Are you tired of being judged?
- The last hour on the iPad wasn't enough? Do you want to numb his brain even more?
- Nice lunch you made today, nuggets again?!
- Do you think you'll try washing your laundry or are you just going to let your kids sift through the dirty hamper?
- All that screaming should really help with their self-esteem issues, hope you're saving up for the psychiatrist...
What kind of mother says that to another mother? What kind of person is so cruel and judgmental?
Me. I'm judgmental.
I bet you are too. Not with other Moms. These voices are in your head all day. The script may be different but the sentiment is the same.
- You suck.
- You are a horrible mother.
- You have one job and you can't even get that right.
Perhaps you have two jobs. One that includes raising your family and keeping up with household responsibilities and one that you get a paycheck for or one that you put your heart and soul into which is a personal passion. That is when these voices work extra hard to let you know you can't keep up with either one.
How can you get anything done when you are reminded of how inept you are? How can you give your children all the love in your heart when all you feel is inadequacy? Not that you don't give them love, you do. In fact, you love them so much you are afraid to ruin them. You are frightened of how your choices might affect them. You feel such intense pressure to do all the right things that you become overwhelmed. Ultimately you become unable to do anything at all without getting angry with yourself which then overflows to your kids and then you yell at them.
This has to stop. You need to give yourself a break. Forgive yourself for all the things that you see as a flaw or a mistake. If you have a rough day, instead of focusing on what you did wrong use this as an opportunity to change how you do things to improve. When you forgive, you gain clarity to get past the problem and find a solution.
Forgiveness opens you up to seeing things differently. When you are too busy beating yourself up about what an awful example of motherhood you are, you may be missing out some advantages of going against the elusive perfection.
1. Messiness fosters creativity
I know some of my friends will disagree, but you can't argue with science. You can read the report in the journal of Psychological Science HERE, but basically, it concludes that "Disorder Produces Creativity." So when you are running around, checking things off your to-do list and none of them include cleaning your living room or washing your laundry, rest assured that you are creating the perfect environment for that budding artist to thrive in your home.
2. Letting your kids figure things out on their own makes them self-sufficient and resilient
If you are always entertaining your kids, doing everything for them, keeping their schedule full and organized than you are limiting their independence. They need to struggle, they need to use critical thinking to solve problems on their own, they need to make decisions without you in order to build their self-esteem.
3. Allowing them to be bored, forces them to use their imagination
I know it feels like your responsibility to constantly be filling your kids with educational experiences but the truth is that they excel when left to their own devices. When they are trying to relieve their boredom, they pretend, come up with fun games and create cool art. They may come up with the next cool app, write the next great movie saga or become the next Picasso!
4. If kids are left to work out their differences, it teaches them conflict resolution and compromise
When you are watching them like a hawk and resolving any issue they may have with either their siblings or their friends, they are not practicing how to handle their own social challenges. Obviously, you need to teach them appropriate behavior and they may need some direction, but they can learn a lot from working things out on their own.
5. Watching you work hard instills that same ethic in your children
When you are putting your heart into balancing life, work, and your passion it takes a lot of work. It does not go unnoticed by your children. You are teaching them that life does not just hand you everything on a silver platter. You are demonstrating to them that you have to show up and take action every day to succeed. Creating a life you love takes focus, determination and persistence.
6. When you forgive yourself for being imperfect and accept who you are right now, you will feel a sense of peace. When you are not trying to be this unattainable version of you, your patience and compassion will increase. You will find yourself yelling less and loving more. So the next time you hear that voice inside you being critical of your choice to pursue your dreams, or for falling behind with the housekeeping remember that loving your authentic self will create the happiness you and your family deserves.
Patricia is the creator of the epic summer event Camp Mom, helping Moms ignite their inner spark through fun and learning.