Modern motherhood is full of challenges. Everything from pervasive mom guilt to the comparison trap to second-guessing and constantly feeling like you’re failing—it can rob you of experiencing any peace let alone joy.

If you want to stop feeling like you’re failing as a mom and start feeling happier and more confident, the way to do this is by changing your mindset. From a different mindset, you’ll learn how to show up differently for your family, in a way that serves both you and your kids.

In this podcast, you’ll learn 10 mindset shifts that will help you become the mom you were made to be, from the inside out.

If you’re a mom, you’re in the right place. This is a space designed to help you overcome challenges and live your best life. I’d love for you to join me inside Mom On Purpose Membership, my community for moms where we take this work to the next level.

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Hi there. Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. My name is Natalie Bacon and I’m an Advanced, Certified Mindfulness Life Coach, as well as a wife and mom, if you’re here to do the inner work and grow, I can help. Let’s get started.

Hello friends. Welcome to the podcast. So delighted to be here with you today. Thank you so much for being here. Whether this is your first episode or you have been listening for years, I know that you have thousands of options to choose from, and my hope is always that you get something valuable and you keep coming back. So I just wanna say thank you, thank you, thank you so much. I appreciate your time, your dedication. I think we have the most amazing, incredible community here. And I want you to know how very appreciative I am that you make it possible for me to share these thoughts and tools with you on this podcast simply by tuning in every week.

And today, I want to share with you a podcast episode about do’s and don’ts for your mindset. Mindset, specifically in motherhood. I wrote an email about this topic and I thought that it would really make a fun, useful podcast for you. So I’m gonna share it here and include an example for each as well. If you’re not on my email list and you want to be getting those emails, you can head on over to, and that’s where I send out, um, emails and invite you to things and talk with you more about programs and Grow You and how I can help you and how we can work together. So in this email that I wrote, I listed out 10 dos and don’ts for motherhood, and I wanna share them here with you.

Number one, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead do remind yourself that you are a human mom. So let’s say that you forget to register your child for gymnastics on time. You miss the deadline. You’re not thrilled about this. You know it was a mistake, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Remind yourself, I’m a human mom. I made a mistake, I’m still a good mom. Number two, don’t compare yourself to what you see on social media. Instead, remember that every single human being has challenges.

So let’s say that you see your friend’s social media and she just has the most picture perfect home all of the time. Instead of letting your brain go into self-pity and thinking that you’re not good enough, and kind of getting into that compare and despair, just remember that every single person has challenges. Maybe it’s challenging for you to keep a tidy home, and maybe that’s not her challenge. We don’t even know that, right? This is just on Instagram or social media, wherever you see it. But the truth is that every single person has their challenge. And just because your challenge might be different doesn’t mean anything about you being less than or having a worse life than I like to think about human beings all having different types of challenges. And that keeps me out of that comparison trap.

Number three, don’t seek too much external validation and do give yourself lots of praise and self-validation. This is one that I think is a skill that you can get really, really good at. I don’t think you can ever get rid of the desire to get that external approval because the way that we’ve evolved and we just naturally care what other people think. I don’t think that’s a problem. It’s a problem when what other people think far outweighs what we think. So this is a client example where I was coaching her on getting a new cat and how upset one of her family members and her extended family was that she and her family, her immediate family, got this new cat. And it’s okay to care about what other people think, and it’s okay to look for their approval a little bit, but ultimately, if you think of like a pie, they get like a little small slice of the pie. Your slice needs to be much bigger. It’s your opinion of getting your cat is that this is the right thing for our family, and it’s okay that, you know, my extended family doesn’t approve of it. I approve of it. My immediate family approves of it.

This is what’s best for us. Or it might not be a decision like that. It might be just something with respect to going back to work. Maybe you’re looking for a lot of external validation from your peers and you’re not getting it right because the external validation we want never comes in the form that we, we we expect, and it’s never at the level we want. So even if someone does say, yeah, I think it’s great, you’re going back to work, they’re gonna say it in the wrong tone, or they’re not gonna wanna talk about it more and you’re just not going to be left feeling satisfied, and that has nothing to do with them. It has everything to do with looking for a feeling from someone else who just can’t give you it. So this is why practicing praising yourself and giving yourself self validation can be so helpful. So it’s telling yourself, this is the best decision for me and my family right now. I’m so proud of myself. This was really hard and I’m doing a great job. You’re validating yourself. It doesn’t mean that there’s a right and a wrong, it just means that for right now, this is what you choose for you and you have your own back.

Number four, don’t expect your spouse or loved ones to read your mind. Instead, do ask for what you want. I see this so much with respect to birthdays and holidays or anniversaries, special occasions, anything like that. I have practiced this skill, and I’m telling you, it has made my experience of all of those celebrations so much better. So I never expect Steve to read my mind for one thing. I’m changing my mind all of the time. So I used to love getting flowers, and recently I like flowers, but they don’t really light me up the way that they used to. And so I told him this because I don’t want him to think like, oh my goodness, she loves getting flowers. I wanna make sure that I’m always giving her flowers when I’ve changed my mind. I don’t expect him to read my mind. So if you want to go on a trip for your birthday, instead of dropping hints, be direct. And direct doesn’t mean demanding. You’re not demanding that your spouse take you on a trip, but instead it’s saying, Hey honey, my birthday’s coming up and I would really love to do some sort of trip. What do you think about that?

So I like to be direct when it’s definitely something that I care about and I want. I’ll never forget last year, one of my girlfriends, she said, is there anything you’re eyeing that you would want for your birthday? I’d love to get you a gift that you really want. And I just loved that she asked. It went such a far away, and I thought, I’m gonna ask my friends more often. And of course, this isn’t, you know, so black and white that I have to ask all of the time or that you have to ask all of the time or that you should. But just noticing that we can’t read anyone else’s mind. And even if they love cupcakes, maybe they changed. Maybe they don’t love cupcakes anymore. So I never expect Steve to read my mind, and I try to the extent possible to ask for what I want, and I think that it makes my experience of celebrations so much better.

And sometimes if I don’t care, that’s fine too. But then I have that expectation that it might be something that the other person wants to do. So I’ll often ask Steve what he would like to do for his birthday or for Father’s Day or something like that. And sometimes he has an opinion and sometimes he doesn’t. And I try to balance that with doing the heavy lifting. So I might say, you know, if you don’t have a preference, I was thinking these three things out of these three, which is your favorite or what would you prefer? And that can be really helpful so that you’re not asking the other person to kind of plan their own celebration, particularly if they’re not interested in that. Instead, you’re just sort of saying, Hey, I wanna do the heavy lifting for you and come up with the ideas. And also I wanna make sure that it’s something that you would enjoy and that you would want. So there can be a balance there. But I think the underlying mindset is not to expect anyone really to read your mind. And I think we do this in subtle ways. So just notice it.

Number five, don’t listen to negative self-talk and do practice deliberate intentional thinking. When your brain tells you, I am failing as a mom, don’t believe it. Notice, oh, that’s just a thought. Then question it. What does failing even mean? What does success mean? How? How can I be successful and be a human mom? What does that look like? And get clear on how you want to think on purpose. So in this specific example, I like to tell myself I’m a human mom, half mess, half amazing. And there’s areas that I want to work on for sure, but not because I think that I’m failing just because that’s the kinda mom I wanna be a mom who works on herself and who cares about motherhood and my family and parenting. So for you, when you have negative self-talk, notice it, question it, and choose on purpose how you want to think this, I promise you my friends, is so life-changing.

You will have a completely different mindset and therefore feel completely differently about your life and live in a very real way differently. So if you have negative self-talk, like I don’t like the area where we live, and you have no plans to move, then listening to that negative self-talk and allowing it to be in the driver’s seat only makes your day-to-day experience worse. If you are going to stay in that area, then choose deliberately what you wanna think. You know what? There are parts of this area that aren’t my favorite, but I love that we have a safe home. I love that we have friends nearby. I love that my kids are comfortable here. I love that it’s, you know, within our budget. Whatever it is for you, find things to focus on. Just because something might be true doesn’t mean that it needs to be what you focus on.

Number six, don’t believe the mom guilt. And do give yourself compassion. So if you are saying goodbye to your kids and you’re going out of town and they are sad and you feel guilty, you feel guilty because of what you’re making it mean. Go back and listen to that Gom guilt episode. It is gold. You’ll get specific steps that teach you how to overcome mom guilt. I promise you. You don’t have to live a life where you feel guilty for every little thing that you don’t wanna feel guilty about, right? Leaving your kids or saying bye to them probably isn’t something intellectually that you would say, I’m doing something bad or wrong. But we have that sort of social conditioning where we think we’re supposed to walk by our kids’ side 24/7 and entertained them and not even sleep or eat or drink, and then we’ll be a good mom, right?

And of course, saying that out loud sounds silly, but in a very practical way, we have these limiting beliefs that create so much guilt for us. And I promise you, you can have such a full life where you feel like you are succeeding as a mom and you’re creating happiness in your day-to-day life. And that can include leaving your kids without feeling mom guilt. Now, when the mom guilt comes up, give yourself compassion. Oh, I see you mom, guilt. That’s all right. I’m not gonna make it mean anything. You can come along for the ride. We’re still gonna say bye. That way. The mom guilt is more in the back seat, not in the driver’s seat.

Number seven, don’t look to your past to determine your future. Do believe in yourself and your capabilities. Let’s say you have been trying to lose weight for years. The more that you look to your past to believe what’s possible for your future, the more you limit your future. I believe you that it was hard to lose weight in the past. I believe you, that you’ve been trying for years. And yet the more that we focus on that story for you, the less likely you are able to lose weight. So if you want to lose weight, believe that it is possible for you, even if you don’t know how, even if you have no idea how it’s gonna happen, just choose to believe on purpose by looking to your future.

And this applies to anything that you wanna change about yourself. If you have been someone who’s been quick to anger or quick to snap or yell or really kind of overwhelmed or type A or or anything like that, that’s less outcome based than weight loss, but just more of a personality shift that you notice about yourself, don’t use that as a limiting belief for who you want to become. If you want to become more calm, you can. You don’t have to know how you can just believe in yourself, join me inside, Grow You and I will show you how. That’s how you’ll do it.

Number eight, don’t evaluate how you’re doing as a mom based on your kids’ behavior, grades, or outcomes. Let me repeat that again, and don’t evaluate how you are doing as a mom based on your kids’ behavior, grades or outcomes. Do decide on purpose what standards you’ll use to evaluate how you’re doing gently and lovingly. So for example, let’s say your son excels in school and is on the honor roll and has all of these kind of awards and is doing really well academically, but your daughter doesn’t, and she is struggling with academics. Don’t make that mean that you are a bad mom or that something has gone wrong, or that you are in some way the reason why your daughter is struggling. Don’t make their grades mean something about you. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care about daughter and you don’t want to help her, but it does mean that you validate yourself and you know that every child, just like every adult has challenges. And for your son, his challenges are gonna be in a different area. Maybe it’s not academics.

For your daughter her challenge, at least right now in this season of life is school. And it doesn’t mean anything about you as a parent. So don’t center yourself in their behavior or in their grades or in their outcomes, and instead, decide on purpose how you want to show up. As a mom, you want to help your daughter, not so that she can validate your goodness as a mom, but so that she can overcome this challenge. And I promise you will show up in a much less controlling way, in a much more supportive way when you make it about her and helping her navigate that challenge instead of making it about you. I’ve talked about this before when RJ was a little baby on airplanes, and people would tell me, I’m doing such a good job when he would be quiet and well-behaved. And I, from day one, never took that and made it mean anything about me doing any sort of good job, which if you really pause and think about it, you can’t stop a baby from crying.

Of course you can offer different soothing mechanisms, but if the baby wants to cry, the baby’s gonna cry. So I knew I had done nothing to create that result. And of course, in the moment I’m still kind and polite. That’s not the point. The point is that I didn’t make it mean something about me because conversely then, if I make it mean I’m a good mom because he doesn’t cry, then when he does cry, I make it mean I’m a bad mom and I don’t wanna do that. It’s not fair to him to put that pressure on him to not cry so that I can feel good about myself. And it’s also not fair to me to think that I somehow have some sort of magical control over when and to what extent he cries. Instead, I decide I am going to love my child.

I’m going to teach my child. I’m going to validate their feelings. I’m going to hold boundaries. I set my own standards for the type of mom that I want to be, and I evaluate my performance based on those standards that can evolve and change. But generally, there’s sort of a handful of them. And I can help my kids through their challenges as they arise. I am always making a conscious effort to not make their behavior, their grades, their outcomes, anything like that mean anything about me. I was coaching someone who has middle, um, school kids and she totally was on board with this for academics and, and performance in school and all of that. But it was really hard for her to apply to kids’ behavior when it comes to their manners, particularly if they were at a friend’s house. And the same is true, and you’ve probably seen this in other families.

There could be three kids, two of whom are very polite and maybe easygoing, and one of whom is a little bit more aggressive or exhibits some problem, behaviors, same exact parents, kids acting differently. So how do you make sense of that? I love to use that example because you can see so clearly, and even more so as kids grow up, um, it’s not uncommon to see one child or, or some kids just end up completely different. And it really is more about their growth and their journey and not about the parents. So I like to kind of validate my kids and be really polite and friendly when someone says, oh my goodness, your kids are so well behaved, or they’re so polite, or they have such great manners. For me, I always want to come from a place of love and appreciation. Like I know that they mean well, and that’s pretty awesome if my kids are being polite, but not because it means that I did a good job.

So said differently. I’m not trying to teach them. Be kind so that other people like you and think that you’re kind. Be kind because it feels good to be kind. Be kind because that’s the kind of person you wanna be. That’s what I want to teach them. And sometimes they’ll probably be, be kind and sometimes they won’t. It has nothing to do with my teaching and everything to do with how they choose to use their agency. So I, I could write a whole book on this, but um, if you want more help with this, we do have a Motherhood Toolkit where you kind of learn how to separate out your agency from their agency. And I promise you, it makes mothering so much easier. At least that’s been my experience, and I know for so many members in inside Grow You as well.

Number nine, don’t beat yourself up for yelling or snapping, but do repair and work on your own mental and emotional wellness. So let’s take an example that your child isn’t getting ready in the morning like you ask them to, and you know they have the capacity. Some days they do do this, a lot of times they don’t. You look at the clock, you think you’re going to be late and you yell, and it all happens very fast. The brain likes to go into blame and shame. So either you wanna blame the child for your yelling or you then want to blame yourself. And when you blame yourself because you yelled, then you feel shame. The problem with this cycle is it doesn’t help you learn or change so that in the future you don’t yell. This is why beating yourself up for yelling doesn’t work. When you beat yourself up, you will go into shame, meaning you will think I’m such a bad mom. I can’t believe I did that.

And you will want to kind of hurry through it. You won’t want to take a look at what you were specifically thinking and feeling right before you yelled. That is the way to changing a skill and learning how to process anger and frustration. It’s to take a look at the thought, creating that anger and frustration in the moment. But you’ll be unwilling to look at that with curiosity and compassion if you’re in shame. So you have to stop yelling at yourself for yelling at your kids. And when you stop doing that, you get much more curious about your own behavior and you actually end up yelling less. But it’s not from a place of thinking that you’re bad. It’s not from a place of shame. It’s from a place of, oh, this is interesting. I just haven’t learned how to feel anger or frustration or overwhelm, and this is a skill I’m gonna learn. And along the way, I want to be a mom who repairs and who says I’m sorry to my kids and who tells my kids this is a skill that I’m learning and that it has nothing to do with them. That’s what repair is all about.

And number 10, don’t ignore your personal desires for your life. Do take your desires seriously and let them guide you. So if you have a full life right now, but you have this desire to go back to school and get your PhD, allow that desire to live in you. You don’t have to act on it right now, but when you sort of squash that desire, when you push it away, when you dismiss it, it will go away. And if you do this enough times, you’ll find it really challenging to even know what you want because you’ve been in the habit of kind of ignoring your desires, thinking that they’re not possible for you.

So I like to think about my desires and just allow space for them without thinking I need to do anything about them. Like it would be pretty cool if I had a TV show where I could talk about this work or if I was on the news or on segments on TV where I could talk about this work and reach more people. Like that’s kind of interesting. That would be fun. It would be fun to go back and get my PhD. So I’m just sort of allowing space for these desires and letting them live within me so that I can continue to know what I want for my life. Because what I want matters, it matters so much. And what you want matters. It matters so much. You have those desires for a reason. Some of you, the thought of being on a TV segment or getting your PhD sounds terrible.

What is it that you desire? Do you know? Have you given yourself space to consider it? Or do you just push it away? Take these do’s and don’ts and see where you can apply them in your life. Know that you are a good mom and you are the exact mom your kids are supposed to have. The fact that you even care enough to be listening to a podcast like this and do this work says so much about who you are. I love you. You are so loved and you are good enough just the way you are. I will talk with you next week, my friend. Take care.

If you loved this podcast, I invite you to check out Grow You my mindfulness community for moms where we do the inner work together. Head on over to to learn more.

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