Ending Mommy Guilt, Perfectionism and Not Good Enough.
Let’s face it, life happens and we don’t always respond or react the way we’d like.
Whether it’s making decisions that overextend ourselves, taking on too much or having power struggles with kids that has motherhood turn into a cornered animal where we overreact, become irrational and next thing we know we are yelling at our three year old, losing our shit with our partner or freaking out on a grocery clerk for not giving us correct change. With no time to make sense of it, we get our head down, push though, make apologies (maybe), feel guilty and find ourselves worn out on the other side wishing we could have just kept our cool or felt more in control. Regret and being hard on ourselves lives here.
And then we say the words so easily… I should know better.
This is probably one of the most unproductive, soul-sucking, undermining phrases and acts of self-betrayal we can say to ourselves. I have been guilty of it myself in the past and hear it daily through my clients. I want to get real with the power of words and the energy they hold. The only thing these words do is BLAME ourselves, JUDGE how we should have handled it and PUNISH us for not making a better choice.
What kills me is that some part of our brain actually believes these words will motivate us to do differently next time, but does it?
It’s like a scene from an army movie with the soldier in the dirt struggling to do a push ups in the pouring rain – he’s soaked, covered in mud with his face in a puddle and a drill sergeant is screaming obscenities down at him through a megaphone. But in this scenario, we are both the soldier AND the drill sergeant. This also shows up in rhetorical questions we ask ourselves like What was I thinking, When will I learn or Why do I do that?
When did we decide that beating ourselves up instead of loving and supporting ourselves was a good way to go?
So here is the other choice. To LEARN.
What if we approached this Mommy gig as learners? For reals. Here me out.
I’ve spoken with so many Mom’s that are killing themselves emotionally and physically believing they are suck at parenting and “I should know better” comes up A LOT. So I ask them:
Have you ever been here before? In this exact situation, with this type of job of x years, this type of relationship of x years, with x number of kids, in this house or financial situation before? (feel free to insert your unique situation here)
Their short answer is “No.” And then they quickly continue with “BUT…”
But nothing. You haven’t been here before and you are learning as you go. End of story.
WE. ALL. ARE.
Children do not come with rules or manuals and just because we were kids once does not give us inside information on how to do it ‘right’ this time around. The truth is, we don’t know what it’s like to have two kids under the age of five and try to live our life too and take care of them and our house and our job and our relationship at the same time – all while keeping our shit together. I mean, really!
Having the expectation that we should KNOW better and DO better in the moment only leads us straight to the land of perfectionism, not good enough and ultimately, suffering. We have this tendency to not let ourselves off the hook that easy. But how does beating ourselves up and holding unrealistic expectations help us be the loving Mom’s we want to be when we can’t love ourselves along the way?
I know from personal experience how tiring it is holding yourself wholly responsible for having your shit together with answers about everything, all the time. It’s exhausting, scary and a pressure cooker waiting to blow. And it’s totally unnecessary.
So I’m offering you a new way to consider that might give you a more loving, supportive and productive experience in your journey through motherhood (and life for that matter). A tip on ending mommy guilt. And notice how willing you are to let yourself to move past the blame pattern and into a place of learning, options, ideas and solutions – or better yet, give you permission to make mistakes!
I challenge you to try on this “Learning” perspective like an outfit and take it out for a test drive – you don’t have to buy it – but see how it changes things for you:
What would it be like to approach your life everyday knowing your only job is to show up to ‘class’ with the intention to learn and grow? Where you are equipped with your life lessons to date, genuine curiosity and the willingness to learn from mistakes and setbacks. A place where you are committed to you and your self-worth first, being kind and trying your best as you continue to try again and apply what you learn as you go.
As you walk around and see how it fits, take a look around and explore what’s possible from this place and what does it give you? What does it give your kids or your partner? How does it compare to your old way? Which choice gives you more movement in your life and opportunities?
What I love about Fearless Mommies, is that it’s not about looking good or having our shit together – it’s about real women and real life – where we can share our struggles and successes in making big things happen for ourselves, our kids, our life and the world. So please tell us your thoughts, perspectives, ideas and experiences in the comments below because you never know who you’ll be helping along the way or the impact your words may have, remembering we are in this together.
Much love and encouragement to Amazing Moms, everywhere.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. ~ Benjamin Franklin #quote
— Lucia Griesbach (@fearlessmommies) March 1, 2014
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