How many times have we told ourselves the lie that we aren’t a good parent? Or maybe you’ve uttered a variation of the lie saying, “I did not parent well today.” How did these lies affect how you tackled parenting the next day? Do those thoughts keep you up at night? If you’re anything like me, one negative thought about yourself as a parent can send you spiraling into thoughts that leave you feeling defeated for the whole day.
Negative self talk is one of the most harmful things we can do to ourselves not only with our parenting but in our lives in general. Becoming consumed by our negative thoughts and allowing them to completely shift our perspective of who we are as parents can cause us to always second guess our decisions when it comes to caring for our kids.
What Is Negative Self-Talk?Negative self-talk can take on many forms but at its core it is an inner voice that talks you out of seeing the good in yourself and your abilities. It prevents you from being sure of yourself and your decisions and causes you to have an overall negative outlook of yourself.
Examples of Negative Self-Talk In Parenting
•”I’m not doing well as a mom.”At some point during our motherhood journey we’ve all dropped the ball. We’ve missed an appointment, yelled too much or forgot to sign a permission slip and as a result we’ve beaten ourselves up for it. We’ve allowed a string of bad events or even one bad event to change our entire outlook on ourselves as parents.
•”I’m going to mess my child up.”(*Insert unresolved trauma here.) This is ultimately my worst fear as a parent and my inner self’s favorite go to line when I’m feeling especially negative that day. Like many people, I didn’t have the easiest childhood and I want nothing more than to provide my children with a childhood that they don’t have to heal from. So like many parents, I’m afraid that my shortcomings and biases may negatively impact my kids.
• “(Insert Name) is such a good mom. I’ll never be like her.”
You’ve been scrolling down Instagram and have noticed that this mom you follow seems to have it all figured out. She always looks perfect, bounced back after her baby , never feeds her kids unhealthy meals and makes sure to have lesson time with her kids daily so that they’re surpassing their milestones. You feel like you’ll never be like that and that constant thought is weighing you down.
•”I feel like this is never going to end.”
We have all been there in motherhood while tackling the never ending barrage of newness. Sleepless nights with newborns feel like they will last forever. Potty training is taking a million years. How long will it before I can stop breast feeding? When will this kid become more independent so that I can get back to focusing more on me as a person and no just as a mom?
How To Tackle Negative Self-Talk
One of the best ways to tackle things like negative self-talk and intrusive thoughts is to stop them in their tracks with realistic affirmations. These type of affirmations take into consideration the things that you are falling short of while also reaffirming your positive attributes as a parent. For example, “I dropped the ball with making it to that appointment today but things like this happen to everyone. I am still a great mom.”
Another good way to combat negative self talk, when it comes to comparison is to remind yourself that on social media we only see what people want us to see. No one is broadcasting their failures or posting themselves at their worst. We have to understand that no one has a perfect life so it does us no good to covet someone else’s life.
Lastly we should try to remove words like never and always from our vocabulary when referencing hard seasons of motherhood. Saying that we’ll never get a good night’s sleep again or that we’ll always have a fussy baby is just not true. It also leads to us feeling trapped and overwhelmed. Understanding that every hard season of motherhood comes to an end provides light at the end of the tunnel when we are feeling in over our head.