What skills have you learnt since you became a Mother? What qualities and abilities have you developed?
Day to day life with children calls upon mothers to constantly rise to new challenges; from the very mundane of how to clean the car seat effectively to more sophisticated wrangling of nightmares and tantrums from our little ones. And we don’t always get it right first try!!
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
When we don’t succeed straightaway, it’s very helpful if we can see that as an opportunity to learn rather than a lack of inherent ability. Research carried out by psychologist Dr Carol Dweck has identified two distinct mindsets which show up in the way in which people live their lives and approach challenges. The fixed mindset believes that an individual’s qualities are carved in stone, that intelligence, sporting ability, willingness to take responsibility and so on, are set from the start. This mindset can make a person downplay the value of effort and very hesitant to take a risk for fear of feeling incompetent.
The growth mindset on the other hand believes that we can develop ourselves. That challenges create an opportunity to learn. Approaching the daily events of motherhood with a growth mindset can make us more open to asking for help when we need it, to accepting that we’re not perfect and that it’s all a work in progress.
Battling the fixed mindset
Last month I weighed up the pros and cons of taking my daughters to see the Vivid Festival in Sydney. I really wanted to go but I worried that it would be too cold, that the girls might be upset by the crowds, and that we just wouldn’t have fun...... – this was my fixed mindset talking, reluctant to take a risk in case the result wasn’t perfect. To combat this I tried to focus on all the reasons why I thought it was a good idea in the first place and the idea that whatever happened it would be a family adventure and a chance to have dinner out together.
“I have a bad feeling about this”, “I’m just not the type of person who does these things”, can be thoughts that signal a fixed mindset coming to the fore. If you can try to instead think – “it’s worth giving it a try”, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, you open yourself up to learning and the possibility of fun and success in whatever you’re trying to do.
Something to pass on to our kids
We can encourage our kids towards a growth mindset by encouraging and praising sincere effort, rather than focusing on ability. We can also show them that we’re ourselves willing to take risks and that when something goes wrong it’s an opportunity to learn and develop.
PS. We did make it to Vivid and it was fabulous! I’d do a few things differently next time to better manage in the crowds but it was definitely worth the effort.
Flourishing Mothers were inspired by the work of Dr Carol Dweck and her book “Mindset: how you can fulfil your potential”.