Surviving Miserable Afternoons in Rhode Island by Sara G.
Here’s another wonderful response I just received to my post Improving My Miserable Afternoons from one of my most long-time JewishMOM.com readers, Sara G. from Providence.
When I was about to give birth to my 4th child, Penina (I have 5 children now, BH), I made little chizuk cards on stock paper to encourage myself through the birth.
I wrote the words in dark black permanent marker because I wanted the messages to really go into my brain, despite the labor pains coming on stronger and stronger.
I planned that during labor, I would flip through the cards and find one that spoke to me. “Ain od milvado” [there is nothing besides Him] spoke to me the most back then. It reminded me that there is only Hashem and nothing else in the world has any power. Whatever was happening was all about Him and me.
However, right before the actual birth, when nothing else was working, I suddenly stopped on the card: “Hashem is kinder than the kindest person in the world” and that one made me cry and cry.
This baby came after many miscarriages and when I saw that card, it reminded me where I was, about to meet my live, healthy child after so many tefillos and pain and I couldn’t stop crying.
After Penina was born, I don’t know how it happened, but I started using those cards to help me just cope with day-to-day motherhood. I started picking out one for each week.
I find that if I have a motto in my head for too long, it starts losing its power. It needs to be something new and exciting. So every week I pick out a new card and display it on my dresser where I will see it.
One of my children has really connected with these mottos too, since they help her cope with anxiety, so I started also writing the weekly motto on a new whiteboard which we bought for our kitchen. Every week I write it for the family to see, so they can internalize it too.
I’ve been reading “Serenity” by Rabbi Pliskin. He writes how our minds can be trained to stop thinking negatively and switch our thoughts to thinking positively. The more we do it, the more our minds can make that switch.
I think by doing this motto thing for so long, I have trained my mind that the moment something negative comes into it, I switch to something positive.
If we stop and listen to ourselves, we will hear how much negative we tell ourselves all the time. “I am stressed out!” or “I am so tired!”
I’ve been learning to switch my negativity off and accept more.
How do I come up with my personal stash of mottos?
When I hear something that really speaks to me and brings me comfort, I write it down with a black permanent marker on a small piece of card stock. These are my personal chizuk cards.
Here’s an example: I have a friend who sends “Good Night” text messages to all of her phone contacts. One night my baby woke up and he was sick and couldn’t breathe well. That was really scary. Right when he woke up, my friend’s text came in. It said, “Good night. Hashem runs the world. Let Him.” And that thought is what saved my mind that night.
Through calling the nurse line and trying to nurse my son and putting him in the hot steamy bathroom with the shower running, I kept that line in my head. “Hashem runs the world, let Him.” It was so freeing. I was able to talk to Hashem and relax, without freaking out. That line became one of my cards.
Here are a few others:
*C.A.T. – CALM. ACCEPT. TRUST.
*Hashem KNOWS me. (i.e. He knows exactly what I’m going through and what I know or like or hate and He is putting me through this moment right now. He KNOWS me. and It’s okay because this is from Him and He’s helping me through it).
*MAKE it a good one. (as in – I don’t want to be washing dishes now, but “MAKE it a good dish-washing!” I have to do it anyway so I will do something to make it good, like call a friend or turn on my favorite speaker.)
*I may be tired/stressed/overwhelmed but this is exactly where I want to be (i.e., with my family, with this amount of children, in this life…)
* Hashem loves me.
Sara would be happy to volunteer as a mentor for other JewishMOMs in creating their own inspiring mottos. You can contact her through JewishMOM.com.