UGH, I blew it AGAIN!
I’m so STUPID!
I can’t believe how AWFUL I look in these shorts!
I am a HORRIBLE mother!
Does any of this sound familiar? Chances are, you have had some variation of one of these run through your head in the past 24 hours. Or maybe even in the last hour. You might even have such a constant loop of talking to yourself in a harsh way — one that you would never use with anyone else — that you don’t even realize you are doing it.
Best-selling author, speaker, and spiritual psychologist, Suzi Lula works with moms all day long in her practice. And what she hears over and over again is that they are stressed out, exhausted, and longing for a deeper connection with their children.
However, what most of us moms do when we realize something is ‘off’ is to start looking outside of ourselves for answers, because we think there is something wrong with us that needs to be fixed. However, that usually adds to our stress as we frantically search for a solution.
Suzi says that a big part of the problem is that we live in a culture of anxiety, where parenting in general has become more stressful, due in large part to the millions of activities we sign our children up for. Also, martyrdom tends to be celebrated among moms, and used as a way of bonding, with points being given for who stayed up all night baking cupcakes from scratch for a birthday party, or who hasn’t taken a shower in three days because they have been busy with a young child.
But what if there is another way? A way that starts with taking care of ourselves and treating ourselves with compassion, beginning with our self-talk?
Suzi has found that moms are hungry for permission to take care of themselves, and that when they start practicing self-care and being compassionate, most realize that there is nothing wrong that needs to be fixed.
What IS needed is that children need to be listened to more and connected with more. And since the mother sets the tone in the home, when we are more relaxed the children become more relaxed. We can start to tiptoe in that direction in an easy, gentle way by speaking kindly to ourselves.
21-Day Kindness Challenge
In fact, Suzi even offers a 21-Day Kindness Challenge as a way to jumpstart this process. We simply speak to ourselves in the same kind way that we do to our friends, and when we find ourselves blaming/shaming/criticizing, we go back to Day One.
Suzi admits that she was on Day One for months, which really made her aware of how hard she was being on herself and also the need for learning a whole new vocabulary of compassion.
What does that sound like? Well, a phrase that Suzi often uses is, “It’s so understandable.” For example, if you go to the market to buy some groceries and realize when you get return home that you forgot the apples, instead of beating yourself up over that, you could say something to yourself like: “It’s so understandable you would forget the apples. You have so much on your plate right now and not much time to get everything done. It’s going to be okay and you are doing a great job.”
According to Suzi, there is no one harder on themselves than us moms because we have such high expectations for ourselves and desperately want to do the right thing for our children. But if we can take on learning to speak kindly to ourselves, our lives will begin to change from the inside out. Taking care of yourself first is the greatest gift that you can give to yourself, your partner, and your children!
Suzi offers her 21-Day Kindness Challenge, along with Learning the Language of Self-Compassion and other online classes, at www.SuziLula.com. Sign up for her newsletter and you’ll receive a PDF or audio download of Chapter One of her book, THE MOTHERHOOD EVOLUTION.