If you were asked to describe an extraordinary mom, what words would you use? Patient, devoted, intentional, energetic, creative, authentic, fun…the list could go on and on.
I’d bet that the list wouldn’t include words and phrases like: flustered, hanging on to sanity by her fingernails, trying and sometimes succeeding, pretty average and utterly exhausted.
Source : <a title=”Busy Working Mom PNG” href=”http://pluspng.com/busy-working-mom-png-9571.html”>Busy Working Mom PNG</a>
Next question: Which words would you use to describe yourself?
If you’re like me, 99% of the time I would be perfectly portrayed by the second description, and for good reason. Not to disparage myself too greatly. For 10 or 15 minutes a
day week month I am totally extraordinary. Usually, though, I feel like I’m one stomach flu away from the loony bin.
A cautionary tale
Take this month as a random example. The month began with one of my children swallowing a battery. I can’t be specific about which child this was. He/she has now joined the witness protection program. Suffice it to say that they are older than 6 and younger than 42. Do you happen to know the ramifications of a human being swallowing a small watch battery? I didn’t before this incident. But now I do….boy do I ever!
Events really started moving AFTER the gulp, when a helpful older sibling told this child that they WOULD DIE as a result of their choice of “snack”. That empathetic comment led to hysteria on the part of the dying child. By the time I got on the scene he had practically written his own obituary.
Next came a call to poison control and clear instruction to get to the ER for an x-ray. Fun fact: if a battery gets stuck in an esophagus it will burn right through. It’s a cautionary tale. So I took the hysterical child to the ER and sure enough…poison control didn’t exaggerate.
After confirmation that the battery had made it to the stomach (the desired outcome) I was instructed to monitor the progress of said battery. You may well ask “How do you monitor such a thing?” Let’s just say that it would have been easier if the child were still in diapers. SO MUCH EASIER. Enough said?
How did a nice girl like me get into a situation like this?
I’m suddenly that mother….again!
Ha! I think not.
More like barely passable.
Enter Jessica Dahlquist
Well, according to Jessica Dahlquist of the “Extraordinary Moms” and “Everyday Extraordinary” podcasts, all moms are extraordinary…even me. She says that “We need to take on the badge of extraordinary because of what we’ve signed up for in the first place.” Motherhood is not for the faint of heart and should be celebrated in all of its x-ray-needing, potty training, baby giggling glory!
Jessica has been on a mission to help moms see their greatness. She, like us, believes that moms are doing better than they think. She believes that “Every person has a story, and (she) loves helping them identify the value they are making in the world.”
Through hundreds of interviews on her podcast, Jessica has identified four traits that extraordinary moms have in common.
#1. Extraordinary moms try to be more intentional and self aware in motherhood.
Taking time to reflect on the things we have learned in our parenting lends itself to becoming more intentional in the mothering choices that we make going forward. Too often we run and act without thinking. Reflection allows us to draw conclusions about what works with each child and what doesn’t.
Moms who take time to reflect ask themselves questions like:
What’s the best way to communicate with my kids?
What is the best strategy for getting through this challenging season?
And then they put forth the effort to intentionally implement the ideas they come up with, instead of just living by default, which yields far better outcomes.
In other words, if as mothers we
- identify a pattern of behavior, in ourselves or our children, that we would like to end (such as yelling)
- equip ourselves with new tools to fix the problem (such as deep breathing)
- Then implement what we have learned (breathe deeply until you pass out), rather than just continuing to yell and feeling guilty about it
- We will actually change the behavior and the outcome
So here’s the million dollar question: HOW do we find the energy to reflect and be intentional when we barely have the energy to feed ourselves? It’s a valid question and one that Jessica answers brilliantly in our conversation. I’ll give you a hint: It doesn’t involve MORE energy! (cue emphatic sighs of relief).
To hear our interview with Ralphie Jacobs, another extraordinarily intentional/reflective mother and the genius behind @simplyonpurpose, listen here:
#2. Extraordinary moms are not victims to their circumstances.
Tell me I’m not alone in thinking that the children are having secret meetings and plotting my demise?!? Really. Please tell me that I’m not alone….
Too often we feel like we are riders on a roller-coaster, completely at the mercy of our ride. Jessica says that when moms are able to truly believe that life is not just happening TO them, but that they actually have the choice how to react, respond, and live, they are able to use life’s experiences as fuel to go forward.
YES! DRIVE THAT ROLLER COASTER!
Each challenge equips us for the next and helps us to gain knowledge to help ourselves and others (including our kids) in the future.
If feeling like a victim is problematic for you like it is for me, here are a couple of resources that could help:
In Episode 4, Molly Claire taught me a principle that really did transform the way I viewed “The Mom Martyr”.
To listen, click here:
And, in a recent episode, Tracey Eyster discussed “7 Mom Traps” that steal our joy. Hint: One of the traps rhymes with “tartar”. I could listen to this interview again and again and never be bored!
To listen, click here:
#3. Extraordinary moms sets reasonable expectations.
When we expect that we are going to “rock this gig”, that our child is going to behave like the parenting book said they would, or that they will always have clean faces and combed hair, we are setting ourselves up for frustration and disappointment.
As we set reasonable expectations, as extraordinary moms, we feel calmer. Our “To-Do” list reflects tasks that really matter because we are not focusing on every topic imaginable. Releasing ourselves from the burden of doing it all and doing it all to the highest level possible gives us FREEDOM!
#4. Extraordinary moms stay in their own lane. Stop comparing!
Women! Why is this our burden?!? Burden is really the only word that describes the result of this behavior. When we compare ourselves to others we always end up feeling depressed and worthless.
Remember: If you are living your life according to your values (not societal or Vogue Magazine values) you can feel really good at the end of the day! Feeling good is one positive consequence of being extraordinary moms.
I absolutely love the TV show “The Middle”. It’s a sitcom about an average family in the midwest. IMO it is BRILLIANT. One reason I love it is because it is just so REAL (not to mention hilarious)! Late wakeups, imperfect children, a messy house and a slightly crazed mom. There is a line in one of the episodes that I repeat to myself SO OFTEN! In the chaos of my life (and I would guess, at times, in yours too) it is just so applicable. The line is spoken by the mom (Frankie) at the end of a particularly dicey day as she describes her family. She says “Alone, we would die; but together, we’re barely functional.” Amen Frankie. The Ward family hears you! And do you know what? Sometimes barely functional is quite extraordinary!
Keep being extraordinary moms!
Your friend in the mess,
Mom Squad Challenge:
Pick one thing you want to be intentional about. Make a proactive plan to go after that.
To learn more about Jessica Dahlquist:
Visit Jessica’s website at https://extraordinarymomspodcast.com/
To listen to Jessica’s podcasts you can find them here: