5 Steps To Dethrone Your Crazy “Bad Mom” Inner Critic

parenting Oct 25, 2017

I have been waiting for the premier of the movie “Bad Moms” all summer long.  I have heard fellow moms talking about it for months, rallying packs of moms together to see this movie.  So, I was so excited when I finally went to see it last week.  I wanted to find out why it is that this movie is resonating with so many women in a way that no movie has done in years.

This movie really hit home for me, as a therapist who has helped thousands of moms struggle with feelings of guilt and inadequacy, and as a mom of three kids.  It also hits home with millions of moms out there who struggle with the feeling that they have no idea what they are doing, and they are not doing a good enough job.

Motherhood has become an all encompassing identity. Moms feel that it is their fundamental role in life to be the “ideal mom”:  To do it all, know it all, BE it all, and make sure your kids turn out the way you want them to!  This role has certainly been exacerbated by social media, which leads moms to feel even more inadequate about the mother that they are, as it certainly appears that all of their friends have the “perfect” family on Facebook!

It’s no wonder that today’s moms feel overstressed and overworked, and feel trapped in a culture of motherhood in which no matter what they are doing as moms, they are not measuring up.  All of this is enough to make moms feel like they are going crazy, and then they beat themselves up for feeling crazy, which makes them feel even crazier!

So, why are we all so friggin’ crazy?  Why is it that we can all relate to Kristin Bell’s character, Kiki, who fantasizes about being in a car accident that’s just enough to put her in the hospital so she can sleep and binge watch TV?  It is because we are ALL overly identified with the voice of our Inner Critic, who is the voice in our mind who is constantly evaluating, judging, comparing, and telling us where we don’t measure up, what we have to fix, change, or perfect, and how we could do things better, and the more we listen to her, the crazier we feel!

Our Inner critic has us convinced that no matter what we have achieved or accomplished as mothers, no matter how much we have done for our kids, we are still not good enough!  As Kiki says in the movie, “In today’s day and age, it’s impossible to be a good mom!”  REALLY??!!

The PTA president, Gwendolyn, is the personification of our Inner Critic.  Her character represents everything that we think we should be.  She’s doing it “right.”  She is the ideal woman.  The epitome of perfection.  And, if we keep listening to her, our inner critic’s advice about how we need to change, fix or perfect ourselves, we can finally get to the point where we feel like we’re doing it right.  Except, no matter what we do and how hard we try as moms, we never, ever reach that arrival point. It’s like we’re all hamsters on the hamster wheel.  Running and running and running, and still, we feel the same.

It’s time to STOP THE INSANITY!  Does that mean you just let everything go, drink yourself into oblivion, slack off and throw wild PTA parties like the “Bad Moms” did?  NO!  It’s about recognizing that you are listening to a crazy person in your mind, thinking that it’s YOU.  It’s about learning the difference between YOU and your crazy, delusional, perfectionistic, Inner Critic, who is the one who is responsible for so much of your suffering in your life, especially when it comes to motherhood.

Your inner critic convinces you that you have to keep doing more, being more, knowing more, in order to feel like you are a good mom.  The minute you meet her expectation of who you are supposed to be, that is quickly yesterday’s news, and she is already on to the next problem you have to solve, the next mountain you have to climb, the next milestone you have to make your child reach.

The truth is that the feelings of inner peace, joy and contentment that all moms crave, come from learning how to separate yourself from your inner critic.  It’s about learning the tools to stop giving energy and attention to her attempts to improve, perfect, fix or change either you or your children.

The bottom line is this:  The only thing that makes you feel like a bad mom, and then try to do more and be more to feel like a good mom, is your automatic habit of listening to your Inner Critic, and thinking that it is YOU.  The more you practice separating yourself from the grip of your inner critic, the less crazy you will feel, and maybe you can recognize the mother that you REALLY are.

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