Being a mother is no easy task. We work non-stop doing the best that we can for our children and most of the time we end up feeling inadequate in some way or another.
We say it to ourselves all the time. “I’m a bad mother because I sent cookies in little Tommy’s snack instead of fresh fruit”, “I’m a bad mother for forgetting to dress Suzie in pajamas for the school PJ day” or “I’m a bad mother because I missed tucking the kids in for a late night meeting.”
Why You Should Ignore Your Bad Mother Feelings
We forget that we are all juggling many roles and desperately trying to do well in all of them. How you feel about yourself as a mother is
directly linked to the expectations you set for yourself.
Most moms suffer from the “perfect mom” syndrome. The reality is that there is no such thing as a “perfect mom”. At a deeper level we know this yet we continue to set these unrealistic expectations on ourselves. And so we feel bad.
And to fuel these feelings even more we start comparing ourselves to other moms. Or even worse, we start comparing our children to others. Before we know it we are caught in a cycle of good old ugly feelings! So what to do?
Many of us are still carrying around an old script in our minds of needing to be the perfect little girl. We’ve created the idea that everything will be okay if we work harder and become perfect.
This idea is a fantasy, created as a coping mechanism when we were children. When we feel stressed, we often revert to those old coping mechanisms.
So in the stresses of daily life and mothering, mothers often strive for that “perfection” and feel badly when they don’t achieve it. Unconsciously, they worry that things will not be okay if they are not perfect.
The key to countering these feelings is to have a more balanced way of thinking. There is plenty of evidence that what you are doing as a mother is more than good enough.
3 Ways to Cope with Perfect Mom Syndrome
#1: Whenever you start to feel “not good enough” recognize the stress you are feeling and look for ways to release it. Go for a walk, take a few long, slow deep breaths or put on the music and have everyone dance.
#2: Look for evidence to support the idea that you are a good mother. Like the times you comforted your child, shuttled them to countless lessons or stayed up all night when they were sick. Trust me – there are many examples.
#3: Debunk the fantasy. Being perfect won’t actually change anything. It’s a myth, a fantasy. Recognize when you are in fantasyland and come back to reality. Living in fantasy always ends up being sad and a disappointment because it doesn’t exist. Reality, with the good, the bad and the ugly, is a much more secure and ultimately satisfying place to live.
Let’s forget about being “perfect” mothers and start being “real” mothers!
Want more tips on dealing with mom guilt? Grab a copy of the Mothers on Fire book Becoming a Mother on Fire: A Guide to Being a Mom Without Losing Yourself