Saturday, February 27, 2016

For the stressed out mom who needs to know she is awesome!

Being a mom is one of the toughest, most rewarding jobs there is.  The vast majority of women do it, yet so many of us struggle with thinking we have failed or are behind everyone else. It’s this nagging feeling that somehow other women have mastered the job while we flounder in insecurities and self-doubt.

It starts early, even in pregnancy. It starts when you see those “other” pregnant women with adorable little baby bumps, cute outfits and glowing skin while you just feel fat, tired and nauseous.
As a mom we can have insecurities over just about anything, from the way our kids look, how they behave or how good they are on the soccer field.

We want to get this right. As moms we are trying to make perfect what we see as one of the most important jobs in our lives, so we use other moms as our measuring stick.

Here’s the problem. We don’t see the whole picture with anyone else. We see ourselves every minute of every day. The good, the bad and the ugly. We are self critical and have unrealistic expectations of what motherhood “should” look like.  When we see other moms, we are only seeing what they chose to show us whether it is in public places or on social media.
For example, you go to a party with other families and the 45 minute struggle you just had with your toddler to wear her shoes has got you frazzled and overwhelmed as you walk in the door.  The first thing you notice is how put together everyone else's toddlers seem to look.  We have this idea that somehow we are failing compared to everyone else and then that is all we seem to notice around us. 
We get overwhelmed and form this belief that we are not measuring up and then we start to notice everything around us that confirms our beliefs, even if it is not consistent with what is really going on. 

First step is to stop comparing yourself to others is to remember that what you are seeing is not the whole picture!

Much of the information we get about other families comes from pictures, social media and stories that other moms tell us. All of those are carefully orchestrated points of time that reflect what other people want the world to see. The perfect smiling faces are not reflective of the yelling, crying or whining that most likely preceded the perfect picture.
Stop comparing what happens with you to what others want the world to see. You are comparing your entire life to other people’s perfect moments. Let it go.

Remember that behind every seemingly ideal picture is a mom who feels just like you do.  

Talk to yourself the way you would talk to another mom.

Feelings of insecurity create this inner dialogue that we are not good enough, not living up to unrealistic expectation.  Our self-talk becomes harsh and negative as we try to compete with a false reality. Imagine you were sitting with a dear friend who was telling you all the things you tell yourself about being a mom. She feels insecure, like her kids are out on control, her house is a mess and she can’t seem to find herself.  Sound familiar?
What would you tell her?  Perhaps you would tell her she is doing a great job.  You would point out all the positive moments you have witnessed her with her kids and the things you admire about her.  Right?

So why can’t we do the same for ourselves?

Somehow we can see the accomplishments and the positive aspects of others but miss them when it comes to ourselves.
When you are feeling insecure and as if you just don’t measure up, ask yourself what you would say to a friend and then tell it to yourself.
Remind yourself that you got this! Treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you would give anyone else.
Start by making a list of all that you have accomplished that day. Start looking for those good moments we seem to discount too often.
We seem to be really good at noticing the good in accomplishments everyone else seems to make and noticing only our failures.  Turn that around, start to look for the good and the bright spots in your kid and your day.

If you start looking for the good you will start to find it.

Try keeping a journal at the end of your day. Do it with your kids. You can identify the bright spots that went well and pat yourself on the back for all the awesome and wonderful accomplishments of the day.
One simple ritual that can be found in the Sleep, Maybe One Day chapter of  Lose that Mommy Guilt,Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom” is called Fill Your BAG Happy. Imagine you carry around your insecurities and negative feelings in a BAG and you can empty that BAG out and refill it with the letters B.A.G.  Start with Best part of your day by identifying the good and the bright spots that you made happen. Then list your Accomplishments, what did you get done during the day. There is always something. Finally, what are you truly Grateful for.  Identify what your are grateful for and why that is important to you.

Know that you don’t need to feel as if you don’t measure up because the reality is you are a mom and that makes you amazing!

For more stories and tips you can check out Mommy Guilt on Facebook or join group Fill Your BAG Happy or purchase your copy of Lose That Mommy Guilt on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles or iBooks today!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Valentines Day with Food Allergies....

Food allergies make Valentine's Day a stressful time for moms trying to keep kids safe.  Classrooms are filled with chocolate and candy treats and only a  trace of an allergen could lead to a life threatening experience for many kids. One of my favorite treats, the M&M is off limits for my daughter.
 One plain M&M when she was a year old caused violent vomiting before we knew the risk of cross contamination and about her nut allergy.  Because of experiences like this I put together a list of 5 things to keep in mind this Valentine's Day in Identity Magazine.
  1. Keep an open dialogue with your child and the school.
  2. Create new rituals
  3. Create teaching moments
  4. Be prepared - have a plan and stick to it
  5. Take a positive perspective
To read the full article just click here for the Valentine's Day Survival Guide 
For more stories about Mommy Guilt, Forgiveness and the importance of mommy self care you can check out my new book Lose that Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom.