How I Overcame “Bad Mom” Syndrome

How I Overcame “Bad Mom” Syndrome

This is a re-post from August 2015 but something we all need to hear often!

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I was recently reflecting on my happiness. I’m a happiness coach so this comes naturally to me. I realized that I was really happy in many areas of my life. I’m in great shape. I have a fulfilling career. Two happy healthy kids. The spouse of my dreams. A great social life. My husband and I were getting along great. So what was that lingering feeling that was giving me anxiety? Like I accidentally had a triple espresso. You know that heart flutter and unease that can come and go? Diving deeper I realized it was my parenting.

I have read every book out there on parenting. You name it….positive discipline, mindful parenting, simplicity parenting, whole-brain child. I read baby books, toddler books, sleep books, routine books, everything. But that lingering anxiety was still there. And I finally honed in on the fact that it was a deep fear creeping up. That fear? Bad Mom Syndrome. I think a lot of women have a deep fear of being a ‘bad mom’. Having kids who misbehave. Yelling at our kids. Feeding them sugar, wheat, non-organic food. Too much TV. Too much technology. Not enough road trips and bike rides.

Now that I was aware of my big fear it was time to address it. Where did it come from? And how was it affecting me? I realized I was letting it control my life. When my kids had a meltdown, yep, fear manifest. They’re melting down because I don’t know what I’m doing. They misbehave, un-huh, there you go, I’m a bad mom. They don’t listen, yep, these books don’t’ work, I’m clueless, I need help. They’re out of control, they don’t eat, fear manifest.

Awareness is the Key

Luckily, awareness is the key. When I became aware of this deep fear, this limiting belief that was running my life, now I can do something about it. Step one, look at my reactions to my kids’ perceived behavior. Was I reacting from my higher self? Or from my bad mom fear? Hmmmm. Let’s see, I’m yelling at them and grabbing them by the arm like a lunatic. Yep, bad mom fear. Next, how can I change it? For me, that came down one big shift.

Radical acceptance.

How can I radically accept my parenting?

I looked deeply at my strengths and highlighted those. And looked at my weaknesses. And stopped trying to change those. I might not be an all organic, whole food, sugar-free Mom and I’m okay with that. I might give my kids an iPad in the car or to running errands and I’m ok with that too. The stress comes from feeling bad about it. Wanting it to be different. Next…

How can I radically accept my kids?

In all their perfect imperfections. Can I accept them as the perfect messy 3-year-old and the bold fearless 6-year old that they are? Is it ok if they don’t take a bath every night? Yes. Why did I ever think differently? Maybe the 52 parenting books I read actually took away my ability to listen to my guidance and make my own decisions.

The most empowering decision I ever made in my parenting was to stop seeking advice. And start trusting my own instincts. Focus on my strengths, on what I’m good at, on what I can do. And really accept those areas that I need some work. So what If I don’t take both of my kids swimming when I’m alone. I’ll get over it. And the more I accept who they are like the perfection in every sunset. The better we all experience life. Syndrome cured.

Here’s how you overcome Bad Mom Syndrome.

Step 1. Awareness

Awareness is the key. When I became aware of this deep fear, this limiting belief that was running my life, now I can do something about it. I was aware of my reactions to my kids’ perceived behavior. Was I reacting from my higher self? Or from my bad mom fear? Hmmmm. Let’s see, I’m yelling at them and grabbing them by the arm like a lunatic. Yep, bad mom fear. Yikes. How can I change that?

Step 2. Radical acceptance

How can I radically accept my parenting?

I looked deeply at my strengths and highlighted those. And looked at my weaknesses. And stopped trying to change those. I might not be an all organic, whole food, sugar-free Mom and I’m okay with that. I might give my kids an iPad in the car or to running errands and I’m ok with that too. The stress comes from feeling bad about it. Wanting it to be different. Next…

How can I radically accept my kids?

In all their perfect imperfections. Can I accept them as the perfect messy 3-year-old and the bold fearless 6-year old that they are? Is it ok if they don’t take a bath every night? Yes. Why did I ever think differently? Maybe the 52 parenting books I read actually took away my ability to listen to my guidance and make my own decisions.

Step 3. Trust YOU

The most empowering decision I ever made in my parenting was to stop seeking advice. And start trusting my own instincts. Focus on my strengths, on what I’m good at, on what I can do. And really accept those areas that I need some work. So what If I don’t take both of my kids swimming when I’m alone. I’ll get over it. And the more I really accept who my kids are like I do the perfection in every sunset, the better we all experience life.

Syndrome cured.

Join me in the Badass Mom Society for Mom support.

 

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