53. Change your motherhood experience by changing how you make memories

Think back on this past week, what kind of memories do you have from your motherhood experience?

I recently listened to Meik Wiking talk about the Art of Making Memories and it got me thinking about how we treat our memories and how they can impact our motherhood experience in positive or negative ways. 


Full transcript at the bottom of this post. 


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When did I stop enjoying my kids (podcast episode) (blog post)

Life on Purpose Workbook

The Perfect Moments Project

Posts on hygge

The Art of Making Memories

Meik Wiking on the Ultimate Health Podcast Episode 330

How we view ourselves

Mom Martyr

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change your motherhood experience by changing how you make memories


Episode Transcript

Welcome to the simple on purpose podcast. This is your weekly podcast where I remind you that you have enough who are not that you do enough to just show up for the life you have and just enjoy the life before you.

For those of you who are new here, welcome. I am a mom of three living in small town Canada. I am a minimalist, a life coach. And I’ve been writing at simple on purpose.ca for a number of years now, talking all about simplifying your home and simplifying your life and showing up for your life.

As many of you have experienced, it’s just been a weird week, hasn’t it? Like, we are also at Spring Break here. So the kids are home, we are doing renovations. So my office is kind of spread out throughout the house. I’m recording in my bedroom right now with some different equipment. And we’re all kind of watching to see what happens with the Coronavirus and watching the news, watching the world around us and staying home.

And for some of us like our family. Staying home comes naturally. We do it often, we live really simply. But for some that can feel really uncomfortable. You want to get out there you want to do stuff that’s kind of the way you’ve lived. So if this is the opposite, I can really appreciate how panicky that must feel and how stressful that must feel. And I don’t want to turn this podcast episode into another narration on how we’re dealing with it and how the world should deal with it. Because we’re hearing enough of that. What I really want to talk about today is memories, making memories and the kind of memories that we’re making in motherhood. And I think it still fits with the changes that we’re going through and the way that we have to show up right now in these difficult days that we have this unique experience that will be a memory at the end, it will be something we look back on and remember, and how do we want to remember that.

So as many of us moms know, we have had seasons of parenting that have been hard and maybe even painful. Like I can think about just being at home with three kids under four and the hard days, the stressful days managing babies and toddlers, and maybe going on a road trip and being emotionally scarred for life by that. And now that the kids are older, they’re five, seven, and my oldest just turned nine.

There are still days where I am just so overwhelmed. Like they’re fighting with one another. There’s always toothpaste in the sink, always like what kind of people are we raising. And for some reason, out of all the Winter Gloves we bought this year, and we bought many, there’s only the right hand the left, I’ve set up a box of right hand gloves, and touques. This is life though.

But throughout my parenting years, there has just been this theme of stress and the continual presence of stress over these years, they’ve really cemented my beliefs over time that I wasn’t a good mom or my kids are too challenging. Or maybe I should just take up smoking and then get some stress relief. Like I wish I was joking about that last one. But it crossed my mind sometimes that maybe that’s a viable option for me to just chill out. Like I was just running out of options, my toolbox felt really empty. I didn’t take up smoking by the way.

But I shared a couple of years ago that I had this realization when we were doing the life on purpose workbook, two January’s ago, that I just didn’t really enjoy my kids –  like I love them, but I wasn’t like enjoying them actively enjoying them. So I put myself on a journey that year to actively enjoy my kids in a link that post in the show notes. But it taught me so much. And it has especially taught me that I don’t want this negative story of motherhood trailing behind me.

Because as a mom, I want to keep seeking those perfect little moments in every day. I want to really focus on things that are amazing and available to me, even if they come amongst all of the hard and challenging things. I want my story of motherhood to be built up one positive memory after another. So that when I am at the end of my hands-on parenting, the kids are moving out, they’re going off into the world that I’m left with this tapestry behind me of inside jokes and adorable moments and simple ways that we found connection and contentment amongst all of this chaos in general mania, of being a family of five.

So I recently listened to a podcast interview with Meik Wiking. And he had written the little book of Hygge hat I really really liked. And he was talking about his new book The Art of making memories and memories. When I hear those that word come up, I pay attention because over the years I watched how fickle memories can be. In life coach training and in my coaching we learn how our memories can evolve and how they can be shifted. Through comparing memories like with my siblings, I realize how we can have different versions of this memory because obviously, I correctly remember who ripped up the comic book in the backyard, it was not me. And also, I just watched how my mom with dementia, how her memories are shifting and the tales of her past are slowly being stolen away.

Memories are fascinating to me. And really, what’s fascinating is that memories aren’t facts. Memories are a story that we tell ourselves about an event. And science has shown that every time we recall a memory, we recall the latest version of the story. So over time, our memories, the stories we tell ourselves, they actually shift.

And they say that we have the most memory around events that carry a big emotional weight for them. So what’s meaningful is that especially in motherhood, the memories that I have the emotion associated with the event of who I was showing up as of how other people acted about how about what everything meant.

So if I have a negative experience and a negative memory about it, I will feel negatively about the event versus if I have positive experience positive memories, I will look back on that event with fondness. All this adds up into the little stories, we’re compiling into one big tale, an emotional theme of our motherhood experience.

And you can probably just look back in the past week, to the experiences you had mothering. And ones that carried negative sentiments, and maybe ones that carried positive sentiments. And for me, if I think about maybe a negative weekend where I was home with the kids, and we were dealing with doing chores, and they were going through a lot of emotional things. And I was trying to coach them through that. And they were getting in each other’s spaces and areas.

As a whole, perhaps every situation in the day wasn’t bad. But as a whole, because of that emotional charge, I’m remembering the negative and feeling like that was a negative experience overall. And when we feel negative about our past, we will bring that negative emotion into our future. So I have had negative weekends being home alone with my kids and my husband’s at work, I’m going to play that out in the future.

And I’ll kind of break it down for you in terms of how that happens.

So when we experience something, we form an assumption around what it all means. So I experienced maybe a negative weekend with my kids, I label it good or bad. And our experience are our memories, right? So we have an experience, it becomes a memory because it’s in the past now. And we make an assumption based off that experience.

But when this happens maybe more than once or when our assumption starts to show up in other areas, maybe we’re assuming something about ourselves or others from the experience we had, that cements itself into a belief and these beliefs, their subconscious, they’re kind of underlying, maybe they bubble up to the surface. But we have these beliefs now. And maybe it’s a belief like, we just aren’t that good at life or we aren’t that good at motherhood, we start to shift how we view ourselves, we shift how we view others in life, we start to believe things about how our husband helps or doesn’t help how our kids act out how harder life is and so on.

And these beliefs, these thoughts going on in our head, they trigger feelings in us, we might start to feel depressed or ashamed or just generally frustrated with our lives and the people in it. And we are motivated by our feelings, we act from our feelings, we act from this place of emotion. So we start acting this out, we might even start to just wake up. And that morning, we are already feeling stressed because we are expecting the worse, we might start to judge the people around us or condemn others or shut ourselves off from seeing the best in them, we start acting out from this place.

And all of this leads to the outcome of more negative memories, and more negative narration in our life, more negative experiences, more negative assumptions, more negative beliefs.

But if we can reframe our experiences in the first place, we can challenge the assumptions and change the narrative.

And we do this by acknowledging the hard we’re not just going to act like life is perfect and ignore everything that’s difficult. We’re going to acknowledge the heart and accept it. But also pay attention to the positives and highlight those.

So if we’re doing that we need to pay attention to how we are recalling our memories and how we are treating our memories and how we’re documenting our memories. Over the years I’ve been someone who journals things and like even looking back on my high school diaries, like I need to have an intervention with teenage Shawna, someone get me a time machine so I can go talk to her because she had some issues. probably still has issues. They’re still popping up. It’s all good.

But I love to look back on these stories I’ve kept and maybe I’ll write something cool that happened with Connor and I or a meaningful conversation I had with someone I love like I’ve documented conversations I’ve had with my grandparents. I’ve documented things like lessons I’ve learned in a prayer journal, like they were hard, but they were very, very necessary. And just giving these things a place to live, it helps me to just come back to the source and remember it more accurately. It just helps me remember it period, right? Like, especially if things are feeling like I’m fighting with my husband, or I’m losing touch with something, I go back, and I read these things, I get back into touch with it.

So I have this backlog of things to look on. But then I think about my mothering experience, and I’ve been working really hard on showing up for my life on enjoying my life and enjoying motherhood, and being really intentional with it, and seeking out the perfect moments hiding in every day. But what do I do with all that, I need to give it a home, I need to stop and mark these things I want to remember, because the sad part is I don’t always remember them.

You know, the stress and the tension and the discomfort, it often overshadows those special tiny little moments, those little memories that we have. It’s like a loud, obnoxious one man band, upstaging the beautiful quartet of violence. And this one man band, upstaging these lovely little moments that we have this is normal, we remember the negative, because our brains store information that will help us stay safe. This is a job of our brain. And our brain has three jobs to avoid pain, to seek pleasure and to be efficient. So when we want to consider avoiding pain, our brain is going to remember a negative experience. So that we can prevent doing it in the future, it needs to log that in file that under do not do again.

On the flip side, when we can be really proactive about keeping positive memories in the forefront, they can have intense effects on our mental well being there’s studies that show when you recall a positive experience of just like joy and love in your life and how it felt and how it smelt and how the smiles on people’s faces. All the little details, we feel good. And our brain releases these joyful hormones.

So I know I’ve kind of mentioned already in another podcast episode, that I am really focusing this year on documenting my memories, I think I even shared a few special little memories that I started to write down, I got myself a special journal, because I also just really love by journals. And I am using this just for a year of great memories. And I want to have this place to return to like on really hard parenting days, I’m going to pull this out. And I want to remember the inside jokes that me and my son just made up when we went for a walk just the two of us, or the cute words my kids are saying, or the way that my son was karate chopping the ice today when we went for a big family walk because he’s just a general maniac, audience or not, that’s who he is.

I want to do all of this so that I can start to live out from this positivity from a history of positive experiences. I want to remember my kids in a positive way. So as they grow to the next stage in the next I can look at them and assume positivity assume the best. And I want to remember my own self in my mothering in a positive way. So that I can live out from a place of we are doing it, we are making great memories, I may not be perfect, but I’m not a crappy mom, like the narrative that I had, for so many of the early years of motherhood. Because I want to have this identity of positivity and carry on with hope that even when it is hard, it can still be really, really good.

So this is my encouragement to you guys today. And over these next few weeks, where things feel hard to document the positive, the little memories, the little things your kids say the little ways people have shown up and give that a place to live. So you can start to have a history of positive experiences, where you’re assuming positive things, and you create beliefs that are positive and you act out from those beliefs.

As I mentioned, I do have a group coaching program that I started with a beta group this month. And the topic we’ve been covering is hard things. And I’ve been really interested to hear on our group calls the takeaways that women are having from this topic. And so many of them are saying that the way they view the hard things in their life have really shifted how they view themselves. Like when things are hard, we get a really negative self-identity. And that changes how we show up all together for ourselves and our family. And they found a lot of freedom and accepting when things are hard. And they’ve also found so much awareness in how they are making hard things even harder for themselves. So I’ve been really excited to watch those women kind of find freedom and passion and more awareness and purpose for how they want to move forward in their lives and show up on purpose. So a few of you have asked me for information on this program and the way that it works is there are two lessons in the month. They are two audio lessons lesson about 10 minutes each and a worksheet with each lesson. And we have about two to four calls depending on people’s availability, where we come on and we can discuss these things and get some coaching. Each month, we pick a topic and the topic is all related to showing up for your life on purpose. This and following month in April, we’ll be going over stress and overwhelm and motherhood. But that’s just the logistics of it.

The transformation that I’m seeing in these women is that they are getting consistent support, consistent guidance, consistent teaching consistent community, and that is helping them put what they’re learning into actual practice in their lives. If you want information about this life coaching program, if you think that you want life coaching with me, but maybe you want to start with a group setting, it’s more feasible, it’s more ongoing, then check out the life on purpose academy.ca and you can read more about it there. You can also just email me and let me know if you have any questions or issues or comments about it.

As always, I really enjoy sharing simple Saturdays with you guys. Make sure to sign up for the email newsletter as well. There’s a lot more bonus info that comes out in that newsletter. It’s bi-weekly so it’s not too overwhelming. I try to keep it super simple. And if you like this podcast, share it with a friend Sharing is caring. It is how this podcast can reach other people and other people can learn about it and find some more simple on purpose in there. Alright guys have a great week.



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