Creative Ways To Be A Motivational Mama


In what has become a world of so much negativity, I have been trying to incorporate more positivity into my children’s daily schedule. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to reward bad behavior, and I’m not the type of mom that encourages “participation trophies.” BUT, I also believe that we can focus on the negative far too much. I’m personally guilty of this. Call it being a pessimistic realist or call it like it is. I can absolutely be a Negative Nelly. As my children have gotten older, I can see firsthand how being overly negative about their daily activities, whether it be homework or sports or general behavior, can really start to wear them down.

Enter in Positive Polly!

I realized that I want my children to know that they are loved no matter what. I want them to realize that I’m on their team and will support them through all their struggles and will not judge them. We all need a morale boost every now and then. Sometimes we need someone to be a cheerleader for us. I know that we all have rough days and have our struggles. Knowing someone is there to lift us up when we are at our lowest can make a world of difference.

It all started as a fun doodle on the mirror. My kids had been at their dad’s house for a week and I missed them tremendously. Honestly, whenever they are at their dad’s house, even if it’s just for a day, I find myself missing them immensely. One of the drawbacks of co-parenting, I suppose, but a fact of life. So, this time, before they got back to my house, I drew a little picture on their bathroom mirror.


They LOVED it! They thought it was awesome and loved the fact that I drew that for them. Something specifically – just for them. It wasn’t a material item or even expensive. It was something that I put thought into and it applied just to them. After that first drawing, I knew what I was going to do. It wasn’t much, but it was something.

I went out and “invested” in a few sets of dry erase markers in multiple colors. There are so many different colors and types and this office supply junkie went a little crazy! But now I have an ample supply in which to color my palette! This created endless options for my drawings!


Every night that I have the boys, after they go to bed, I draw a new “Mirror Motivation” for them. Sometimes I see a cute picture that I want to draw and find a quote to match it. There are times when my boys are struggling with something specific, so I tailor those drawings to reflect that. Other times, a quote crosses my path that I think is just so fitting and then I figure out a picture to put with it.

Every morning, my boys wake up and rush to the mirror to see what the picture is that day. To see their smiles and know that it’s going to be there for them is truly remarkable. Something simple and  inexpensive means so much to my kids. That is such a great feeling! On a few occasions, the boys even made ME a drawing for the morning and that just floored me!


My boys have a chalkboard/dry erase board that we got at IKEA several years ago. We weren’t using it very often so I decided to start our “Lessons in Chalk.” This was just a monthly theme that I wanted the boys to be mindful of. Sometimes it’s Bible verses, sometimes it’s just a quote that applies to a certain area of concern we are addressing. This is on a larger scale and something more constant for the boys to review and think about.


I still make lunches for my boys every day. I really enjoy doing this, and I like knowing that my kids are actually eating something every day at lunch! Occasionally, I’ll put a little note in their lunch bag or if they forget their lunch bag at their dad’s house, a doodle on the paper bag works too! They like showing their friends the notes and it gets them through the afternoon lull, while motivating them to push through the rest of the day.


As a single mom, I’m totally winging this parenting thing. I don’t have the answers or sometimes even the questions! The only thing that I DO know, is that I need to be a positive influence on my kids no matter what. They should be encouraged and lifted up just as much as we desire in our own lives. One of my love languages is Words of Affirmation. I firmly believe we should affirm our children on a daily basis. We are helping to build the foundation of how they will grow up and how they will live their lives.

What creative ways do you find to motivate your children?

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Abby Turner Hager
I am originally from New Hampshire and moved to the Cincinnati area in 2003. I am a single mom to 2 amazing boys, Eli and Ethan. We are avid Reds fans and you will likely find us at the ballpark quite a bit during baseball season. I have a degree in healthcare management and work full-time in Cincinnati. I have shared parenting of my boys, so when we are together, I try to make sure we make the most of our time! Whether it’s seeing Madcap Puppets, exploring the numerous local parks, enjoying the Cincinnati Pops, or cheering on our Cincinnati Redlegs, I strive to expose my boys to as many aspects of culture that I can! I enjoy music (I’ve played piano for 30 years) as well as being crafty (as time allows!), making crazy cool cakes, and relaxing with my boys, our dog Frankie and cats Lyra & Luna (we have quite the animal kingdom in our house)! I’m really excited about sharing a piece of my world with you and this oftentimes humorous and wild adventure I call my life as a mom!


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