In my experience, many, many, MANY moms are hard on themselves. Are you one of them?
Put down the stick, mama.
It doesn’t help your children. It certainly doesn’t help you. Perhaps it’s just underneath your awareness- that judgemental voice that drives you to an impossible standard of perfection.
Can you bring awareness to the ways you’re critical of yourself? Here are some examples of where I’ve caught myself (with comments from my kinder, more rational voice in parentheses).
“You should really stop what you’re doing and play with your kids. They’re not getting enough attention.” (even when they seem perfectly happy playing by themselves)
“This meal isn’t nutritious enough. It’s processed, packaged food… not what their little bodies need.” (even when they get mostly whole foods, most of the time)
(When leaving my youngest at daycare) “He’s so sad to be left. He’s going to be traumatized. I really should be with him all the time, even when I work. I’m not giving him what he needs.” (WHAT??? It’s not good for him or for me if we’re together ALL the time, and I fully trust he’s well taken care of at daycare.)
These are thoughts that often slip under my radar until I bring awareness to them. Writing them out makes them seem especially ludicrous!
Do you identify with any of these self-judgements? Or is there something else that you’re really hard on yourself for? Much has been said about all the different hats that moms wear (family, work, household, relationships…) And it’s true that our society places WAY higher expectations on moms compared to anytime in history, and anywhere else on this planet.
Let’s put it all into perspective. I would love to see you be more gentle with yourself! Because you deserve that.
Are you doing your best, most of the time... despite your very, very full life?
Yes, I’m willing to bet you are. It doesn’t mean you’re perfect. That’s an impossible standard. But my hunch is you’re doing what you can, at least most of the time.
Put down the stick, mama. You’re doing great. (and if you know in your heart there’s areas that really need improvement, reach out for help. And do it as an act of self-compassion, not self-judgement.)
Do you worry you’re going to mess up your children? You’re not there for them enough, you yell at them sometimes, you didn’t breastfeed long enough, you didn’t start them in music lessons by the age of 6 months, etc, etc.?
Put down the stick, mama. You’re ok, your children are ok. They’re not going to turn out perfectly, no matter how hard you try! They will be perfectly imperfect with their own strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities for growth and learning in their lives. Yes, who you are and what you do as a mother matters… AND don’t try to take away their lessons. You can’t anyway, and it wouldn’t be a service to them.
Be gentle to yourself. It’s ok, really. You’re doing your best, and (if you’re like many, many moms) you don’t have nearly as much support in this motherhood gig as in previous generations. And as I’ve mentioned already, the expectations are WAY higher.
When you catch yourself being hard on yourself, remind yourself to put down the stick. And remind yourself that you’re doing your best and ALL the ways that you are an amazing mom! It helps to consciously tell yourself kind things. Use a carrot instead of a stick. It works better with your children, and why do you deserve any less? 💖
If you need more help learning to be gentle with yourself and shifting your negative self-talk, counselling can be really effective. I offer online counselling (anywhere in the world) and in-person counselling at my Penticton, BC office. Check out my services here.
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