Do you struggle with mom imposter syndrome? Sometimes as moms we feel like we are just flowing through the motions and the goal at the end of the day is to keep the kids alive. Feed, hydrate and maybe a bath once a week if the battle allows.
Someone tells you that you are an amazing mom and rather than feel that you are, a voice in your head says ‘um, nope, I’m not, this was just one nice thing we did.’ And the thoughts of the times when you weren’t so great, run through your mind.
You think of all the times that you have yelled.
The times when you lost your cool.
The times when you didn’t know the right answer and you were just too tired to find it.
The times when you said ‘no’ a million times and gave in to saying ‘yes’.
The times you went to your bed, curled up and cried.
The times when the overwhelm felt like just too much.
Girl! I got you.
Sometimes our mindsets are filled with criticism and a lack of self-compassion. We say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to others.
We ridicule every move we make and compare ourselves to others whom we view as perfect model mothers.
When in reality we are all doing our best. We are giving our children the best of what we have, the best that we are capable of at that moment.
Sometimes we may fall wayward and allow distractions to takeaway from our family life.
We are all human beings and we all make mistakes.
We need to assess those mistakes and see where we can go from there.
Are we just being a bully to ourselves?
I see this so much in mom groups, I read a post where a mom says “Today I was a shit mom because I…”
You Are Not A Shit Mom!!!
For the most part we all have these moments, these times where life is just exhausting and we put too much on our plate.
Society has overloaded moms with expectations, dads too, but this post is about Mom Imposter Syndrome. Of course, you can change the narrative if you are feeling Dad Imposter Syndrome.
Moms are expected to be super heroes there is this long running expectation in society that has told our minds what we are supposed to be. This conditioning has been going on since the days when feminism was non existent.
We are told to be a great mom, to keep a clean house, to cook homemade meals, to provide valuable teaching moments, to keep up with social interactions and play dates.
All of this on top of the other things society believes we SHOULD do, such as running our own business or working out of the home to teach our daughters independence etc.
There is much that society has made us believe that instills mom imposter syndrome into our beliefs. We will come back to this in a moment but first, let’s see why we are not shit moms shall we.
Reframing Your Mom Imposter Syndrome
Think about 5 things you enjoyed this week as a mother and how you feel like you gave your children something good. Examples: Played a game, laughed with the kids, told them something wonderful about themselves, modelled good behaviour, enjoyed some one on one, dance party etc.
Think about 5 things you did today for your family that fits into the role of motherhood. Examples: Cooked, laundry, housework, baths, an art project, storytime etc.
Think about 1 thing that didn’t go right this week. Example: forgot something important, late for school pick up etc.
From the one thing that went wrong, what can you do to change the outcome in the future?
Form the one thing that went wrong what valuable lesson did your child learn?
My Mom Imposter Syndrome Scenario AKA My Shit Mom Moment
I have a paranoia of forgetting my kids at school so in order to make sure I do not do that I have an alarm on my phone that goes off 5 days a week to ensure I do not get lost in time while I’m busy at work.
FYI Alarms are a great method to prevent forgetting important things. Never in my mind did I think I would need them to not forget my kids, eek!
My paranoia comes from a day when I was busy painting at home and the twins were running around like crazy. I was painting away and using the eyes I the back of my head to ensure they were not setting the house on fire around me.
My phone rang and it was the school principal asking if I was picking up Abby, my oldest daughter. I said something to the reference of “of course I am.”
The clock read 2:15, I still had almost an hour to get her from school so I had no idea why they were asking.
Well, it was early dismissal!
The school day was out at 2:15! I was mortified, to say the least. Thankfully, I live very close to the school and was able to get there in a hurry with the twins in tow. See the silver lining there? Ya well, I didn’t either at the time, I was there within five minutes.
Did I forgive myself? Or did my shit mom imposter syndrome seep in?
Forgiveness? Nope! Not at first, and perhaps not completely, since at 3pm Monday to Friday my alarm still chirps to say “go get your kids!”
As soon as I know there is early dismissal within the next month it gets marked on all the calendars, texted to my husband, told to all of my friends, all in hopes that if I say it and write it a million times I will not forget!
This is not a rare occurrence!!!
As a parent, everyone at least once in their child’s life will forget something or be late for something. Maybe it won’t be to forget to pick up at school for early dismissal but something WILL be forgotten!
How this moment enforced my Mom Imposter Syndrome
The shame I felt made me feel like the worst mother in the world!
I felt like I comited some heinous crime, like I was a shit mom thorugh and through.
I felt like I owed my daughter a kidney for betraying her trust in me.
I felt ashamed going to the school late.
I felt ashamed every time I saw the principal for months afterwards.
I found myslef explaining myslef to people who honestly probably did not care.
I felt embarrassed, mortified, angry and forgetful. Most of all I felt like a Mom Imposter!
Yet when another mother would tell me of a similar situation I would assure her that we all have been there before!
Another Moms Shit Mom Moment AKA Their Mom Imposter Syndrome
One day I found myself reading a story about a mom wrapped in work and forgetting her daughter at school and she was so mortified she changed her entire career. This change turned out to be amazing for her. A little nugget of the silver lining.
BUT when I read her story my heart broke for her. I empathized with her pain, her feelings, her emotions. I heard the Mom Imposter Inner Critic screaming in her head.
Did I judge her?
Nope, not at all!
Not for one second did I think she was a shit mom!
Not for one second did I think she was a mom imposter!
I didn’t even relate my story to hers until later…
So why was I so hard on myself and believed I was a Mom Imposter?
We, as mothers, hold ourselves in the glaring ray of a magnifying glass. Picking ourselves and our every actions apart.
We believe that we can be better at every waking moment, we even extend our hours to the extent where sleep becomes a figment of our imagination.
We judge ourselves harder than we judge others.
We hold ourselves to higher standards.
But we don’t have to do that.
We choose how we feel and we choose how our thoughts control us and how they make us feel. WE CHOOSE!
Everything is our choice!
So, why do we believe that as a mother we should be perfect?
- Is it something you learned watching television?
- Is it something you were told while growing up?
- Is it something your friends or family say?
- Is it something you heard in a conversation?
- Is it something you read in a book?
We are conditioned to believe things from an early age in life and it sticks with us for years to come, they become our beliefs. And sometimes those beliefs can be limiting and in fact, more harmful than good.
Limiting beliefs: Limiting beliefs may be beliefs that are not your own, beliefs that are formed from one bad situation. Beliefs that come from dwelling on the negative and not having the ability to see the positive. Beliefs that hold you back and make you feel like a lesser person. They may also be beliefs that other people have said to you in criticism.
In this case limiting beliefs instil Mom Imposter Syndrome.
Are your beliefs of motherhood really your own?
What do you really believe?
- would you say those things to a friend?
- would you kick another mom when she was down?
- do you really believe all mothers are perfect?
- would you say those words to someone you loved?
In order for us to overcome these harmful limiting beliefs of feeling like a mom imposter, we need to first derive where they are coming from and why we believe them to be true.
Once we can gather the “lies” we tell ourselves for our lack of “perfection” we can then change them to a more positive one.
Eliminating Mom Imposter Syndrome AKA Limiting Beliefs
You will need:
- a few pieces of paper
- a pencil
- a pen
- an eraser
Step 1: Eliminating Mom Imposter Syndrome
Using a pencil write down 1 thing you believe about yourself as a mom, something that is hurtful towards yourself as a mother. Think of your ‘Mom Imposter’ limiting beliefs.
Leave yourself a space of a few lines or a few inches if using white paper.
Do this same step for 2-3 more limiting beliefs.
Take a deep breath I know this is hard to write and hard to see on paper and not just in your mind.
If you are having trouble finding these limiting beliefs think of the things you hear your inner critic tell you when something doesn’t go right.
Example: I’m a shit mom for forgetting my daughter at school.
Let it be nasty, let it be exactly what you hear in your mind. The more real you are with yourself the better the results from this activity.
Step 2: Eliminating Mom Imposter Syndrome
Next, take your pen and I want you to write down 3-4 replacements for each of those hurtful limiting beliefs.
They can be the exact opposite or a more positive altogether notion.
You can research new proof, google if you need, whatever it takes to make you believe that you have been filling your head with negative lies about motherhood.
Think of the situation that made you believe this about yourself and step outside of the scene. Really envision it in your mind. Envision that person in the situation is someone you love and respect.
Think of what you would say to them. Write that down.
For example: I’m a great mom who picks up my daughters from school everyday.
Keep in mind that just because you forgot to do something once does not mean you are terrible at doing something.
Example: 180 days that school year, I was late once. 179 days I was a timely mom. 179 days I showed up for my children. 179 days I wasn’t preoccupied.
Step 3: Eliminating Mom Imposter Syndrome
Once you have written down 3-4 positive reinforcements for each limiting mom imposter belief I want you to practice saying them to yourself every morning affirming your new belief system.
Remember the research that you gathered to prove this was not true.
Every single morning read the limiting belief and the evidence that proves it is wrong for the next 7 days.
Step 4: Eliminating Mom Imposter Syndrome
On the 7th day take you eraser and remove the mom imposter limiting belief, this is why you wrote it in pencil.
Step 5: Eliminating Mom Imposter Syndrome
For the the next 7 days read each positive reinforcement.
Many coaches tell you that after 7 days you do not need to read them daily.
However, I believe consistency is powerful and I know that it takes work to change our self-image and our limiting beliefs.
Therefore, I recommend adding another 7 days by focusing only on the positive.
Every time you hear the inner critic in you trying to tell you are a mom imposter or a shit mom come back to these positive reinforcing affirmations and read them again. You can do this for a few more days if you need it.
You can print out your favourites too! Using an awesome tool like Canva you can make them look pretty. They work great as a wallpaper for your digital device or print and hang them where you can see them daily.
Or you can write them in your journal and give yourself a few minutes to read over them when you feel stressed.
If you need to add another negative limiting belief in the future, go through the steps again.
You are now armed with this powerful tool to eliminate limiting beliefs!
Being a mom is hard work and you have a lot to do, you should not have to fight your mind on top of it all!
I hope this helps you to eliminate the mom imposter syndrome in your life.
Have you felt like a mom imposter? Are you struggling to find positive reinforcements to eliminate mom imposter beliefs? If so drop a comment below or reach out to me on Facebook in The Living A Boss Life Tribe group or by Messenger in the bottom right corner of your screen right now.
Take care and chat soon!