Do You Ever Feel Like a Bad Mom?

I shared comments on FB, using this ‘quote’ as an inspirational baseline

I felt there was more to share because we as women struggle daily with different challenges. It could be with our children, maybe a spouse, or an extended family, situation or environment. No matter what issue you face, what I have found over the years, is there’s always a common core emotion that shows up in different ways for different people.

Can you imagine releasing that core negative emotion and watch feelings of inadequacy and guilt go away? Beautiful, how do I find it, right!!!

Here’s my story: I was told by my Pediatrician that I was the one that set the tone for our home. SAY WHAT??? He never mentioned that my tone of voice became my children’s inner voice. Yikes!

I left that appointment feeling more overwhelmed than usual. I felt a heavy burden of responsibility on my shoulders. How could that all center on me? I was doing my best and I still felt like I was drowning in motherhood, heck, in life! That statement seriously took many years before the burden I felt subsided. So when I read this ‘quote’ it all came back but now I felt I could share my 20/20 understanding on how I overcame the negative perspective and turned it around to how positive and empowering it is.

Let’s dissect this quote! First, we’ll address yelling. Yelling generates contention. Contention generates anxiety, setting the child’s attitude up to be defensive. Isn’t this what creates a mom’s irritation? Disobedience? Selective listening? So yelling doesn’t stop the behavior, it accelerates it. Can you see where you hold the power card on this one?

Children are learning! They’re also navigating where they fit in the world and within the family dynamics. And likewise, they’re figuring out which vibration ‘fits’ in their home, so be careful, they’ll match what the parent expresses. You know the adage, “Kids follow what you do, not what you say.” They’re like a light dimmer; when parents are happy, they are happy. When parents are upset or angry, they get upset and angry but don’t understand why. This is so important to understand! Can you see how this shows up when parents are in a contentious relationship? The children ‘FEEL’ it first. Faking being happy doesn’t work with kids!

Yelling is an expression of inner frustration. I get it, I was a yeller and a door slammer. My inner frustration was something I couldn’t figure out. It showed up in my tone of voice. My face reflected anger and my tone reflected disappointment to my kids and they’d call me out on it but the sad part is they’d call me out on it when I wasn’t even mad or disappointed. So apparently my face showed a frozen scowl. And my inner frustrations were heard through my tone. My kids make fun of me when I’d answer the phone. I could sound horrible but once I answered the phone, I put a smile on my face, why? Because I heard somewhere your tone would always sound positive if you had a smile on your face when you spoke. My kids call it my phone voice.

The power of this tone of voice idea made more sense when I called a friend and she thought I was her husband. Not a hello to begin the conversation with, it was, “The dishes need to be done, the kitchen needs to be cleaned, the ______ needed to get done.” As I listened, I felt like Cinderella being ordered around by the evil stepmom. Once there was a break and she took a breath I said, “Um, it’s me,” her tone changed instantly! A tone is a valuable tool, use it wisely!

Yelling at your children also sets them up to be frustrated with everyone that crosses their path. Feeling judged and inadequate themselves. So your frustrations, and your inner dialog comes across like second-hand smoke. It shows up in your tone of voice. Everyone who crosses your path is affected. Attitude is important! Attitude is critical!

The most important lesson I learned over the years was that I am 100% responsible for my feelings, my behavior, and my environment. Many disagree with this but I’ve learned the power of this truth! How does it feel when I say, your children hold 0% responsibility to make you happy or sad? What about when you hear, your spouse holds 0% responsibility for your happiness? Now, they can make it easier for you to be happy or sad OR they can make it more difficult for you to be happy or sad.

The difficulty with this theory is we are accustomed to viewing this world from the outside in … meaning, we see life happening TO us. Outside forces affect us which is another way to say we only have the power to react to those outside forces, like a leaf blowing in the wind. No control and no power! We get used to being in victimhood and blaming becomes our coping skill. Right here is where a paradigm shift became my new perspective.

Let’s get into HOW to make this shift. First, recognize you are the one in power of how you react or respond. Period! With that alone, you can become aware of what lies behind the frustrations. Asking, how do I feel?

Here’s an example that happened to me recently: I’m a part-time school bus driver and there had been some issues happening in our district. Parents suing for this or that. Well, we were TOLD there was a mandatory meeting to attend. Ok, I attended and on the way out, some of the administration began saying, “Thank you for coming.” Really? What do you hear? What I heard was an insult. The meeting was mandatory, thanking me was patronizing to my ears. I didn’t have a choice to attend, they forced the meeting on me. Now, if they would have said, “Thank you for making the effort to come today, you’re willingness is appreciated,” This would have complimented me on my character – which of course ALWAYS feels good. Can you see what happens depending on what we hear? When I first heard the insult, I had to take a few deep breaths and ponder why those words triggered a reaction. The words I processed created the feeling of being devalued. I was snippy until I came back aligned to center and realized my value as a human being.

No one has the power to take that away from me. No words hold the power, and no other human being holds that power!

If you only read this part, please know, You are enough, just the way you are. Remember, you are learning too! Give yourself some slack, kindness, and forgiveness. I’m still learning! I am grateful we are blessed with a new day each morning to learn how to be even better today than we were yesterday!

If you would like more information on how to release and undo unhealthy coping skills, send me a message via email. Let’s chat!

Create yourself a fabulous day,

JodyK

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