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Like every parent out there, I want the best for my kids.
And I realize that my kids have the best shot in life if I give them 100% every day. The best teaching, the best example, the best guidance.
So it hurts when I’m not at my best and I wish I could be.
But this helps.
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.” -CS Lewis
I am a good mom because I know what I need to change to be better.
I am a good mom because I try to make those changes every day.
And I am a good mom because I don’t stop when it gets tough.
So when those evil voices in my head try to tear me down, this is what I do.
(Please note- depression or anxiety disorders may need professional help of a doctor and/or counselor. These steps should not take the place of professional help.)
Shut them up.
I hate those voices in my head that tell me that I can’t do it, that I’m a bad parent, that I’m not good enough. They are noisy, obnoxious, and negative.
The only good thing about them is that they aren’t real. They don’t represent reality. They don’t accurately portray who I am. And I’m the only one who can hear them. Nobody else is thinking what they are saying to me.
That gives me a lot of power.
All I have to do to shut them up is to think about anything else. Two thoughts can’t fit in my brain at the same time, especially a positive thought and a negative thought. If I focus on the positives in my life, the negatives just don’t have any room left. Or if I think about someone else and what I can do to help them, there just isn’t any space for those nasty thoughts left.
I have the power to shut them up.
People who aren’t directly involved in a situation weirdly tend to see clearer what is happening. That’s because they aren’t confused by the overwhelming emotions and chaos of the moment.
When I am trying to make changes in myself, it helps to step back and take the role of an outside observer.
I ask myself, “If a good friend came to me with my exact situation, what would I advise him to do? What would I suggest that he change?”
If a good friend needed my help, I wouldn’t judge him or criticize him for the situation he is in! So I don’t judge or criticize myself as I think through what I want to fix about my parenting.
I just think logically about where I am now, where I want to be, and what reasonable steps lay between.
Then I take the first step.
Pick one thing.
Change doesn’t happen all at once, like turning on a light switch. It’s usually little by little, like a sunrise, that you become who and what you want to be.
So start with a reasonable, attainable goal.
What can I accomplish today?
After a day or two of success, I feel more capable of expanding my goal. Once I build my confidence, I build on the original goal.
What can I accomplish in one week?
Little by little, I become a different person with new habits and attitudes. More like my ideal self. And it shows in my parenting.
In all this, I have to remember that setbacks will happen.
Just because I’m making progress toward a goal doesn’t mean that I am suddenly a perfect person- and I shouldn’t expect perfection of myself.
There will be days that I take a step backward instead of moving forward.
Sometimes there is a week or a month or a year that I seem to slide backward.
But that just means that I have more opportunity to move forward again in the future. It’s never too late to become a better person, a better parent.
Our kids learn wonderful things from watching parents struggle through their own life challenges. Kids learn that they don’t have to be any one thing. They learn from their parents’ example that they can change if they want to- and they learn HOW to do so. Showing kids that life is difficult (but not impossible!) prepares them to accomplish difficult things in their own lives.
Don’t shelter your children from your failures. Let them see.
If they think you are perfect, they will think that they should be perfect when they reach adulthood. And that would be a nasty surprise when they reach adulthood and find themselves to be imperfect.
And imagine how you and your child can celebrate together when you reach your goals! Show your child that it was all worth it. That you did it- you handled the pain and fear and frustration and you overcame the odds.
Show them, and then they can do it too.
They will use you as inspiration when life gets challenging.
How ironic that they are often our inspiration too.
P.S. Want to help your children learn to control the voice in their heads? Help them have a positive inner voice using this resource! Click the image below!