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Motherhood strips women of so much: sleep, food, nice clothes, clean homes, time, sanity, etc. Yet, many of us manage to run households, work full-time jobs, raise healthy and kind children, exercise, make time and effort for successful relationships and friendships, and much more. We should be celebrating ourselves, even if no one is handing out Nobel Prizes for being an amazing mom, but the opposite continues to happen. Some women beat themselves up when they fall short of their unrealistic goals, and these are ways to tell if you’re one of them.
- Your To-Do List Becomes a Shame List
You get 3 things done out of the 5 on your list and instead of acknowledging what you finished, you obsess over the two things that were left undone. This often happens to me, until I remember that my list will never really end, and if I keep stressing over the items I didn’t get to, I’ll never be happy with what I’ve done. Checking things off feels good, so next time you get to check things off, take a minute (or two) to bask in the glory that doing ANYTHING besides keeping your kids and pets alive is a miracle somedays.
- You Don’t Accept Compliments
Far too many moms treat compliments like a volleyball game.
“Jessica, your hair looks great today.”
“Oh, it’s probably shiny from me not being able to wash it in days.”
“No, I mean it looks cool in that braid.”
“Well, I only had three minutes to do my hair before I had to drive toddler to the doctor’s, and she couldn’t find her shoes, so I had to quickly tie up what was left of the braid.”
And it goes on, and on. You know this game. It’s like you want to argue with the person who complimented you, until they either decide to take away their compliment or agree that you didn’t deserve it. Friends won’t do either, so they just stop talking when they realize where the conversation is going! I finally learned to say “thank you” and appreciate if someone notices that I’ve lost weight or likes my house, but it takes effort to say it without following it up with anything else that might detract from the value of the compliment.
- You Blame Yourself for Others’ Behavior
A lot of shy moms immediately default to making others feel comfortable and happy so they can feel at ease. Confrontation is not fun, but sometimes it’s necessary. I used to blame myself when anyone, including my husband and kids, either ignored me or was mean to me. I would replay the incident or the conversation multiple times in my head trying to figure out where I went wrong to cause a girlfriend to ignore my texts or my child to cry and throw a tantrum. Eventually, I started working on my self-esteem and that confidence allowed me to entertain the possibility that people are just busy, husbands can be careless with words, and toddlers will soon learn they can’t always get what they want. None of these have a bearing on the type of person I am. Confront the hurtful or unacceptable actions as needed. As moms, it’s important to keep this in mind, or you’ll constantly feel defeated when you can’t control others.
- You Don’t Spend Money on Yourself
It might seem silly to connect spending with self-worth, but most of the time when I am deciding whether or not to buy something for myself, I feel guilty because I don’t think I’m worth that expensive perfume. Surely, the money could be spent on something for the kids, or even my husband, who does so much for us and never asks for anything. But what’s the harm? Every once in a while, you should buy something that makes you happy, because you do a lot, too. And no one ever said that being a great mom meant you had to put everyone else before you all the time.
- You Apologize Nonstop
Because you’re a perfectionist, you tend to want everything done exactly right and are almost too aware of all the flaws in anything you do. If you washed the dishes in record time, but you missed a few when you were drying them, you say sorry as your husband goes to use it and has to wipe it off first. You were late to work because there was a car accident and lanes were closed, but you still say sorry for something that was outside of your control. If you take too long to reply to a text you say sorry, even though there’s nothing wrong with not having your phone on you all the time. Stop apologizing! It’s a habit that can weaken your confidence over time. Practice pausing instead of apologizing. You’ll start to notice how often you say sorry, and how it’s really not necessary half the time.
- You Doubt Your Decision-Making Skills
Perhaps one of the most popular reasons I dislike making plans with people is because I have to make so many choices. Why do I hate making choices, if normally, being able to make a decision based on what you want is a good thing? For me, it stems from the idea that people will not agree with my choices, but it shouldn’t matter. If the other person has a different suggestion for a time to meet, then that’s not the end of the world, and if I choose to invite a mom and her family bowling but the other mom’s kids don’t like it or end up getting hurt, it’s not my fault. Making a decision should be easy, and if it’s not, it should be because you have conflicts with other activities or because you need to wait for your work schedule—not because you want to be completely dependent on the other side’s preferences. Next time your husband asks what you want to do or where you want to eat, just pick something!
- You Take Pride in Your Pity Parties
It may sound weird, but some of us enjoy endlessly criticizing ourselves in our head throughout the day. We think it’s a sign of strength to be able to identify our weaknesses and immediately strategize for how to improve our personalities. It becomes a goal to change what we need to in order to please others or to get more done next time, but the more we pity ourselves for not being perfect, the less likely we are to discover the cold, hard truth: no one is perfect. And there’s no sense in wasting time trying to be either. You only get one life. Enjoy it!
Moms are wonderful. They do so much and often receive so little credit. There’s no reason you should also take credit away from yourself. Build up a mom with a compliment next time you see her and let her know she deserves it.