There I was, sitting at my daughter’s birthday party, when I realized that we moms are awfully tough on ourselves. I just had two of my close friends apologize and ask for forgiveness in the same day, when there was really no reason to do so. They felt guilty over something that I wasn’t even concerned about. Why do we often feel the need to apologize for every mistake we make? Why can’t busy moms forgive themselves- because of the things that don’t get done, being late, losing patience, etc? We often seem to have impossibly high expectations of ourselves. We need to make the best meals or make every practice or have the most organized home. If we fall short of those expectations, we call ourselves “idiot” or “scatterbrained” or “the worst mother ever.” I’m just as guilty of this as anyone. However, this negative self-talk is not only unproductive, it can be damaging, as seen in this article.
Why do women have a hard time forgiving themselves? It seems to go back to the mother’s guilt that we all succumb to at some point in our lives. As little girls, we’re taught to be polite, thoughtful, not to complain. We’re supposed to look pretty and be nice to everyone. We’re supposed to live up to completely unreal images of stick thin models. If we fail in one of these categories, then we are judged and feel guilty about it. This continues as we become mothers and wives. Shame on you if you don’t live up to the standards seen on Instagram or Pinterest. Ironically, what we need to realize is that every mother struggles with the idea of perfection, but no one is truly perfect. That is what makes us all part of this crazy human race. Because of that, every busy mom has to learn to let go of what she can’t control or can’t get done and forgive herself.
I love this article and video by Marie Forleo, especially the quote about forgiveness being a sign of courage and strength. The article focuses on forgiveness of others, but it can translate to forgiveness of ourselves as well. We as busy moms need to lighten up on ourselves. We are all here to do the best job we can do in raising our children. Plus, we can’t forget that self-care is just as important as caring for our family. If you mentally put yourself down all of the time, you can’t be a fully present parent. If you never take a time out for yourself, you will eventually become broken down- either physically, mentally or emotionally. Take it from me, your family will take notice if you are worn down and not able to give of yourself as you used to.
Try this the next time you have a negative thought about yourself:
- Take a deep breath, expanding the rib cage fully, and then slowly blow it out.
- Turn the negative thought into a positive one: ex- instead of saying, “I’m such an idiot for forgetting the milk”, say “We can get by a day or two longer without the milk, it’s not a big deal.”
- Take another deep breath and as you’re exhaling tell yourself “I forgive myself.”
This exercise only takes a minute, but can retrain your mind to stop being so negative, even if you don’t quite believe it yet. Eventually you might even be able to stop a negative thought in its tracks. You and your family deserve to have the best version of you which can only happen if you learn to forgive yourself.
Joyful thought for the day, “Love yourself, accept yourself, forgive yourself and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.”- Leo F. Buscaglia