In this post, I talked a lot about finding your own positive reinforcement as a mom. You can set up your own contingencies and reward yourself. Well, this past week or so, I’ve found myself in contact with LOTS of reinforcers that I didn’t contrive, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Remember what positive reinforcement is, exactly? Well in this older post,
we reviewed that it’s not just something nice. The desired behavior has to increase following the reinforcement.

So, how did this take place in my life in copious amounts this week? In my analytic way, I’m going to lay it out for you.

I put forth some effort to create a fun but not super high maintenance first birthday party for my daughter –> She loved it. My girl smiled and laughed and was quite a little doll baby.–> I will put forth effort again to make a fun thing for her. Did I actually put forth effort to make things fun for her yet? Sure- we had a couple of great playdates with friends this week!

I work hard every day as a stay at home mom (okay, that one’s not really a well-defined target behavior, but it’s late and I’m tired after working hard all day as a SAHM)–> My mom told me nice things about my parenting and gave lots of support and compliments when she was here this past weekend –> I have continued to work hard on my parenting as a SAHM.

My behaviors that put me in contact with positive reinforcement were things I don’t do for myself. They are things I do for my daughter and will continue to do for her because that is my job as a mom and I love her more than I thought possible.

BUT the positive reinforcers serve the purpose of adding joy to that job. They increase the likelihood of me doing my job well in the future. I enjoy my job. I want those reinforcers and doing my job well this week got them for me!

My list of things that were reinforcing to me this week due to doing my mom job well:

  • Friends and family choosing to come celebrate my girls’ birthday with us even though (a) the weather was awful; (b) it was a holiday weekend; and (c) there are waaaay more things more fun than a first birthday party.
  • My husband’s kind words of gratitude for all I did to make a fun party happen and get our house ready before the party while he was away on a work trip.
  • Lots of baby girl laughs while playing with her new toys and all her visitors.
  • Compliments on my child’s (a) demeanor; (b) smiles; and (c) overall adorable-ness.
  • My mom’s support and compliments. I know I already said that one. And it’s not like this is out of the ordinary- she’s always super supportive. As a mom, I find myself turning into my mother more and more every day. And, she did a pretty fantastic job with me so it must be a good thing! 😉
  • A beautiful morning in a beautiful garden with friends where we could relax and enjoy a bit of sunshine in an otherwise rain-soaked week. Or month.
  • Watching my girl try new things, become more independent, and learn to communicate with me in our own way.

As a mom, it’s easy to feel like you deserve recognition for a job well done. You don’t get a paycheck for this job and you don’t always get the praise or thanks you deserve. When the positive reinforcers appear in your life- recognize them and enjoy them!!

You are doing a good job, moms! Keep up the good work!!

Read more about behavior analysis for moms!