a better mom in 2023. I wanna be committed to always growing and learning and trying things. Not only do I wanna set a good example for my kids, but I also wanna show them that I improved over time so that they see very clearly that, you know, humans don’t have things figured out, but we can grow, we can get better, we can grow in virtue. And ultimately, I think this is our path to sainthood. It’s refining ourselves and getting ready for eternity in heaven. Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. And remember, you were Made for Greatness.