Week 3 Reflection
Embodying Your Values in Motherhood
I recently listened to a podcast, "Raising Good Humans" by Dr. Aliza Pressman, where she dialogues with Dr. Samantha Broadman on the subject of "Every Day Vitality", through the lens of parenting. Near the end of the conversation, they mention a reflective exercise where in essence they ask: What do you value? Now how do you spend your Saturdays?
The reflective questions they offer went something like this:
What three words would you hope that your child/partner/best friend would use to describe you?
What do you do, every single day, that would elicit the description of those adjectives?
What three words do you actually think they would use to describe you?
How are you going to try and close that gap (intention vs. action)?
I found this set of questions compelling, especially as I consider motherhood and the many roles we play within it. Since I heard this audio, I have been pondering how to "close the gap" between intention and action, and try to look a little more clearly and objectively at how I actually live out my values.
They also briefly touch on the idea of happiness and fulfillment in life as part of our vitality. What does it mean to be happy, anyway? Dr. Broadman suggests that often in Western thought, we think that happiness has to do with what is in our mind and how we frame life. But actually, our actions - what we actually live out and do - has so much more to do with how we feel. I found this an interesting thought when considering values, embodiment and finding fulfillment in whatever season of life & motherhood we might find ourselves in.
It reminded me of the following quote I came across this week (author unknown):
Of course, it isn't as simple as just what we think and just what we do - the two are enmeshed. What might be clear, however, is that at times it takes intention for the two to be aligned; for what you say is most important to you to actually be reflected in the ways you move through the world each and every day.
Questions for Reflection & Discussion
As you reflect on the following questions, please keep in mind that there are no right answers. Perhaps you just want to pick one question and reflect on it for the week or maybe you want to spend time on each one, do what feels right for you (and what you can fit in!)
What resonated, caught your attention, made you want to dig deeper or left you feeling conflicted about the above reflection?
What parts of motherhood (or life in general) makes you most happy when you think about it?
What are currently the hardest parts of motherhood? Is there something that feels conflicting or dissonant about the "why" behind this?
In transitioning into motherhood, have you found it easier or more difficult to live out your values than before you held this role? How so?
How would you answer the questions presented by Dr. Broadman in the reflection above about values and the way you embody them?
What are the top three values you hope to instill in your child and see yourself and your family embody?
These are optional prompts you may choose to engage with or not. While we won't center our conversation on these responses, the process of journaling/engaging in a practice can be a helpful tool for deeper self-reflection.
JOURNALING PROMPT: Listing Values. Take a few moments to list as many words that come to mind which reflect your values, the way you want to live in the world, who and what you want to be about. Don't overthink it, just write a list and when you run out of words, stop. Take a second look at the list and circle 3 - 5 words that stand out. Now, take a moment to summarize what these words might look like in your life. Ask yourself: How do I already embody these values? What small change can I make this week to live out at least one of these values? Perhaps even engage in a conversation with your spouse and/or children (if old enough), about the ways you want to live out shared values as a family.