Dannielle Illingworth

Dannielle Illingworth

Something I’ve really learnt over the past (almost!) two years as a mother, is that my mindset really dictates so much of how each day plays out.  I can easily get stuck in a mindset of “this is so hard, I need a break” or “the dishes/washing/tidying is never ending”.  And when I’m stuck in those thought patterns, the day feels like a struggle to get through.

As a parent, mundane tasks and chores are pretty much unavoidable.  So something I’ve been playing with is switching my mindset around the less-fun parts of life, and trying to find some sort of fun in them.

Let’s use dishes as an example.  I can choose to focus on the never-ending pile of dishes each day, I can choose to think things like “why is it always me doing the dishes” and “I hate doing dishes!”.  Or, I can choose to have more positive thoughts about the task I need to do.  Because either way, no matter what thoughts are running through my mind, the dishes need to get done.  So I try to make simple shifts to make the dishes a more enjoyable task.  Things like:

  • Putting on music or a podcast to listen to while I do the dishes
  • Focusing on deep breathing and trying to relax my mind while I do the dishes
  • Being grateful for the meal we just ate, for our full bellies, for the dishwasher that does so much of the work for me

I know some of these things sound corny or silly, but I often remind myself:

Whether I think positively or negatively about this task, it still needs to get done.

Have you ever noticed that when you dread a task, when you tell yourself you hate doing something, that it will always feel hard to do that particular thing?

Have you ever noticed that the more you procrastinate on a task, no matter how simple the task is, your willingness to do the thing becomes less and less?

I used to often find myself with a pile of dishes in the sink, and I would avoid them for as long as possible!  And I would dread the seemingly huge task of doing them, until we had no plates left and I had no choice.  So I would put on some good tunes, bop around the kitchen doing the dishes, and afterwards wonder why I made such a huge deal about avoiding them for so long.

If you can relate to any of the above, and you’re wanting to find a more positive mindset in parenting, the first step is recognising where your mindset is at right now.

Do you dread simple tasks and chores?

Do you tell yourself that you ‘hate’ certain parts of parenthood or adulthood?

Do you make things harder for yourself by focusing on how hard they are?

You can enjoy hanging out the washing when you choose to appreciate the sunshine outside.

You can enjoy folding the washing when you do it in front of the tv at night.

You can enjoy cooking dinner for your family when you cook your favourite meal, or when you put music on while you cook, or when you choose to feel gratitude for the healthy, fresh food you are lucky enough have access to.

You can enjoy playing with your kids when you remember how fleeting time is, and that they won’t be this little forever.

You can enjoy cleaning the floors when you focus on the end goal, of how satisfied you’ll feel with sparkly clean floors.

You can enjoy laying with your child as they fall asleep when you focus on how loved, safe and supported they feel in your presence.

There are so many simple shifts you can make in your thoughts to shift your mindset to a more positive one.  And in doing so, you will have a more positive experience in parenthood.

This is not to say that things can never feel hard – because they do, and they will.  You can acknowledge that something is hard – i.e. “I am exhausted and I really wish they would go to sleep” and follow that up a positive approach, i.e. “but I am choosing to feel grateful for this quiet time with my child”.

Yes, parenting can feel hard some days.  Maybe there are hard parts in every day.  But there are also really great parts, fun parts, positive parts – and when you can shift your thoughts to focus slightly more on the positive, everything will feel just a little bit easier.