In many ways, the challenges and disruptions created by the pandemic have made being a mother even harder, when most of us already felt stretched and inadequate and unqualified in the job.
Our brains are really good at exaggerating our faults and our challenges and simultaneously underestimating our capacity and our accomplishments. They tell us that we’re failing our kids, that we’re never enough, that we can’t meet all their needs, that it should be easier than it is, and that our kids are suffering because of us.
But these thoughts don’t make us better mothers and in so many ways they add to our pain. This episode is for all the mamas out there. I’ll show you how the thoughts your brain offers you about your unworthiness and failures and shortcomings are not only painful, unproductive, and sabotaging the amazing work you are doing, but most importantly…they are 100% optional. And we can decide to think about ourselves and our mothering in a completely different way.
As mothers, our brain is worried about our survival and the survival of our young. And so it offers lots of thoughts about our shortcomings to prevent bad things from happening to us or them. Unfortunately, these thoughts do not make us better mothers and they often create more pain and suffering in an already challenging role. Here are some of the thoughts that our brain loves to offer us as well as the thoughts that you can choose to believe instead.
1. You are failing.
I want to offer you is the idea that there is no such thing has failure. You cannot fail. You may not meet your own expectations and your children may not meet your expectations, but the only problem is the expectation. Your expectation is not lining up with reality. We relieve so much of our own suffering when we embrace what is….when we have compassion for ourselves and our children and not need things to be different than they are.
The expectation is the only problem.
Right now notice how in your work with your kids the only painful parts are because your expectations aren’t lining up with what is.
2. You aren’t enough for your kids.
Decide to believe that you are more than enough and that what you have to give is exactly what your kids need. I love this thought. I love knowing that Heavenly Father loves my children even more than I do. And he didn’t just causally, unknowingly drop his precious children into my dangerous, incapable hands.
He knows in every way what I am capable of and if I am not enough, then I am not enough in the exact ways my children need to learn the lessons they came to learn.
If he wanted them to have a mother with unlimited capacity, he would have kept them home with Him, with their heavenly parents. He didn’t want that. He didn’t want them to have a mother with unlimited capacity. He wanted them to have me. What makes you the best mother you can be is the thought that you are the best mother for your children. They deserve the exact learning experience you will provide for them. If not, they would not be yours.
3. Motherhood is supposed to be easy, and it’s supposed to be blissful.
Motherhood is 50/50. 50% positive emotion. 50% negative emotion. 50% best job in the world. 50% worst job in the world. It doesn’t mean you are bad because you are having a 50/50 experience. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids. It doesn’t mean your kids deserve a mother who loves every moment of it. It means you are right on track. If you simply drop your judgment of yourself for the 50% negative parts you will immediately eliminate so much unnecessary suffering.
4. Your kids are doing it wrong and it’s probably your fault. (Or your kids are suffering and it’s probably your fault.)
Underneath it all is the sneaky thought that they shouldn’t do it wrong and they shouldn’t suffer. Both of which are totally untrue. They actually came to earth to do both. Do it wrong. And suffer. That’s the plan. Notice how if they are supposed to do it wrong or if they are supposed to suffer, then it’s not a problem even if it was your fault.
One final thought that helped me tremendously is the idea that there are only perfect parents.
You are one.
You had one.
There are only perfect parents.
Your children were sent to you by a loving Heavenly Father who knows you are imperfect. He knows all of your problems. He knows all of your weaknesses and he sent your children to you…because of that.
There are certain experiences that your children needed to have and many of those are only provided by an imperfect parent and you have the exact imperfections that your children need to learn and grow while they are here. Which makes you, even when you do it “wrong” perfect for them.