First, before we even get into these reasons, I need to tell you to do something. And that something is to step back, for one moment, and to breathe. Chances are, if you’re like me, you are so busy throughout the whole day that you’re sprinting to get everything done and in that race forgetting to breathe. So breathe and know that when you read my words they are words of hope in the midst of crazy and a chance for you, sweet mom, to catch your breath.
I forget that breath catching all too often. Especially when I’m way too hard on myself. Which, if I’m not careful, happens way too often.
Like this. I say stuff like this to myself:
Way to go. Now I’ll really mess up the kids.
I look horrible in this.
I’m such an idiot. Why did I forget that?
And on and on and on. Plain and simple: I’m hard on myself. WAY HARDER THAN I WOULD BE ON ANYONE ELSE. In fact, I can’t even imagine saying to my kids or my friends some of the thoughts that run through my mind. Left unchecked, they are suffocating to one’s heart. And that’s why I’ve been working on not being so ridiculously hard on myself. I want that for you too. I want that because I hear you when you leave comments on my Facebook page about how you just want to be a good mom, but….and you add that word but….and then you’re hard on yourself. Just like I tend to me.
But you are a good mom. That’s the truth.
So with that, here are my four reasons why you need to stop being so hard on yourself:
- Most things are out of our control. Like the weather, bus schedules, kids that forget to bring in homework even though we remind them, health crisis, vehicle problems, alarms that should go off but don’t even though we have three extras set, late flights, long school lines, puking kids and on and on. Yet we live like everything is in our control, thinking we started the fires of life and that if we only worked hard enough we would be good enough because we felt in control. And that lack of control is what makes me, and probably you, be hard on ourselves. Imagine the freedom you will feel when you realize the best control you have in a situation is. truly believing that what you do matters. Because it really does. We just don’t remember it that often – we see the big things as mattering – and yet forget the power in the simple. In a hug, a smile, a helping with a toddler’s shirt, a calling a friend, making dinner – all those spaces where we show up are, in fact, bringing a bit of order to a crazy out of control life.
- What we tell ourselves matters. Trust me, sweet mom, trust me. All of those statements that percolate in my head have to land somewhere. And when our thoughts are unchecked they land in our heart. And when they land in our heart, in your heart, the only person who can decide to believe it or not is YOU. You are worth not letting those fallacies of who you are have any weight in your identity. You are not failing, you are trying. You are not messing your kids up, you are giving. You are not too busy to take care of yourself, you are worth fighting for. Even now, listen to your words and replace them with truth. You are good, worthy and probably a much better mom than you realize.
- Most of us really have no clue what to do. I think we all forget this truth when we see other moms. We look at them and we compare their stories with ours, but we forget that we are only getting a glimpse of their story, a snapshot out of the whole. And a great deal of the time, especially if you’re like me, you’ll think if only I was better I could be as put together as her. Well chances are she’s thinking the same. About you. You see, most of us have no idea what we’re doing in motherhood UNTIL WE DO IT. And it’s trying and a challenge. So you stumble and fail but did you stay down? Or did you figure out potty-training, texting, time-outs, homework, fighting kids, what’s for dinner, how to get glue out of their hair, and whatever else you have done? Don’t tell me you don’t have a clue. Instead tell me, and yourself, that you’re figuring it out.
- It’s a gift for our family when we love ourselves. Somehow over time there crept into mothering this most pesky emotion – mom guilt. It’s the guilt that tells us we should be doing something else or we shouldn’t do this or we shouldn’t take time on this because there is something else that needs to be done. And while being diligent is great, being diligent in accomplishing stuff at the expense of ourselves, well, that teaches our kids that when they’re parents their hearts drop down and out of the equation. Because that’s what happens when we burn out. It’s an amazing gift for our families when we don’t starve ourselves from the oxygen our hearts need. And that might mean take-out for dinner or having a friend help pick up the kids or sleeping in on Saturday while they watch cartoons or anything where you and I can get a moment to breathe and recharge. It’s okay to ask for help, it truly is. And it’s a beautiful thing when you love your own self too.
Listen sometimes life and motherhood is just plain and simple hard. But just because it is hard doesn’t mean you are failing. It just means it’s hard. Don’t let that become a label on what you do.
You see, I appreciate you. I appreciate all the effort you put into being a good mom. So now, when you read this, I want you to take that deep breath and to replace all those places where you’ve been hard on yourself and to tell yourself this:
I am a good mom.
I am a good mom.
Because you are. If you didn’t care about being a good mom you wouldn’t be reading my words. You wouldn’t care. And the fact that you care means that you are not only a good mom, but a great mom.
Thank you for being that.
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