Exploring Your Values as a New Parent

What are personal values?

Personal values are the qualities that matter most to you. They’re the specific characteristics you want to embody as you show up to your life. Helpful hint: there’s no right or wrong answers. Values are like ice cream flavors — you might love chocolate chip cookie dough and your best friend might be into mint chip. Each of us will have our own preferences and that’s a-okay.

Here are 7 questions to explore your personal values as a new parent:

1. What matters most to me right now?

As a new parent, you are in a very unique season of life. What mattered most to you five years ago or ten years ago may be different than what matters most to you right now. And, what matters most to you in five or ten years may also be different than what matters most to you in this particular season. That’s okay. Give yourself permission to acknowledge and lean in to your present priorities.

2. What doesn’t matter to me at all?

There’s something about becoming a parent that can help to clarify what doesn’t matter in the way it used to. Your answers to this question may surprise you. Things you’d expect to matter just don’t. Or, at least not in the way you expected.

3. What qualities would I like to develop in myself?

These may be qualities that you’ve already been living out and would like to keep moving towards. Or, they may be characteristics you’ve admired in others and want to try on for size. Pay less attention to traits that have “should” energy (“I should be more like this”). Instead, focus on traits that genuinely feel exciting or inspiring to you.

4. What do I appreciate most about my life?

Noticing what you already appreciate about your life can give you a lot of data about your personal values. So, get a sense of what you’re loving and wanting more of. Naming these pieces and the values they represent can empower you to make decisions that move you towards those values even more.

5. What do I want to see more of in the world?

Bringing life into the world can sometimes stir questions about the kind of world you hope to pass on to the next generation. Becoming a parent yourself can make this question feel much more personal. And, becoming a parent may have even shifted your perspective. Getting curious about what you hope to see more of in the world can be a clue about what matters most to you on a global scale.

6. When my little one is grown and reflecting on their childhood, how would I hope they’d describe me?

Some day, your grown child will look back on their childhood and remember you. Just as we’ve been impacted and shaped by our own caregivers, your little one will be impacted and shaped by you. What do you want them to remember about how you showed up, what you prioritized, and how you made them feel?

7. What kind of person do I hope my kid eventually becomes?

Maybe you hope they’ll be driven, creative, or adventurous. Maybe brave or kind. Sometimes, deep down, our wishes for our children are actually wishes for ourselves. This question can highlight the kind of person that a part of you really wants to be.

So you have a good idea of your personal values… now what?

Gaining clarity on your personal values is just one step to designing a life you love. Don’t forget the next step — putting them into action.

If that feels like a challenge right now, you’re not alone. Sometimes, the life we’re actually living looks very different from the life we aspire to. As a new parent, you may be overwhelmed with all of the changes that come with pregnancy, the postpartum year, or work after baby. Maybe you’re even experiencing a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder.

Whatever the case, if life feels out of alignment with your values and you don’t know how to get back on track, I’d be happy to help. Reach out for a free virtual consultation to see if therapy is right for you.

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