I keep a running list in my head of all the things I think I should do to be considered a good mom. It’s like a manual or instruction guide that I can refer to anytime to make sure I’m doing the “right” things as a mother.
Just like my girls, the list grows and changes daily but you can bet it usually looks something like this:
I will not upset my daughters.
I will be present. (i.e. I will put my iPhone down.)
I will never yell at my kids.
I will be patient.
I will drop whatever I’m doing when my daughters need me.
I will not work full time until they are grown.
I will never let my kids watch TV just because I’m tired.
I will only feed my daughters whole foods.
And on and on and on.
Most moms I know have a Motherhood Manual like mine but don’t actually realize it. They believe their rules are non-negotiable truths about what it takes to be a good mom. They don’t know where their rules came from or why they’re choosing to believe them but they are totally invested in following them.
When I was a new mom, I too went about my days blindly trying to live right by my Motherhood Manual. When I stuck to its rules, I felt worthy as a mom. But when I failed, I questioned if I’d ever be good enough. My clients do the same thing without ever recognizing that they created the rules - and that it's ok to break them.
Now when I see my list on paper, I recognize it for the laughable Supermom Manifesto that it is. I can even see that I wouldn’t like the mom I’d be if I followed all my rules. (Let’s be honest: no one likes a perfect person – especially one that acts like a Stepford Wife.)
But when that list sits in my head, unacknowledged, I feel constant pressure to be more, give more and achieve more. I live my life chasing impossible goals and waste far too much time judging myself for not meeting them. So when I catch myself adhering too strictly to my manual, I check-in with myself by asking these four questions. You can too.
1. What are the expectations, rules and standards you think you have to follow in order to feel like a good mom? (Write them down. This is your Motherhood Manual.)
2. How would you feel if you followed all the rules on your list?
3. How would your thoughts about yourself change if you achieved everything in your Motherhood Manual?
4. What do you make it mean about yourself if you don’t meet the standards you’ve set in your manual? (Do you make it mean you’re a bad mom? Unloveable? A failure?)
After completing these questions, I get perspective. I can see my manual for what it is and I remember I have a choice to keep living by it or to rewrite it in a way that’s more authentic to who I am and who I want to be.
And that’s a pretty powerful thing.
To believing your time is now,
P.S. If you want to talk one-on-one about your Motherhood Manual and come up with ways to change it, book a free coaching call with me today.