I’m a big fan of Ted Talks.
One particular Ted Talk that is striking to me is Amy Cuddy’s talk on body language. Her premise is that our minds affect the way we carry ourselves — but the ways we carry ourselves also affect the ways we think about ourselves. She postulates that “power posing” for two minutes — stretching out, opening up (i.e., the Superman pose) — raises your testosterone levels (dominance hormone) and decreases your cortisol (stress hormones). She reports that power posing led her research subjects to become more confident, more optimistic, able to think more abstractly, more willing to try something new, and more capable of bearing up under stressful evaluation (i.e., my 3-year-old’s “opinions” of me at naptime).
This got me thinking — I wonder if there’s a power pose equivalent for moms?
Sure, we’re good at talking ourselves up to other moms. We’re good at pretending we have everything together and know all the answers. But have an honest conversation with almost any mama, and she’ll readily confess that it’s mostly smoke and mirrors. Most of us wrestle often with whether we’re good moms. We stress all the time about whether we’re providing the right opportunities, disciplining in the right ways, communicating love well, and avoiding the errors of our own childhoods.
So I wondered if there was a pose that would decrease our stress levels and increase our confidence levels?
I conducted an informal poll of my friends for moments when they felt (authentically) like an amazing mom. And then I’ve taken some liberties and extrapolated poses from those moments that might help you harness the confidence of mommy “power”!
This one is from the multitasking mama. She’s feeding her newborn while entertaining her toddler and getting dinner ready — and she even catches the falling milk cup before it spills. To channel this powerful mama, think open and big, spread your fingers out and your arms and legs in four different directions. Feel free to throw some squats in there, because Octopus mama also somehow finds time to work out. Hold for two minutes and remember you have superpowers, mama!
For this pose, lie on your back with your legs up — metaphorically — in the stirrups, pushing against the wall. Take a deep breath, and raise your arms to the sky. (This is also helpful for catching the toddler who is sure to jump on you!) This mama remembers that she pushed her babies out of that teeny tiny hole (or had major surgery) and therefore can do anything. If you need to, use the two minutes in this pose to scream a little bit, or, if you can, take a little nap. Both were helpful then, and both are helpful now.
We spend so much time teaching our children how to be decent human beings. This mama is watching her child — on his own — rock something she taught him. She knows her child has gotten it, for real, and not just because she’s silently reminding him! For this mommy power pose, find a good wall. Now, pretend you are a ninja — blend in with the wall. Remember those moments when you’ve heard or seen your children doing good things *on their own* — and breathe as quietly as you can for two minutes.
This one is a yoga-like pose. Settle into a comfortable chair, and then open your arms wide. Remember those moments when you were the only comfort your child needed. Fix your face in a comforting smile, and hold that embrace for two minutes. Channel your empathy by thinking about those sweet moments and snuggles.
This mama has to stand tall, straight-backed, and not embarrassed. For two minutes, walk confidently around your room, even if you don’t feel confident. Breathe deeply and swing your arms. This mama has been through some really hard seasons. She’s standing tall and large because she knows her kids, and she is prepared to fight for them in meaningful ways. She knows they need a warrior. Find your warrior pose and hold for two minutes. Remember the battles you’ve fought, and celebrate the ways you know your children’s needs so well now.
Try a few of these power poses out for two minutes, and let me know what you think! But if that doesn’t work, take a moment and remind yourself of the moments when you have felt like an amazing mom. Remember that feeling, and repeat to yourself, “I am the right mom for this job.”
It’s not about what anyone else says (toddlers and teenagers included) — it’s about remembering that you are the mom your kids need.
*While Amy Cuddy’s power pose research is scientific, mine is merely for encouragement and is not scientific in any way!