Being a mother has been touted the “hardest job in the world”, and for good reason. The pay stinks (low or non-existent), the hours are long (your are always on call), and there is very little “Thanks” for a job well done. Sometimes the self-imposed SHOULDs or “Deadly Thoughts” held by mothers can make their already difficult job nearly impossible. This year Mom, give your self a Mother’s Day treat by lightening up on yourself. Enjoy!
DEADLY THOUGHT #1: I have to be a “perfect” mother.
REMEDY #1: Recognize there is no such thing as a “perfect” mother. Give yourself permission to be human and make mistakes. Even well educated professionals with advanced degrees such as doctor’s and lawyers refer to their work as “practicing medicine” or “practicing law”. Give yourself permission to be a “practicing mother”.
DEADLY THOUGHT #2: I have to put everybody else’s needs before my own.
REMEDY #2: Your needs are just as important as the rest of the members of the family. Allow yourself a little treat as least once a week. Treat yourself to a pedicure. Set aside 20 minutes for a bubble bath and place a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the bathroom door.
DEADLY THOUGHT #3: I have to do all of the work.
REMEDY #3: Do not be afraid to enlist the help of other family members, including your children, to tackle the household chores. You are actually doing your children a favor by allowing them an opportunity to learn life skills that will enable them to feel competent and self-assured as an adult.
DEADLY THOUGHT #4: I am an inferior Mom, if I cannot afford to buy my child the latest design jeans or the newest toy on the market.
REMEDY #4: Live within your budget. Credit card debt can be a significant stressor. By living within your means, you will be teaching your child by example, how to be financially responsible. You won’t need to take on that second job to pay off the credit card and you’ll be much more pleasant and happy mother.
DEADLY THOUGHT #5: My house needs to be spotless and ready for company at all times.
REMEDY #5: Get over the fact that your house will probably never be on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. What is more important? Having quality time to spend with your kids or being on the cover of some silly old magazine.
DEADLY THOUGHT #6: I need to say, “YES” to any outside request regarding my child.
REMEDY #6: Learn to say “NO” to the barrage of requests that come your way. It’s OK to say “NO” to such requests as baking cookies for your child’s homeroom, carpooling the kids to softball practice, or being a Girl Scout Leader. Only say “YES” only to those activities that you would consider fun or relaxing that fit into your schedule.
DEADLY THOUGHT #7: I have to look like I came off the cover of Glamour magazine.
REMEDY #7: Recognize that you have given birth and that you may no longer have the slim, trim tummy that you had before getting pregnant. It’s OK to pull your hair back in a ponytail or wear a hat, if you’re having a “bad hair” day.
DEADLY THOUGHT #8: I have to be the type of mother portrayed on TV, magazines, and those mushy books dedicated to “dear ole Mom”.
REMEDY #8: You’ve already heard, “only in the movies” before. Don't compare yourself to the TV Moms. They are a figment of someone’s imagination.
DEADLY THOUGHT #9: I have to cook homemade meals, birthday cakes, etc.
REMEDY #9: Be thankful for Sara Lee, the local bakery, and the deli counter in the grocery store along with all of the options for fast food. Cut corners wherever you can, so that you have more time to spend with your kids.
DEADLY THOUGHT #10: Everybody must think I’m a good mother.
REMEDY #10: Let’s face it. Everybody is a critic. Don't let those critical comments made by your in-laws, neighbors, and other busybodies, erode your confidence in your ability as a mother. Remember you are a “practicing mother”. Some days you’ll do better than others. Be kind to yourself and accept your humanity and shortcomings. You are much more likely to the type of mother your want to be, if you lighten up on yourself. DON'T BE YOUR OWN WORST CRITIC!
May you always experience love and joy,
Linda Lovejoy, MA, LMHC
Life and Relationship Coach
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Submitted by: Linda Lovejoy *
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