• Marina Stepanova

Because They are Watching

One of my main motivators are my children. I guess it is true for most #mums. There is a saying in Russian, that does not quite convey the whole meaning of it in English, but it goes something like this: ‘do not try to educate/bring up/raise your children – they will turn out to be like you anyway– educate yourself instead’.

When I started to think about what kind of life I would love my children to have and what kind of people I would want them to be, I simultaneously had to pick up a mirror. Let`s face it, nobody wants a hypocrite of a mother. I cannot look them straight in the eye and tell them or ask them to do something or be someone I myself had no #discipline, #courage or #confidence to be. I mean, I know they will be much better people than I am, but I have to lay some sort of a positive foundation here.

We all learn by example from the very early age. Moreover, we get some of the information about our environment from inside of our mother`s womb (via our developing sense of hearing). I remember Emily being very sensitive; any kind of loud noise made her ‘jump’. I also felt her being restless if I was under stress or if I was upset. Daniel was a little bit different; nothing seemed to faze him. They are different in this way even now. She is much more attuned to how I am feeling and is not shy to show me if something is ‘off’. My son, on the contrary, seems to be less affected by my state and is more reserved about his feelings; he often needs me to ‘read him’ and ask questions in order for him to open up.

After my daughter was born and started copying everything I did from when she was old enough to do that, I began to pay attention to my own actions more. I started to think about it on a bigger scale: what kind of example was I setting? What message was my behaviour sending out to them? Was I being honest with myself and them? Was I living up to my own values?

I did not like quite a lot of the answers I was giving to those questions. I knew I had to take different types of action in certain areas of my life in order to live the way I wanted to and be the person I wanted to be. That is when writing my book came into play. Hand on heart, if I did not have my children, I would never have accomplished this dream. I had no discipline. Most of all, I was afraid. I was really afraid to show myself to the world and create something for others to judge. I was just too scared. I was too scared to fail.

It worked the same way in other areas of my life – my relationships, my career, my hobbies (that were non-existent). I was just settling for stuff that was not even good for me and at times was outright unhealthy (read ‘it was shit’). I knew that I did not want my children to ‘end up’ like me so I had to get my arse off the sofa and do something. When I say off the sofa, I mean figuratively. All mums know that with a baby and a toddler (and then two toddlers) you have no chance to park your behind anywhere for longer than two minutes.

So I started making myself do stuff that I knew was going to be good for me and the children in the long run, such as getting physically fitter and healthier, as well as educating myself on areas of my interest even when my motivation level was at minus ten on a scale from zero to ten. I just made myself do it. I still make myself do it. It gets easier with time, but you have to engage in the same battle day in day out. That is why it is important to know your why.

I talk about the power of why in Chapter 3 of my book. ‘There will be plenty of times when you would want to stop, because you are feeling exhausted. The only thing that will keep you going is your reason why’.

I have three reasons why:

1) I want to give my best shot at life, because I want to see what it`s like to live the life of my dreams

2) I don`t want to screw up my children too much so I work on myself

3) I want every mum to realise that she is amazing and whatever she dreams of is possible

Those reasons why are quite powerful and they definitely motivate me every day. What`s yours?



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