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Conquering the “I’m not good enough” mommy mindset

November 6, 2013

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“I am not good enough for this.”

The teacher approached me, wearing wrinkled brows and serious lips. I knew the news was not going to be good.

I was already an anxious mess over our previous conversations about potty accidents and dilly dallying snack behavior, so when the conversation began, “Mrs. Young I have some concerns about your daughter, can we talk?” I delicately braced myself for the next blow.

My fragile heart fracturing with each word that left her mouth, “not listening, difficult, defiant.”

I knew we had reached the ‘Terrible 3’s’, but to hear that it was overflowing from home to school broke me.

DSC_0426edit“I am not good enough for this.”

As a former teacher, I had just experienced the realities of being on the ‘other side’. I was now the parent of ‘that student’.

The problem child.

At this point I know some of you are likely saying to yourself, “But OMG, she’s ONLY 3, just look at that smile!!!”

DSC_0465editLet me tell you folks, that smile is one of a mischievously sneaky little girl who knows how to manipulate any situation. Whining and arguing until she gets her way.

Unfortunately, she’s also already inherited mom’s signature eye roll.

DSC_0484editExternally I gave the teacher apologies, platitudes, and oodles of support for the ‘next steps’.

(Good luck with the time out chair kiddo…)

But, internally it was too late. Mommy guilt had already reared her ugly head.

“I am not good enough for this.”

How many times do you say that to yourself during the day?

Better yet, what do you do about it?

I thought going from full time working mom, to work at home mom was going to be a beautiful transition. That mommy guilt would simply fade away because I’d be home more for my daughter.

DSC_0457editI’m learning my lessons on mommy guilt the hard way.

Hint: It doesn’t ever go away.

I realize that this one little conversation from preschool could be worse. It could be oh so much worse. Losing Bella taught me the ultimate lessons on love, and suffering, and guilt.

I’m am grateful that we have our health, our home, and our love for each other.

But for some reason this moment was chosen to test me as my mind spiraled out of control.

“I’m a terrible mom, and a pushover. I don’t put her in time out enough. But if I put her in timeout too much she’s going to rebel even more, and then what kind of teenager will she become?! Maybe I don’t pay attention to her enough because of my business and she’s acting out to rebel. Or maybe I pay TOO much attention to her because she’s an only child and I need to teach her to be more self-sufficient. She’s not going to have any friends if she keeps acting this way. And then she’ll be depressed, and anxious, and self-conscious just like me….and OMG, what do I do???!!!”

DSC_0480edit“I am not good enough for this.”

That was my internal monologue in the preschool room that day, but all too often I hear it during my photo taking too.

When I’ve planned out in my mind exactly how a shoot should go, and then I get home and all the images are over exposed, or the light is awful, or my family is grumpy and frowny, or the focus is off.

Those are the moments that I doubt my abilities to teach and share my knowledge the most, because “How can I possibly help others when I can’t even nail my own shots?!”

DSC_0489edit“I am not good enough for this.”

I began the day after that vulnerable preschool conversation much as I would following a shoot that’s left me feeling insecure. Grumpy, disappointed, short, on edge, anxious, and loud.

I begged, I pleaded, I yelled, I demanded good behavior. I threatened time out and put her there. There were tears and hurt feelings and misunderstandings and confusion, and guilt. More and more guilt. Always the guilt.

Something had to change.

My mommy mindset.

DSC_0508editWhat if instead of allowing our hearts to feel shattered, we embraced insecurity instead?

We used our fear as fuel for connection. An invitation to be mindful in our words and actions. An opportunity to live in the present and let love in. A reminder to remain positive in the face of challenges.

PicMonkey CollageWhat if instead of a plead, we opted for praise. What if instead of a scream we tried a hug and a kiss? What if instead of a ‘time out’ we had a ‘time in”?

Where connection is encouraged through conversation, watercolor paintings, and mother/daughter movie nights. Where we talk about our behavior and lead by example. Where photos of happiness and joy flow naturally.

Where love wins.

“I am good enough for this.”

“She is good enough for this.”

Just as I am.

Just as she is.

All of it.

And more.

DSC_0461edit

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