We can end up feeling like a parenting failure when we fall short of the pressures we feel. Here’s why we need to be kind to ourselves.
With so much focus on parenting these days, it’s easy to feel like we failed. We may harbor feelings we’re too scared or feel guilty to admit. We feel frustrated when things don’t go as planned or expected. When, despite our best efforts, kids still misbehave or can’t sleep through the night.
The house is a mess. Work is hard. We have no breaks. We might even wonder if we’re cut out for this motherhood business.
Other times, we assume we should’ve known better or done something different when we get angry at our kids. It doesn’t help when things don’t seem to get better.
We feel so much pressure around us, but I’d guess that most of it comes from within ourselves.
You’re not a parenting failure
We need to be kinder to ourselves. We put too much blame on our shoulders when things don’t go right. It’s time to reverse that and give ourselves the grace and kindness we’d want our kids to give to others.
Need a few reasons?
We’re not perfect
No one will implement all the parenting tips they’ve ever heard, every day, forever. We’re going to mess up. I know I have, and will continue to.
You might yell at your kids right after reading an article on how to not yell at kids. It’s impossible to maintain perfect parenting when we’re just as human and vulnerable.
Kids need to see realistic expectations
We stress out trying to be a perfect mom when doing just that paints an unrealistic picture for our kids. After all, we need to model realistic expectations of what being a mom is to our kids. Stressing out doesn’t help anyone.
Kids need to see a healthy and well-rounded mom, not one too hard on herself. Besides, caring for kids gets more difficult when we feel stressed ourselves. Allow yourself the breaks you deserve, if even just for your kids.
You may be going through a challenge
I had to cut myself a lot of slack during the last few weeks of my twin pregnancy. I struggled with the weight of the pregnancy and all its ensuing complications, then felt guilty for not being the patient mom my three-year-old needed me to be.
But I had to remind myself over and over that it was a temporary challenge. A part of my life that is extra hard at the moment, but will ease up in a few weeks or months.
Whatever obstacles you may be facing, remind yourself that this is a season in your life. And like all seasons, they’ll come and go over time.
You owe it to yourself
We have a lot on our plates. Imagine how your family would function if you took a sudden and extended break for a month. Where you couldn’t plan ahead for your absence—you just had to leave for several weeks. Not a pretty picture, right?
That’s because we do a ton of things at home. We pack morning lunches and do school pick ups. We rock our babies to sleep for each nap. And we plan our weekly meals, shop for the items, and pay all the bills every month.
I’m sure you can add a whole lot more to that list of things you do for your family. When you feel down on yourself, remember how much you already do in your day-to-day life.
Be kind to yourself
So, how can we treat ourselves with more kindness?
- Protect your personal time. This isn’t just a shallow call for more “me” time. Focus on yourself even if it means saying no to family, work, and other obligations. They may function with you feeling stressed in the short-term. But long-term, no one feels good if you’re running empty.
- Don’t dwell on your mistakes. We blame ourselves so much and dwell on past mistakes. Instead, learn from what happened. Use whatever you’re feeling guilty about as tell-tale signs of what you need to fix. It’s not enough to feel guilty—use it to correct weak areas in your life.
- Find support. You are not alone, no matter how you may be feeling. It’s a stigma I wish we could get rid of. That no one else feels the frustration, sadness or pressure you feel. Find that support, whether through friends and family, your partner, or online groups. You’ll lift the weight off your shoulders knowing you’re not carrying it on your own.
Being kind to yourself isn’t a cop out. It’s not a call for all moms to just up and desert their role as mothers in the name of giving ourselves some slack.
But we need to love ourselves first, over anyone else who might be taking that place right now. Our partners and children need moms who prioritize themselves. Only then can we function and be present for others.
And most of all, we need this kindness in our lives. Show yourself the love you’ve been giving to others around you.
You more than deserve it.
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Get more tips:
- Top Parenting Books All Moms and Dads Should Read
- One Technique to Finally Stop Yelling at Your Kids
- 7 Positive Parenting Skills All Moms Need to Have
- On Rediscovering Yourself After Motherhood
- How to Make Time for Yourself (Even If You Have Kids!)
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