Step into my office. Have a seat on my comfortable couch. Lean in and listen. I'm about to give you some free therapy. Don't worry, you need to hear this. We all do. And you will feel better afterwards. You will leave feeling lighter. You will be more empowered. It's time to expose the lies.
I'm a firm believer that how we think influences how we behave. What we believe about ourselves impacts what we do. If you change what you believe, then you are ultimately able to change what you do. I'm not just talking about the effects of positive thinking we've all heard about. I'm talking about what new research in cognitive neuroscience confirms. If you change your brain, you change your life. And this research shows us that an actual physical transformation occurs in the brain when we change our thought patterns, thus leading to behavioral, emotional, social, and environmental changes.
So, what does this have to do with moms? Well, as moms we are not just hard on ourselves; we are extremely critical of ourselves. Sometimes this criticism takes the form of lies we unintentionally believe about ourselves. And those lies impact how we love ourselves and the others around us. The more we choose to believe the lies, the more deeply ingrained and automatic they become.
Today, let's expose those lies. Because the first step to combating them is to be aware of them. They can no longer control you if you choose to recognize them as lies and replace them with truth.
Lies Moms Tell Themselves
I'm not enough. I should be doing more. I don't have what it takes. I'm not cut out for this. I'm not strict enough. I'm not lenient enough. I'm not breastfeeding enough. I'm not good at sleep training. I'm not good at baby wearing. I don't play with them enough. I don't leave them alone enough. I'm not smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough. This lie that you're not enough--it's causing you to worry. A lot. And your kids don't think this about you at all. They adore you. The truth is you are enough. You are exactly what your child needs. You are beautiful, unique, and strong.
This lie also comes up in the area of comparison. _____ is better at this than me. I'm not as good at this as her. If only I could be as _____ as her. Don't let comparison steal your joy! You be you. After all, you are the best at being you. No one else can quite do that!
I'm a bad mom. Something is wrong with me. I must be defective. I'm so different. I'm so weird. I can't do anything right. No matter how hard I try, I get it wrong. I am a failure. I'm a bad friend. I'm a bad partner. I'm just bad. Are you less than perfect? Of course. We all are. But don't put yourself in this category every time you mess up. You may have bad moments, but you are not bad as a whole. You are doing a much better job than you think you are! Perspective is key here.
I'm messing my kid up. She's getting all my bad characteristics. She's destined to repeat my behavior. She'll have the same relationship problems as me. Most moms have considered this to a certain degree. We've worried about the impact we have on our children and think we may cause them trouble in the future. While it is normal to have concern about your child's well being, don't allow this lie to take root and wreak havoc on your parenting. Love can cover a multitude of mistakes and redemption is a real thing!
This is all my fault. I'm the reason my child is misbehaving at school. It's my fault she is making poor grades. She's disrespectful because of my poor parenting. Your child is not just an extension of you, she is also an individual. She's capable of making her own decisions. She is responsible for her own behavior. Don't give yourself too much credit here. A child's behavior is a combination of biological, sociological, and psychological influences. While we do have an enormous impact on them, we can't be 100% responsible for everything they do.
I'm doing this wrong. I'm so wrong. I can't do anything right. I'm uncertain how to handle this. I can't really be sure of what my child needs. I can't be trusted. I can't trust myself. I'm missing the mark. I can't figure it out. There is not one right way to be a good parent. There are many different ways! Be strong in what you believe, and don't allow the judgment of others to sway you. You are doing so many things right! Give yourself a pat on the back!