Whirling and swirling, you hear things like:
- You aren’t doing a good job
- She doesn’t deal with her son that way
- Would my mother do it like this?
- What does everything think if I raise my voice?
- What if I lose control?
These are just some of the things I hear in my head when I have doubts about being a mother. I feel inadequate at times, and the mental stress I cause myself can really be negative. I know that these feelings will never go away as a parent, but there are some things you can do to tone down the harsh verbal attack on yourself.
Personally, I have made a list of things to say to myself when the attack begins. I wrote them down at one point, but now I have them memorized. Some of these comfort sentences are:
- You are new at this, and so is Max
- It is a learning process that didn’t come with a manual entitled “How to Be a Mother”
- Women have been mothers since the beginning of time, and you aren’t alone in this challenge
- You rock!
Although this is very helpful, you may find yourself reaching a point where you can’t get your emotions in check. Interesting, this is much like when our kids go into tantrum mode! If I get to this point, I call for help. I am a single mother, so I don’t have a mate to call on. In my case, I usually call one of my sisters. It is so helpful when one or all three comes to the rescue.
For example, just having one of my sisters come over and give Max a bath, so I can mop the kitchen floor in thought. Cleaning happens to be a very therapeutic task for me, and I find that I am able to gain composure giving the base boards a good scrub.
It is really being comfortable in knowing that you are going to make mistakes, and sometimes you are going to do things that other people don’t agree with. I offer no remedy to harsh criticism, for I struggle with feeling inadequate a lot, but coming up with a plan to prevent a full-blown adult tantrum is a great way to take care of yourself.
I look forward to hearing your methods of fighting inadequate feelings!