Step by step to the family of your dreams

July 27, 2007|By LISA PREJEAN

Dear Moms and Moms-to-be,

Are you living what you would consider an ideal life? Are you basically happy with where your family is headed? Do you truly enjoy the privilege of being a mother?

If not, what could you do to change your life?

Don't consider an "If only," "I can't," or "It won't happen."

You never know until you try.

The first step to having what you really want in a family, says Amy Kovarick, co-author of "Baby on Board: Becoming a Mother Without Losing Yourself - A Guide for Moms-to-Be," is simple: Dream about it.

"It involves looking inside, asking yourself, 'What do I think? How do I feel?'" Kovarick says, explaining that many moms allow society to take them through the motions of motherhood and don't explore what they truly believe about being a mom.


The process starts with knowing your values.

"Values are the principles, standards and qualities that keep you centered and bring you fulfillment," Kovarick and co-author Joelle Jay write in the book. "Values describe the heart of what life is for you."

Your values might include wellness, joy, peace, self-control, compassion. Or maybe the values most important to you are creativity, power, choice, security.

Once you have clarified your values, you can use those values to guide your daily actions and decisions. It becomes easier to streamline your life if you have decided ahead of time what is important and where you should place your energy.

The next step is defining your beliefs, based on what you value.

Here are three possible beliefs on the same topic that a new mom will have to consider:

1. Mothers should put their babies on a schedule from day one.

2. Mothers should gradually introduce their babies to a routine.

3. Mothers should let their babies find their own routine.

"Once you realize that the ideas most people present to you are beliefs, not facts, you are free to choose your own beliefs based on the facts and your own way of thinking," the authors write.

After values and beliefs are in place, set your intentions. What if someone questions the way you are raising your kids? How will you respond? Deciding ahead of time will save you frustration.

(Believe me, no matter how you've decided to raise your kids, someone will be more than willing to criticize, question and try to make you feel inadequate. If you are standing by your values and beliefs, don't allow someone else to second-guess you. These are your children. Not theirs.)

The next step, Kovarick says, is setting your priorities.

What is most important to you? What could you not live without? Those are the areas where you need to place your focus.

"People do this in business all the time, but we don't do it with our own life," Kovarick says. She adds that this can be your own personal plan. "The beauty of it is that it is different for every woman."

Once you have established your priorities, you can model your time, money and space. Obstacles of time, money, commitments or room may surface. How will you find solutions to those obstacles?

After laying the groundwork, you will be ready to take action on the decisions you've made. Think of your first action as a baby step, Kovarick suggests. Don't try to take on too much too soon.

Once you've taken an action, no matter how small, celebrate it. Pat yourself on the back for getting started toward creating the family life you truly desire.

Moms need to feel good about the changes they are making, Kovarick says.

"They are capable of so much," she said, "and it doesn't have to be as hard as it so often is."

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