Getting ahead of the Mum guilt and how it can be done.
What isn't spoken about enough is the creeping feeling that moves in day in and day out that as a Mum, we just may not be getting things quite right. Whether we have forgotten to return the slip for the school trip, or we just couldn't keep our eyes open to read the stroy at bed time, or my favourite, putting them infront of a screen whilst you get through the admin pile that hasn't been touched in god knows how long. Yeah, it all mounts up, and it builds and it becomes overbearing sometimes. When do we know how to stop and take a step back from those constant overbearing thoughts that we just aren't getting it right. WE DO THE BEST WE CAN WITH WHAT WE HAVE Easier said than done right... Yes of course it is. Remember we have all these rules that we hold ourselves up against whether they come from inner morals and our own measurements, accompanied with social media and societal norms, the school playground, and importantly when it moves specifically into questioning our own self esteem and belief - thats where I want to pin this down right now. That's when it needs to be tackled and we need the tools to reign it in before it becomes too big an elephant of the mind to handle. I've spent the last 6 weeks feeling pretty shitty about all the things I haven't been able to accomplish or do. I wanted so many things checked off a huge to do list so that by the time baby arrived I wouldn't have to worry. Hey, NEWS FLASH. That list NEVER ends nor stops. That is a fact of life and that is a hell of a lot of pressure taken off when I accepted that. My daughters are absolutely fine, they understand that I can't run in the park, they understand my body is going through a process to get their baby brother here and they have been bloody wonderful. Some days though, I've felt so guilty for needing that nap, or not going somewhere I said we would because I have felt so sickly and unwell. They've been great though, they know whats what. As I got to the end of my pregnancy and I have been waiting for baby to arrive, I've tried to plan and protect my family by organising everything to the heavens. Guess what? That didn't work either. LET GO OF THE OUTCOME, TRUST THE PROCESS So I took inwards, I got out the journal and I wondered what the heck was going on for me to feel so compelled to be living to lists, time restrictions and expectations that I was only creating of myself. There was a lot to be thankful for, there was a lot of transitions to be aware of and maybe it was time to try a different tactic. I started to let go of the outcome, trusting and believing in myself that no matter what I did nor didn't do, it would all work out how its supposed to be and be okay with it. No amount of ticking boxes or trying to control the outcome would help me feel relaxed in the process. Okay, that sounds cliche but seriously, ask yourself these questions - If it doesn't get done today, what is the worst that will happen?
If I don't complete XYZ, how will my children suffer? If I haven't achieved 123 by the end of today, what remains the same? Do you get my jist Mama? I did it, I asked myself those questions in relation to different points on my really big to do list and what came back - Nothing will really fall apart, I won't be any less of a Mum and everything will be okay. Try them too. MUM GUILT - Occurs when we feel we haven't accomplished something we set ourselves the target and hold ourselves responsible.
- When we aren't living to our own means and needs holistically, and checking in with what we need physically, emotionally and mentally as Mum, as a priority. You can't pour from an empty cup.
- An unhealthy mindset habit that causes damage to our self-esteem and self-worth. - Preconceived ideas of what makes us a good Mum and if we aren't reaching them, are we failing? Have we failed already? You can see how all these set the tone for unwanted negative thoughts and beliefs and images we create of ourselves. We are Mums, mothers, superwomen in our own right - however we get the job done of our children being loved, appreciated, safe, secure and healthy - are we really getting much wrong if we are achieving that? TIPS FOR WORKING WITH MUM GUILT 1. Creating your own boundaries - YES, we need to have some with ourselves too so that we don't allow thoughts to run wild, catastrophize and overwhelm us. When I find the shitty bitty parrot on my shoulder telling me all the negative things about myself, I stop it dead in its track and say no, we aren't doing this...I write down the three negative beliefs I'm telling myself and I unpick them. I completely contradict them with 3 facts and truths that need to be heard - because in that moment, I know I need to redefine my mindset and not allow myself to get carried away with unhealthy negative beliefs. 2. Refill your Cup - Overwhelm, burnout, chasing our own tails. We all do this, and we all know when its creeping in. I am huge believer that taking just 10 minutes out of my day to meditate, journal or focus on something that brings joy to my day. Our days are busy enough, and sometimes finding 10 minutes is hard enough, I get that. But its 10 minutes of filling up your well, that helps decrease stress and can help you reframe your day if you are feeling and thinking of all that overwhelm. 3. Be okay with what YOU are okay with - dismissing expectations of others and being clear with yourself about what you are happy to tolerate. This can be a tricky one but once you start living on your own terms and instinctively as well as responsively as a parent, it removes the pressure from the other sources. It allows you to step into your power as the Mama you know you are, and say, this is how I am happy to run my ship and take strength and confidence in knowing that noone knows better what your family needs than you. I have worked with so many Mums who immerse themselves in guilt for not being able to reach the huge expectations they have set for themselves, but there is a way around it, and there is a way to manage it, sometimes we just have to look inwards and give ourselves a break. Still not sure where to start? Or feel like you are still stuck in this mindset rut? We have a few workshops coming up to help you get a head start on working with Mum guilt and giving you clearer mindset and outlook for your own wellbeing. Why not join our The Mindful Mummy FREE 5 day Mindfulness Challenge starting Monday 18th October on Facebook. We also have our online The Mindful Mummy Stress Less Workshop on Monday 1st November. Be kind to yourself Mama Rhay The Mindful Mummy x