This post is hard to write because it is one of my most painful truths.
Being a mom is the toughest job I have ever had and is where the majority of my self doubt, insecurities and negative self talk lives.
I have never felt like I was one of “those mom’s”… I never felt like I fit in because I didn’t see the joy in parenting.
I lived in a place of frustration, loss of control, anger and yes, I even danced in resentment.
I didn’t know (and hell still don’t) what I was doing, how I was supposed to feel and what being a mom was really all about.
I measured myself against “those mom’s”.. the cookie bakers, the ones who’s kids behaved, were well put together, well fed and participated in as many activities as they could with their little ones.
I don’t bake cookies,
had have a hard time getting down, playing and staying present with my kids, don’t enjoy play groups or making small talk and am not interested in keeping company with the latest and greatest community gossip.
When my two oldest boys were young I did everything I could to move away from being a parent and the discomfort that came with this role.
I immersed myself in my business and started my journey into the competitive world of fitness and figure competitions. I developed my business skills, coaching skills, nutrition knowledge and fitness education. I ROCK in my professional world and I LOVE IT!
I made myself BUSY as a way of avoiding my life, avoiding the discomfort and avoiding the piece of me that I didn’t want to look at. The ultimate role for a woman.
I had picked up the story that I wasn’t meant to be a mother and was missing the gene that made me WANT to be a mom. I dug my teeth into my perceived limitations, my weakness and my “less than” feelings and made this my truth of why I was failing at motherhood.
I yelled often, loudly and had fierce mommy tantrums.
Even as I sit here writing this the tears of disappointment are welling up. It is so easy for me to pick up this old stick and give myself a whack.
But it is time to move on and burn that old stick.
I measured myself and my quality as a mom, against others and against my own perspective of what motherhood should look like and feel like. I didn’t measure up so it was easy to perpetuate my BIG FAT LIE about sucking at parenting.
My yelling and controlling ways were a lame attempt to hold it together. If only THEY would behave then I would feel better. This was the biggest lie of all.
I was not O.K. and no amount of yelling or trying to control was making me feel better. It just made me feel more out of control and more pathetic as a mom. I felt like I was failing my kids and failing myself.
Fast forward… my oldest are now 14 and 12.
My baby is 2.5
Yes, I went back and did it again.
A lot has changed in my life and it all started with ME and NOT with my kids.
You see my boys were showing up everyday as they were meant to. Playful, full of beans, growing, learning and needing love. They just need me to be present and they only needed my love.
When they were fighting me at bed time it was because they could read my energy… the unspoken vibe I was giving off under the surface which was “hurry up so I can go sit down, work and GET MY STUFF DONE”.
They were inconveniences in my busy life and the resistance they kept tossing out was just matching my own resistance of being present.
Ouch. I would have never been able to admit to or say this at the time. Deep shame and guilt kept me locked in tantrums and emotional outburst. It was easier to stay angry and rage away in frustration than to admit to how I was really feeling.
My life is no longer chaotic because I have done some serious inner emotional work on, gotten honest about what being “busy” was really masking for me and I have created new truths about myself as a mom, business woman, partner and individual.
I can be successful, love my work, take care of MY needs AND be a GREAT mom.
My kids don’t care that I don’t bake cookies but they DO care that I am there to listen and give them my time to be fully present when they are speaking.
They don’t care that I can’t make every sporting event but they DO care that I can celebrate their accomplishments and hold them tightly when they succeed or stumble.
I don’t rush Jake off to bed in the evening so I can hurry back to work and instead read to him while being fully present in the moment. I don’t even remember reading to my oldest two when they were his age.
Work can wait and it was my responsibility to reflect on my days, and create the space to do what I need during work hours so that I could give myself the gift of being with my family.
It is not just a gift to my family. Slowing down to be with them, to no longer be yelling, stressed out, strung out, anxious and exhausted is a gift to ME.
They are not counting how many hours I log with them and understand that the quality of time we have together talking, hugging, holding hands and snuggling (yes, even my 14 year old still likes to curl up with me and will hold my hand when we are out walking) MATTERS.
Even with all the emotional beatings I gave myself wishing I would have been a better parent in my boys younger years they have turned into amazing young men. They are loving, kind and genuine and I am proud of them and the men they are growing into AND I acknowledge that who I am as a parent played a role in who they are. I spent so much time looking at what I was doing wrong, I never gave myself any kudo’s for what I was doing right.
So this is what I have learned and embrace as I continue to work the parenting spectrum from toddler to teenager.
There is no perfect “mom” and you can’t measure your worth as a parent against anyone else.
The only one who can make you feel good enough as a mom is you.
The only one who can forgive yourself is you.
The only one who can tell you that you aren’t ruining your kids is you.
The most important person who needs to value and celebrate your worth as a mom is YOU.
Cultivating a healthier relationship with yourself is what allows you truly SHOW UP in your life as a parent, as a partner and as the unique and beautiful individual you are.
This is dedicated to all the ferocious, passionate, loving and too hard on themselves mom’s that I know and love.
We are all in this together and we are all doing our best.
This Mother’s day put down your stick and give yourself a high five on a job well done… not done perfectly but done with love, forgiveness and kindness to yourself.
To be the best mom you can be, starts with being the best YOU and learning to admire and embrace the qualities that you bring to your family.
Thank you to my own special mom for being there for me even when I didn’t see it. For being in my corner even when I didn’t think you were. For loving me when I wasn’t very lovable and for letting me be perfectly imperfect as your daughter. Thank you mom for sticking by me when I am sure that I tested your belief in your ability as a good parent. You were and you are and I love you.
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