Are you a mother questioning her own purpose beyond this hat of motherhood?
Are you wondering how to work through that question while also being the best mom you can be?
New agreements need to be made.
Enter The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. This book became my guide on how to do life—a field guide if you will. Heck, the tagline is, “A practical guide to personal freedom!” Personal freedom and identity were what I was seeking since I felt that my role had been reduced to the vessel that brought my daughter into this world.
Reading this book was nothing short of multiple light bulb moments and connections to my inner world via the real life examples Ruiz provided. I want to highlight a few of the agreements mentioned in the book, and how I use them to shape all of my roles, but especially motherhood.
The first agreement, “Be impeccable with your word,” is the cornerstone to all of our actions and reactions as a mom.
Ruiz explains “impeccable” as not going against yourself. So being impeccable with your word is to not go against yourself and your words.
If you are like me, you’ve chosen to raise your children by leading by example. If I say I’m going to do or not do something, I need to follow through to stay impeccable with my word.
I also recognize that my words become the stories and inner dialogue of my daughter. This helps me to keep my word impeccable because I want to prevent my words from stifling my daughter’s creative self-expression. I know this is important because I’ve been in my daughter’s shoes.
I stopped drawing, singing, and writing creatively, and it was not because I was a mom without time to do so. It was because somewhere in my past, I was advised that my art in any of those forms was not good enough. A comment by someone I looked up to or thought was an authority on the subject stuck with me. This became my agreement until I was able to create a new agreement which, ironically, was about the time I read this book.
So, being impeccable with our word is not just internal but also external, and it really is the agreement we have the most control over. It wields the most power and sets up the remaining agreements.
The second agreement is definitely made for us mommas: “Don’t take things personally.”
As mommas, we get the tantrums and words that the children spew because they are unable to express all the feelings that are going on in their ever-changing and growing little bodies. Because of this, I find this agreement challenging. Since I am responsible for the care and well-being of my daughter, it does get personal, and I need to refer back to this agreement.
This agreement is also helpful when we discuss different parenting styles and techniques among other moms. For a while, I was able to practice this agreement frequently as many thought it was a good idea to share how I needed to have another child so my daughter could have a sibling. We tried, and quite frankly, were lucky to have this one child. But that’s for another blog post because I think I’m still working on not taking the fertility challenges personally.
The third agreement, “Don’t make assumptions,” is fairly self-explanatory.
I will simply share that this agreement supports my efforts to not take things personally and to stay impeccable with my word.
The fourth agreement, “Always do your best,” is critical to remember. The pages are really worn in this chapter because I reference it so much!
This agreement reminds us to do our best in the moment because our best will change from time to time. For example, my best dealing with a 3-year-old in a heightened stressful tantrum at the local fair is far different than the best I can do for an overtired 9.5-year-old now.
This last agreement supports the others because it gives us permission to do our best in all the other agreements. I’m not always impeccable with my word, but I do know I’m doing my best at each moment.
If you’re like me, you also need permission to remove perfection from your life. This fourth agreement helps me not go down the perfectionism spiral, a spiral that I don’t want to impart on my daughter.
I encourage you to read this book in its entirety. Then, take the agreements into your daily life as you do your best on your motherhood journey!