I don’t know about you, but when I became a mom I also became more self-critical. It was as if when I gave birth to my daughter, I also gave birth to a new clan of Inner Critics whose mission was to create a swirl of negative thoughts in my head. I like to call these addictive negative thoughts Big Fat Lies.
I’m also a life coach, so I’ve coached hundred of moms and have witnessed firsthand how they become their own worst enemy. After more than a decade of coaching moms from every walk of life (from CEO moms to stay at home moms to mompreneurs) I finally got it: we are all hard on ourselves despite appearances. I am not alone (and neither are you!).
We beat ourselves up for both the big things and for the tiniest imperfections. And all this punishment isn’t helping us be better moms or feel more fulfilled or even to get more done.
Who can blame us for being so hard on ourselves? We have a lot on their plates: kids, careers, romance, health . . . the list goes on and on. We’re supposed to bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, have incredible sex with our partners, get the laundry and housework done, have healthy, accomplished kids, and a tight butt and perky boobs to boot. We feel like we’re supposed to enjoy being pulled in a million directions at the same time. And that we’re supposed to be as flexible as Gumby on muscle relaxers. But we’re only human.
What would happen if we gave ourselves a break?
To get started, see if any of these Top Three Big Fat Lies sound familiar and then go easy on yourself by tapping into the truth:
- "I’m a failure" (can also show up as: "I’m a terrible mother, I suck at motherhood."): This Big Fat Lie is pandemic among nearly every mom I’ve talked to. The truth is that we all have moments of failing as moms (ya know like when your kid spills milk and you completely lose it because you’ve had the worst day filled with traffic jams, a failed bake sale fundraiser and your mate just called to say he’s working late…again), but that does NOT make us a failure. Winston Churchill put it brilliantly when he said, “Success is leaping from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” I would add that to be a successful parent, success is leaping from mistake to mistake without loss of compassion. So, why not get your compassion on!
- "_________ is a way better mom than me" (can also show up as "I’m a way better mom than _________."): The comparison game amongst moms can be intense and grueling. We can feel like we never quite measure up and develop a serious inferiority complex or we can turn the tables and find our Inner Critics telling us that we are a far better mom, creating a superiority complex. Either way, the comparison game is a losing one. The truth is that this isn’t a contest and it’s time to put your focus on being the best mom you can be and leave others out of it.
- "Taking care of myself is selfish" (can also show up as: "Self-care just isn’t a priority."): This lie is one of the biggest traps moms fall into, leading to depression, feeling overwhelmed and downright resentment. When we put our own well-being first, we are more able to be there for others. I know how hard it can be to carve out personal time. But it is vital to do so to be a present and caring mom. By deciding to take responsibility for your self-care, you are giving yourself the opportunity to be a good parent, friend, partner, sibling, and/or coworker. Why not get started with simply 1 hour each week of ME TIME and ease your way up?
The more you recognize your negative self-talk as Big Fat Lies and tap more into the compassionate truth, the more you’ll increase self-love, self-esteem and self-respect. And what better gift can we give our kids than to model that?
Amy Ahlers, the Wake-Up Call coach and cofounder of the Inner Mean Girl Reform School, is the author of Big Fat Lies Women Tell Themselves: Ditch Your Inner Critic and Wake Up Your Inner Superstar. Visit her online at http://www.wakeupcallcoaching.com/