By Dr John Demartini
Mothers often feel conflicted about how they have parented. One moment, they’re giving themselves a high five for a rad day and the next they’re feeling guilty AF. But often when you’re feeling really sh*tty, it’s actually because of a whole list of factors like setting unrealistic expectations, unfairly judging yourself or even comparing yourself to others. It’s true, NO ONE will see themselves as ‘perfect’ if they compare themselves to unreal idealisms (such as perfect #instamums) and if they have unrealistic expectations on themselves. So just like your bambinos are learning as they go, you are too! So ditch the #mumguilt with these hacks and set yourself up to become a more relaxed, present and fulfilled parent. Yasss!
1 // Avoid the comparison trap
We all want some kind of assurance or confirmation that we are doing things well. So, parents compare themselves to social ideals, people or families who seemingly have their sh*t together and then judge themselves accordingly. But this can create a perception that they are making ‘mistakes’ while raising their children, when in truth no matter what you do, you cannot make a so-called ‘mistake’ unless you compare your actions based upon your own values to someone else’s values. Instead of striving for some fantasy ideal, or trying to be someone else, just BE YOU and choose to love, value and appreciate your unique self and your parenting choices, as well as your children.
2 // Ditch the guilt complex
Sometimes mothers struggle to juggle work, life and motherhood. They feel guilty for falling short of possibly unrealistic expectations in some way – for leaving the kids while they go to work or when they are with the kids, feeling ashamed for not building and focusing on a career. But instead of feeling guilty, make a list of everything that’s occupying space and time in your mind which you feel shame and guilt about. Then write down how it served whoever’s involved and how it served you. This does two things – it clears your mind, so you are not carrying unnecessary burdens and it also helps you to see both sides of the equation more objectively. By inventorying and then prioritising your actions at home and at work, and delegating as much as possible, you reduce the probability of having this unnecessary guilt.
3 // Lean into the challenges
Every parent wants the best for their children, but overprotecting them sets up false securities and doesn’t prepare them for the balanced realities of resilient daily life. Children need challenges to facilitate the birth of innovation, creation, solution and opportunity. Parents overprotecting their children from all forms of discomfort, simply creates internal challenges for them. If you attempt to remove all challenges, discomforts and pains from your child’s life they will miss out on all that it can teach them. Maximum growth and development occurs at the border of comfort and ‘uncomfort,’ support and challenge.
4 // Avoid the ‘perfect’ mother trap
Many mothers try to be socially ideal and story book ‘perfect’ which creates a tendency to criticise themselves in many ways. Guilt creeps in when work or socialising disallows them from spending enough time with their children, and other’s expectations can also add to the already existing pressure. Stop and ask yourself how each of your actions is assisting your children and you will soon realise that no matter what you do or don’t do, you are playing a vital role in helping them grow and develop. Just know you are ‘perfect’ as you are. Celebrate being a mother and take the time to be grateful for your wisdom, love and your intention to nurture and expand your child’s potential. Probe deeper into your daily actions and see how they are all on the way and not in the way of loving your children.
5 // Be an inspiration
Every child wants to learn and grow, it is inherent in the very core of their nature. They simply love to learn what is uniquely valuable to them. Wisdom is to honour every child for who they are as they are. Take the time to look for your child’s unique genius, as when you see it, you are able to help them see it for themselves. Give your child the opportunity to be who they are. Encourage them to go after what they value and see how they develop as they do what they love. Help your child to link what they currently see important with areas that they are not inspired to learn. This will help them grow in the best way.
Dr John Demartini is a human behaviour specialist, International best-selling author, educator, founder of the Demartini Institute. He has featured in films including The Secret, appearing on Larry King Live, and regularly contributes to Oprah Magazine.