This post is in response to conversations I regularly hear and see online by moms who put themselves down. I've done it myself. Even in jest it's not funny. We women spend an inordinate amount of time putting ourselves down and it needs to stop. Sure we all have good days and days that could have been a little better but I don't know any really lame moms.
If your children are fed and clothed and greeted with a smile and a big hug then you are a pretty amazing mom. If you help them with their homework and keep your sanity you're doing a pretty fantastic job.
But you do not have to do everything spectacularly and better than every other woman in the world. You do not have to have elaborate birthday parties and invite the whole neighborhood and then film it and make sure it's seen on a party planning site online for millions to see. I'm exaggerating here but does it help you to see the absurdity of obsessive motherhood behaviors? You don't even have to have a birthday party for Pete's sake!
Really I'm not joking. I am surprised to realize that some people really think they kids must have a over the top, elaborate birthday party extravaganza with friends EVERY year. It's not a must and some of the happiest birthday kids I've seen are kids whose parents made a special day with just them or just the family and made them the center of attention rather than all of the parent's attention on the perfection of some crazy, over the top cake creation and party favors.
I'm mean c'mon, who is the party for? You and your crafty Pinterest birthday board gathering self or the kiddo???? Kiddos want your full attention way more than they want all the stuff. That is until they can't get your attention and decide to just go for the stuff instead. Then watch out.
You don't have to be Super Mom and in fact the more you try the less your family and friends really likes you. Hello painful truth.
Here's why. When we constantly talk down about ourselves and try to overshoot every mark, whether it's life critical or not, we end up very unhappy, stressed out, and ungrateful for what we have -- and guess who gets all the fallout for that....your kids and your spouse, your friends, your associates. Everyone around you feels that and it's not fun to be around someone like that.
Stop overreaching for marks that aren't necessary. Stop putting yourself down in front of your kids or to your friends or to strangers for that matter. You are not a lame mom and there's no real win to saying things about yourself like that anywhere.
No more saying, "I'm such a lame mom," or "Great mom, huh?" or "#momfail" or anything that is unkind to you. When we say or write these things I think in reality what we're saying is "I care too much about what other people think of me. I could better spend more time just being me and being happy."
Would you put down your friends like this when you see them having a challenging day or dealing with an unruly kid? Don't you think this would crush your friends to hear things like this from your mouth? Then what is it doing to your sweet heart when you say these things about yourself?
Do you want to hear your kids saying these things about themselves? Do you want them to feel like they are crummy people and later crummy parents all the time? Are we teaching them to overreact with feelings of failure to small things like a burned dinner or forgotten appointment?
Then we have to stop saying them to ourselves, in front of our kids or face to face with anyone. Instead let me challenge you to start saying, "I did well today," or "I did the best I could do with what I had to work with today, that's a win," or "If I loved them enough, it was a successful day."
Often our most mundane days are actually filled with greatness if we will but look through different glasses. Be kind to yourself. Stop saying mean things. Don't set this tone as an example for others or do anything to make it trendy, socially acceptable or a habit for anyone else. You deserve better. You are too good for that kind of talk and your responsibilities are too valuable and wonderful to spend any time tearing yourself down and thus weakening your positive impact.
Having said all this, this does not just apply to moms. It applies to people at all stages of life and every setting. We need to be kinder to ourselves.
I wrote about a similar subject for the I AM ENOUGH project a few years ago. Here's a link to a painful awakening I had learning to be kinder to myself.
image by kalanicut