Before I had kids, I heard stories about moms who felt guilty, lonely, and inadequate, and I wondered what it was about having kids that kills self-confidence. Oh yeah, it's that part where you are completely responsible for the well-being of another human. Talk about a heavy burden! However, I couldn't blame my kids for my mental state. At the end of the day, it was my own thoughts filling me with self-doubt.
So I quit.
Don't worry, I didn't quit parenting. I quit engaging in all those counterproductive behaviors that were driving me nuts. What a liberating feeling, knowing that you hold the power to quit feeling inadequate, quit feeling judged, and quit feeling stretched too thin. In fact, I want us all to become quitters together. If you're ready to quit with me, this is where you can start.
The mommy wars exist for one sole purpose — because we need to feel that we're doing something right. That all starts with comparison. If we only understood how little others thought about us, we might realize how silly it is to measure our worth against anyone else. The mother down the street doesn't care how I birth, feed, or discipline my children because she's too busy worrying about how to do those things for her kids. And, if she does get all judgy, I don't want her around me anyway.
Just stop! Stop worrying about what other people are doing in their own homes. It's none of your concern. As long as you and your kids are happy, you're doing fine.
Quit over committing
There are only so many hours in the day, and you don't have to fill up every single one with busy work. Does shuttling kids around town make you _feel productive, or do you think it makes you __look___ productive? Those are two very different concepts. Over scheduling your family does not make you super-mom; it only leads to burnout for you and your kids.
Give it a rest and cut back. Everyone needs downtime each day, so build that into your schedule. Pick and choose the activities that mean the most to your family, and stick with it. No need to go overboard.
Quit feeling guilty
No one comes to parenting with the intent to screw up their kids, and lucky for us, kids are remarkably resilient. Who cares if you don't parent by the book or take every piece of advice? Belt it like Elsa and make Let It Go your new mantra for life. Kids ate cereal for breakfast? Let it go. Stack of dirty dishes in the sink? Let it go. Preschooler who still isn't potty trained? Let it go.
Beating ourselves up only makes life harder. If you are trying, you are good enough. No one is perfect, and the best any of us can hope for is being good enough.
Quit insisting everyone like you
I find I'm my most miserable when I'm acting like a teenager. In the real world, there is no homecoming queen, and no one cares who you eat lunch with. For a people pleaser like me, that concept is hard to grasp. We all come with our own likes and dislikes, so it's unrealistic to think that every person you meet will fall in love with your inherent charm and winning personality.
In fact, if everyone likes you, chances are that you're hiding your true self from the world. Take a risk and stand up for what you believe in, even if it makes you unpopular. I would rather be interesting than universally liked any day.
Moms, we have better things to do than play head games with ourselves. We have children to raise, and those kids need us emotionally present and available. It's not easy getting past our insecurities, but it is oh so worth it in the end. Go on — be a quitter. I bet you'll surprise yourself with all the things you'll gain.