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Personalizing Your Values
Of course, every woman is different, and so are her values. We encourage you to experiment with your values and make up words that suit you best. You can even put words together to describe your own unique view of life.
For instance, we know one mother who has a value she calls “wide margins” – an image that reminds her to schedule her time very loosely so that she can be spontaneous and flexible, no matter what day might bring. Another mom we know made up a value called “bees and honey” that helps her remember to create, cherish, and harvest sweetness of life. There are no rules about how your values should look or sound; what matters is that they speak to you about what’s most important in your life.
Understanding Your Values
To really make your values a part of your life, it’s important to think about what each one means to you. How does each value show up in your life? The value of “spirituality” may mean going to church for one person, spending time in meditation for another, and walking in woods for another. You and your best friend might both have a value around “family,” but one of you might mean spending quiet time at home while other means creating boisterous, house-filling reunions. Taking time to connect to what your values mean to you makes them yours instead of just a list of words.
Living Your Values
With a new, clearer sense of your values, you make it possible to live according to what really matters to you. Try on your values for size. Live your life from a new point of view. How would your approach to motherhood change if you always lived according to your values? What would be harder? What would be easier? What new decisions would you make? Experiment with your values for a few weeks. See what new insights they bring you. We call this living your values, and it’s one of most powerful things you can do to find balance in motherhood.
When you become a mother, it’s important to be ready for some changes. Although specific things that are important to you may change after your baby is born, your values endure. As your life, your schedule, your habits, and your relationships change, you can align them with your values in new ways that suit your new life without shaking core of who you really are. Your values allow you to keep your identity and maintain what is intrinsic to your happiness, despite all of changes life (and especially motherhood) can bring. And that’s one solid foundation for motherhood.
Dr. Joelle Jay and Amy Kovarick are professional coaches, speakers and authors. Through their company, Oh, Baby! MotherhoodTM, they guide women in becoming mothers without losing themselves. Visit them at www.ohbabymotherhood.com.