A Time When I Didn’t Feel Good Enough
Being a mom brings love, joy and happiness. It can also bring pain, sorrow and unhappiness. As moms we are really good at putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. We feel like we have to volunteer for every school event, attend every party, decorate our house (in a very big way) for holidays and birthdays, and make everything perfect for our family. Maybe you’ve even gotten to a place where you were totally overwhelmed and didn’t feel good enough.
For me, it is often the simple everyday things that can build up. And then I don’t feel good enough to take it all on. Let me share a story from when my kids were little.
I had two kids under the age of 2. My new baby started crying. I’ve got this, I thought. I know how to take care of a baby. But baby #2 was very different from baby #1. What worked before was not working now.
No matter what I tried, I could not get baby #2 to stop crying. I felt like I wasn’t enough. I felt overwhelmed and not ready to face the challenge of having two kids.
As if on cue, baby #1 also started crying. With both babies crying, I felt really overwhelmed.
I started crying.
I was so overwhelmed. And I didn’t feel good enough to be a mom of two kids. The picture above wasn’t taken on the exact day I felt super overwhelmed, but this is my #2 when he was a baby. Poor little guy.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Have you ever thought to yourself – I don’t feel good enough. I’m not up for all of the challenges of being a mom.
Trust me, we’ve all been there. But you don’t have to let that overwhelm consume you. You don’t have to feel like you’re not good enough.
As a mom, you cannot be perfect 100% of the time. You will feel sad, disappointed, and frustrated. Unfortunately, you sometimes let those feelings lead you to feelings of doubt, discouragement and like you aren’t good enough.
One thing I’ve learned (still a work in progress) is to let those feelings prompt me to take action.
The best way to raise Active Happy Kids is to be an Active Happy Mom
We are Active Happy Moms when we choose to take action. Action that points us toward the life we want.
But, it’s not always easy. We are all a work in progress and need to take life one challenge at a time. Let’s look at at two obstacles that can keep you from living the life you want and 3 strategies to help when you don’t feel good enough.
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1. Lies You Tell Yourself
In the post Top Mom Tips for Raising Active Happy Kids, I talk about some lies moms believe. Some of these lies include:
- It’s impossible to keep up with the demands of raising my kids
- Other moms have it all figured out and I’m barely surviving
- I can’t ask for help or take time for myself
- If the day isn’t perfect then I did something wrong
- Saying yes is the only acceptable answer
When you believe these lies, you’re holding yourself back from being
your BEST SELF and living your BEST LIFE
How are these lies holding you back? These lies tell you you’re not good enough. Once you let these lies get inside your head, it’s easier for negative thoughts to sneak in. Pretty soon you believe the lies, you think you’re not enough and it can be difficult to see the positive. It’s a downward spiral.
2. Learn to Separate Emotion From Reaction
In our family we are teaching our kids how to separate emotion from action/reaction. Let me explain with a few examples:
- It is ok to feel frustrated, upset or angry by someone’s actions.
- It’s not ok to react to those feelings by hitting, call names, or yelling.
- It is ok to feel sad, hurt or disappointed by something that happened.
- It’s not ok to react by intentionally hurting someone else’s feelings.
In life it’s not the emotions we experience that are the problem. The problem is negative actions/reactions to those emotions. As you improve your actions/reactions to the emotions you experience you will feel better.
When my babies were crying:
- It was totally ok to feel frustrated, sad, confused, embarrassed, or any other emotion. Those emotions are totally normal and everyone has them.
- It was not ok to believe the lie that I wasn’t a good mom.
- It was not ok to let negative thoughts consume and overwhelm me to the point where I didn’t feel good enough.
If you would never react to your emotions by hurting someone else, never allow yourself to react to emotions by hurting yourself. You’re hurting yourself when you believe lies, when you let negative thoughts creep in and when you think you aren’t good enough.
You are ALWAYS good enough!
You’re a strong mom who will feels all of the emotions – positive, negative, or otherwise.
You have control over how you react to your emotions.
So, when you’re not feeling good enough, remember these 3 strategies.
3. Three Strategies When You Think You’re Not Good Enough
Emotions are normal and they are totally ok to have. Everyone experiences emotions.
There is a difference between having an emotional reaction and having a complete mom melt down. If you need help navigating a very difficult situation check out 3 Steps to Prevent Mom Meltdowns.
Choose to take control of your reactions to emotions. The strategies will help.
Strategy #1: You Have the Power to FEEL
When my babies started crying I felt like crying, so I cried. Sometimes you need to have a good cry. Learn to feel your emotions. That sounds a little obvious, right? But how often do you have an emotion and move right on to your action/reaction? How often do you even regret that quick reaction? Probably more often than you would like.
Take time to process the emotion – really feel it. Resist the urge to have a gut reaction to your emotion – I call these gut reactions when I let the “mean mom” out. No one benefits when the mean mom is around.
Instead of making a gut reaction or reacting in a way you will probably regret later, take a moment to feel your emotion without automatically reacting.
Strategy #2: You Have the Power to CHOOSE
After you take a moment to FEEL, you’ll need to CHOOSE how you’re going to react. There are so many ways to react to your feelings. Take a moment to think about the consequences of your reaction. Consider all of your choices and make a decision on how to proceed.
Remember, sometimes the best way to react is by not reacting.
Imagine you’ve just told your toddler no, they may not have another cookie. They are fussing, upset, maybe even screaming or crying. You’re super annoyed, angry or maybe you even think their little fit is hilarious. You take a moment to FEEL and CHOOSE to ignore them.
Even with the best of intentions to stay positive, kind or thoughtful, you aren’t perfect. You’ll likely slip up from time to time. Whenever you do make a mistake, be quick to apologize and try better the next time. Do your best to avoid the dangers of negative self talk or negative self thought.
Negative thoughts are dark. If you allow them, they will keep festering and soon you’ll feel like you’re not good enough. Shine light on that negativity. This light comes in the form of positive thoughts, positive talk, and positive action. Push away those feelings of not being good enough by keeping your positive thoughts.
Sure you’re going to make mistakes from time to time as you react to your emotions, but remember, you always have a choice. And, you can always make a different choice next time.
Strategy #3: You Have the Power to ACT
You’ve taken time to feel your emotion and made a decision on how you’re going to react to the emotion.
Let’s step back for a minute – sometimes step #1 and #2 will only take a few seconds to complete. Other times you may want to take more time to work through step #1 and #2. My dad taught me an important lesson about taking your time to work through emotions when I was a teenager.
I had been out with friends and came home after my curfew. My parents was semi strict about my curfew. A couple minutes later wasn’t a big deal. But this night I was at least an hour late. Let’s just say my parents weren’t very pleased with my decision to stay out late. My dad was the one who stayed up to make sure I made it home – this was before I had a cell phone and there wasn’t a way for my dad to get a hold of me.
I was sure I was in really big trouble. To my surprise my dad said – I’m glad you’re home safe. You know you’re way past curfew and that’s not ok. Instead of deciding your punishment right now when I’m really upset, I’m going to take time to cool down and think about it. We will talk in the morning.
Part of me was instantly relieved because in that moment I didn’t have a punishment. Another part of me was terrified, because he was going to have all night to think of an extreme punishment. Another part of me felt awful for causing my parents so much stress. We did talk in the morning. My dad had time to cool down, discuss things with my mom and they came up with what I am sure was a reasonable punishment. I honestly don’t remember what ended up happening, but I do remember making a much more sincere effort to make it home by curfew, because I didn’t want to be the source of frustration for my parents.
Whatever decision you make, make sure you follow through and ACT. Consistency is so important as a mom. You need to follow through and act.
Quick Version for When You Think You’re Not Good Enough
As a mom you are going to experience all sorts of emotions. The goal is to remain positive, stop believing lies and recognize that you are always enough. Whether your emotions are positive or negative, they are all normal and everyone has them. You get to choose how you react to your emotions.
Take time to work through those emotions by taking time to
- FEEL – instead of having a gut or automatic reaction to an emotion, take time to feel
- CHOOSE – once you’ve taken time to feel your emotion, choose how you’re going to act
- ACT – once you’ve decided, follow through and act
We are stronger when we stand together. Let me know what you think about this article by leaving a comment below.
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