Do you ever find yourself asking the following questions:
- Why can't I get I just get my life together better?
- Why am I always struggling to keep on top of my schedule, my kids and my work?
- How come it seems so much easier for other moms when it feels like such a struggle for me?
- What's wrong with me?
If you ever hear yourself asking these questions then know that you are not alone! We are bombarded daily with images of the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect career woman. Whether it is on celebrity gossip sites, media stories about the first women CEO of Yahoo or the pictures we see in the parenting magazines, they present an ideal image for us to live up to.
When we don't, we start to question whether we are good enough. Doing so can feel painful and take away from experiencing the joys of life on a daily basis. The worse part is when we find ourselves living a life we think we should, rather than the life we truly want to try and meet others expectations.
So what's really going here? Is it because we aren't a good enough mom, wife or employee? No! Then what is it? Let me introduce you to the "bad mom" Gremlin. This is the part of ourselves that likes to remind us of all the ways we are falling short in your life. Here's how it can go:
- You were late picking your child up from daycare. Bad mom!
- You are too tired after working 8 or 9 hours a day to take your child to a gymnastics/dance/swim/music class. Bad mom!
- You were late meeting a project deadline at work because you and/or your child got sick. Bad employee!
- You didn't volunteer to run the annual fundraiser for your children's school. Bad mom!
- Your home/car/kids are not immaculately clean. Bad mom!
Whew, it's exhausting to be told you are a bad mom all the time. To feel like you never live up to yours or others expectations. How can you possibly feel joy and happiness in your life when this is all too often the message you receive? So what's the solution?
Is it to fix all those shortcomings that your "bad mom" Gremlin has listed? No. That won't change anything in the long-term. It will just find more and more ways we are being a bad mom. The Gremlin's list of ways you can be a bad mom is endless.
The very first step to break out of the bad mom black hole is to make friends with your Gremlin. Yes, that's right. Make friends with this seemingly obnoxious part of you that constantly likes to remind you why you are not good enough and whose whole goal is to keep you playing small in your life.
Why do we want to make friends with our Gremlin? Why not simply ignore it? Or just tell it to go away? First, our Gremlin is impossible to ignore. When we do it just yells louder until we pay attention again. Second, we can never make our Gremlin truly go away. It has grown up as part of us. It's here to stay.
So, the only long-term solution to stop the "bad mom" Gremlin from running our life is to make friends with it. Here are 3 steps to make friends with your "bad mom" Gremlin:
- Get up close and personal with your "bad mom" Gremlin.
We need to get to know our "bad mom" Gremlin and what it likes to say to us. Until we become aware of when our Gremlin is speaking and what it is saying, it will continue to have a powerful hold over our lives. It will be extremely effective at keeping us stuck exactly where it wants us: playing small.
Our power comes with awareness of our "bad mom" Gremlin. Once we recognize it, we then have the ability to choose how we respond. Pay attention to situations that come up where you really want to do something but you just can't go there. You find yourself holding back. Identify any thoughts or feelings you are having at that moment.
Often that is your Gremlin coming through. It is trying to keep you from playing big.
- Give your "bad mom" Gremlin some love.
It might sound crazy to give love to something that so strongly wants to hold you back from living your biggest life. However, that is really what the Gremlin is seeking. It's the part of us that craves love, acceptance and reassurance. We are the only ones that can give it this.
Understand that the biggest goal your Gremlin has is to keep you safe. To want you to live a life in a way that it believes will bring you the most love and acceptance. The last thing it wants is you to feel good enough about yourself so you will take those leaps to living your biggest life. What if you fail? What if you are judged or criticized? The Gremlin wants to avoid that happening at all costs.
If we are to live our biggest lives and pursue the dreams we have, it's time to get good at reassuring our Gremlin. Letting it know it is OK. You don't need it to protect you anymore. You're ready! You have the courage and the strength to move out of your comfort zone and take that next step in your life.
Often all the Gremlin needs is a little reassurance we will be OK and most importantly, that we can still experience love and acceptance even if we aren't perfect.
- Practice Working With Your "bad mom" Gremlin
The final step in making friends with our "bad mom" Gremlin is practice, practice, practice. We need to get comfortable with moving past our Gremlin. It's taking the first two steps of understanding and loving our Gremlin and then taking action.
As we practice this, our Gremlin will start to get familiar with how it feels to move out of our comfort zone. To not have to be the perfect mom, wife, career woman all the time. It will start to realize that sometimes it can be a little dramatic with worst-case scenarios. It will see the outcome is often not as bad as it thought.
Most importantly, your Gremlin will start to see and believe that you can handle it and are good enough. Your Gremlin will become less anxious and more relaxed. As a result, so will you.
This week commit to taking action on one situation where you know your Gremlin has been holding you back. There's never a better time than now to make friends with your Gremlin. It is one of the most life changing steps we can take.
I would love to hear your experience with the "bad mom" Gremlin in the comments below!
Karen is a mom, entrepreneur and founder of The Passion Shift. Download Karen’s FREE Training Audio Master The Passion-Shift Mindset: Learn How To Change the Rules So You Can Start Living Your Passion, Revolutionize Your Work Life & Free Your Time & Energy to Have More Fun With Your Family.
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