Mom’s please stop comparing yourselves to others, especially as it relates to being a mom. Every person chooses to spend their time and energy differently, some moms prioritize planning perfectly themed birthday parties while others push to be bikini ready 6 months after giving birth. I know mom’s who volunteer weekly at their kid’s school and moms who make prize worthy Halloween costumes every year. None of these is better and what another mom does has zero importance to your own journey. All this tells us about other women is what is important to her and where her personal focus is during a particular time. Sure, you can look at these women and be inspired but comparing ourselves and feeling less than because of where another person is putting their energy is a fruitless and empty experience.
Never before have we had the opportunity to rank ourselves against others as we do right now, social media is everywhere and as much as this is a wonderful opportunity for the cyber connection it can also create a toxic window where women are in a constant comparison with one another ranking themselves against what they see online.
When we compare ourselves to others and feel bad about ourselves, we are not seeing the whole picture and the tendency is to only see the parts that trigger our own sense of unworthiness or inadequacy. In my opinion, it is not about rejecting social media altogether but rather being able to stay aware and accountable for what you are seeing and what feelings that it brings up in you.
Take a few minutes to complete the social media challenge I have created to get a better understanding of how you are relating to other moms. You can find this challenge on in the free journal pages that I am offering to you!
The challenge with being a mom is that there are so many different ways, opinions and quite frankly judgements about the “right” way to do things. We often got lost in long to do lists that actually do not reflect our own values for ourselves or for our families. For many moms, this disconnect results in a feeling of failure and the misguided belief that we are not doing enough. In an attempt to remedy this feeling most mom’s turn up the dial and try to do more based on these external pressures that actually don’t even hold meaning in our own lives.
For the first few years after my daughter was born I felt overwhelmed, exhausted and disconnected, so instead of slowing down, going inward and being more selective about what was important to me, I tried to do it all in hopes of finding peace. This could not have been further from what I needed. The reality is that we can not do everything, nor should you try rather we need to find out what is important to us and move from that centre. It is from a place of knowing what we value for ourselves and family that we can truly connect with how we fill our days and where we put our energy.
Finding out what you value will take some reflection, experience and trial and error. I have developed a reflection exercise that will help to guide you on this part of your journey. You will find this in the free journal pages that I offer.
Take a few minutes for yourself and sit with this, you may be surprised as to what comes up for you.
Now that you have a better sense of what you value (see previous blogs) and you can see and feel the positive impact this has on you and your family, the challenge will be to hold true to your beliefs under external expectations and pressures. Here are 5 tips to help you to stay convicted to your inner values:
1. Journal: writing your feelings down daily will help you to stay connected to your values and if this is in line with the choices that you are making. You will be able to identify a pattern of feelings and respond to negative associations quicker. Taking 5 minutes each day will help you stay true to your authentic self and live from a place of your own personal values.
2. Stay Curious: being open within yourself and others is key to staying true to your values. Being a mom requires constant growth and evolution, our children move through different phases and staying curious about how their development impacts our choices is important to stay true to your own values. What we value for ourselves and our family when our children are infants will change when they are toddlers and then again when they hit school age. Try not to get stuck in one phase and allow yourself to grow as they do. Check in to find out if a value no longer fits and adapt to this new phase of motherhood.
3. Create time for yourself – slow down: so many of us moms are in autopilot racing from one task to the next without taking any time to understand if we are living from a place truth. Have the luxury of slowing down and reflecting on what is important to us seems like an impossibility but by creating even a few moments each day we can centre and make choices from a place within that is clear and authentic. Take 2-3 big belly breaths when moving from one activity to the next and this will create space to connect and be present with yourself.
4. Understand what makes you happy and sad: being aware of what activities bring you joy and what ones bring you down is a simple yet extremely effective way to uncover your values. Take a few minutes to write down of all the things you do in a day and put a happy or sad face beside each activity. It will become very obvious how much of your day is connecting with your inner core values.
5. Share your values: as you are in your daily life connecting with family and friends talk about what is important to you and what choices you are making in your life to reflect these values. Saying your values out loud will deepen your commitment to them. Own your values and share them with the people in life.
Moms are bombarded with both internal and external expectations, pressures and judgments about how to live their lives. So many of us find ourselves trying to do it all and making choices that do not reflect our own inner values in an attempt to meet these unrealistic expectations. The reality is this is not obtainable nor sustainable and many moms find these pressures begin to manifest in the body as physical discomfort. The top 3 physical burnout out symptoms that I see are:
Fatigue: Do you feel tired even with a good night sleep, wake up feeling exhausted and move through your day in a haze of brain fog and heaviness. Is consuming excess coffee, sugar and salt the only way you feel you can “get through the day”. Do you fall asleep with your children at bedtime only to wake later feeling groggy and disappointed that you did not get any time for yourself?
Moodiness and agitation: Are you feeling sad, shameful or frustrated because you do not understand why you are lashing out at your partner and children? You love your family and have the life you always dreamed of but do not feel joy or happiness. Do you feel disconnected from yourself
and loved ones and wonder what could be missing?
Body pain/tension: Moms who have not connected with their own values have more chronic pain. Do you carry the weight of unrealistic expectations on yourself? Is it possible that this pressure is now showing up in your body as a chronic backache, headaches, whole body muscle fatigue and tension?
If you are suffering from any or all of these common symptoms, you are most likely disconnected from your inner values, putting undue pressure on yourself and the result is burnout. Check out one of the self love mom events and take your first step into recover from mom exhaustion.