The Mama Myths 8- Week Series: Lies We Tell Ourselves In Motherhood
Ever say to yourself, "I should be able to do it all on my own," or tell yourself "my kids ALWAYS come first," or feel guilt because you don't always love motherhood? Or maybe you find yourself imposing rules on your time, energy, and emotions such as "I have to clean the house before I can relax," or "I will feel happy and be accomplished when I sign up for 6 PTA events" and "I have to spend X hours with my kids for it to count."
Do you ever wonder where these rules and regulations around motherhood come from or how they have manifested in your life?
In this 8 week series, Motherhood Empowered is going to dispell myths and fictional tales we tell ourselves in motherhood. Often these rules come from a place of wanting to do the best for our kiddos but they are often one-sided and rigid and end up forgetting about the health and well being of numero uno....YOU!
How Do These Myths Start?
Mothers Always Love Motherhood
Mothers Are Always Nice (especially if you are from the midwest)
Mothers Are Always Calm
Mothers Who Put Themselves First Are Selfish
Mothers Are Always Present
Mothers Are Always Organized
Mothers Don't Complain
Mothers Should Always Be Grateful
.....And SO MANY MORE!
No doubt you have come across, and have wrestled with, at least one of these myths during your motherhood journey. These untruths are subconscious, so sometimes difficult to identify and challenging to overcome. These lies usually start with "should" or "have to" or include words such as "always" and "never." They can also begin with a bargaining chip; "If only I....then XYZ would happen." The latter basically implies that if you were better, if you were enough, then all would be well. They are fueled by guilt and fear, and end with bringing mama to her knees in exhaustion, frustration, and overwhelm.
The lies we tell ourselves often originate from a place rooted in our own childhood experiences and what we saw from parents, as well as what we wanted or did not want as children. For example, if you had a parents who was distracted and you wanted more attention, you may come to believe that "mothers should always be present with their children." On the other side, if your mother was calm and that felt good to you, you may come to believe, "good mothers stay calm."
Mothers also get a healthy dose of these myths from society, generally speaking. In our culture, mothers are praised for keeping it all together, for doing all the things, for staying calm and keeping feelings inside. Conversely, mothers tend to be judged, shunned, or shamed for doing the opposite. The reinforcement is often covert and not always tangible, but more of a felt sense.
When a person's own beliefs collide with the beliefs of society, it can feel like a double whammy and more challenging, but not impossible, to overcome.
What Effect Do Myths Have on a Mother's Life
A mother's world is rarely ever quiet.
It may be surprising to recognize that the loudest place isn't where her children are, but rather, the loudest place is in her own mind.
The myths she repeats to herself that remind her of all her failures instead of successes, steer her heart in a direction navigated by fear instead of abundance. She may try to relax and ground her spirit, only to be yanked back into tension by to-do-list anxiety, and guilt for what she didn't get done.
A mother may have a break in the chaos, but the times of solace are unpredictable and underappreciated because she then has full access to all her worries, lack of clarity of what to do with herself when she has space, and, paradoxically, asking herself when another break will come. The lies tell her she has to do it all, but extend grace, compassion, and kindness to others; she often forgets to give herself the same.
Sometimes she feels her body doesn't belong just to her anymore, as it is used to care for small humans in many ways. Since her body is used to nourish other lives, she often forgets to nourish her own body. Since the lies say her needs come last, she forgets to eat and drink, she doesn't have time to pee, and she doesn't get enough sleep.
Mothers have great ways of masking their feelings around these myths such as, lying about lies, smiling, saying "everything is fine," staying busy, avoiding conflict, people pleasing, people pushing, and suppressing emotions.
The pressure to be a perfect mother closes in rapidly and begins as soon as her feet hit the ground in the morning. She tells herself she "has to" or she "should" (oh, the SHOULD's) and "I don't have another choice." If she doesn't do it perfectly, she feels like she failed; and not just herself but her precious babes that she loves so dearly, as well as the proverbial parenting Gods that exist somewhere "out there."
Her feelings of guilt, fear, and exhaustion are often masked by busyness, reading the latest parenting books, PTA meetings, and making the 10th peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the day. She appears to be supermom. No one sees the struggle, because she fears that if they did they would think she is a bad mom or she doesn't love her children, which could not be further from the truth.
These lies push a mother past human thresholds of living and thrust her into an adrenaline-fueled existence. These lies pull a woman away from her body, her soul, and her birth right of a joyful life.
Separating Fact From Fiction
As we continue our journey through acknowledging and addressing common myths, we will also talk about ways to dispel them, and live more authentically through personal value alignment, empowered parenting philosophies, and boundaries with self and others, including society.
One strategy that will thread through each post is separating fact from fiction. When you catch yourself living out one of these myths that are causing stress and decreased well being, it is important to ask yourself if what you are thinking is a fictional narrative with a nonfictional tone, or if you need to ground into the facts of your experience. Asking yourself if you are holding yourself to an impossible standard or if your thoughts are rooted in your beliefs or the beliefs of others. Would you expect your friend or loved one to follow these lies? If the answer is no, chances are you are following a fictional narrative.
It is time to stop telling ourselves these untruths and replace them with healthy, realistic, and nourishing beliefs and actions.
This 6-week blog series is dedicated to shining the light on the lies of motherhood that keep moms locked in fear, and reclaiming truths that allow for freedom, choice, and empowerment.