5 Tools To Separate You From Your “Bad Mom” Inner Critic

parenting Oct 25, 2017

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 the critic’s attempts to improve, perfect, fix or change either you or your children.

Here are 5 tools to separate YOU from your “BAD MOM” INNER CRITIC:

1.    What is the story your inner critic has been telling you about the mom that you are?  Pay attention to the areas where you are struggling or suffering the most in being a mom.  What are the beliefs that your inner critic is convincing you are “Truths?” Even though this may feel like the truth, you are identifying with the expectations of your inner critic, who expects you and your life to fit a “perfectionistic” picture.  When life doesn’t fit this picture (which is often the case), your inner critic will convince you that there is something wrong, and it is up to YOU to make it right.  Try catching your inner critic in the act of hustling you into believing her story.  See her story as just that:  A STORY!  You will know when she’s trying to hustle you by watching your suffering, and all the feelings that come along with it.

2.    See your inner critic’s story as repetitive mind chatter.  For example, if you are angry about forgetting about a birthday party your child was invited to, how is your inner critic making you feel about yourself?  Can you identify this feeling at different times throughout your life, even before you became a mother?  The story of the inner critic is repetitive and unchanging.  The inner critic will just keep looking for more evidence to support the story.  That is how a mistake that most parents make, can make you feel like the worst mother in the world.  The same feelings your inner critic creates today, are the same feelings she created when you were 8, 17, and 30!

3.    How is your inner critic trying to control your children?  Your inner critic needs your children to fit her “perfectionistic” idea of who they should be, because if they fall short of her picture, she will convince you it’s YOUR fault!  She will make you feel small, inadequate, and incompetent.  So, to make sure that you don’t feel that emotional pain, she will try to control and fix your kids, so that you can feel like you’re doing a good job.  When your inner critic tries to fix and control your kids, it is the control and criticism that has your kids behave in ways that are the polar opposite of her expectations.  When you can get your inner critic out of your parenting, and let your kids be themselves, they end up being more of the kids that you desire them to be in the first place:  loving, connected, happy kids.

4.    Give your Inner Critic a name that fits her personality.  (Gwendolyn, perhaps?!).  Notice how and when she speaks to you.  Notice the body sensations she evokes in you (shoulders tense, knots in your stomach).  Notice what mood she puts you in.  Notice when you want to eat when you’re not hungry, sleep when you’re not tired, binge watch TV, or worse, is she in the driver’s seat of your life again?  Get her out!  Stop giving her the power to tell you where you’re not enough or how you should live your life!

5.    What unrealistic expectations do I need to let go of so that I can surrender myself from my inner critic’s grip?  When my 15 year-old son leaves a trail of dirty laundry and wet towels from the bathroom to his room yet again, my inner critic will chime in that he is being lazy, selfish, and disrespectful.  If I listened to her, I would blast my son from here to the moon with criticism and anger.  If I can let go of my inner critic, I can remember that my son is acting like a typical teenage boy.  Of course, I will make him accountable for cleaning up his mess. But instead of asking him through my inner critic’s criticism and anger, I can ask him from my calm and centered self.  And I assure you, when I am parenting him instead of my inner critic, my son is a completely different human being!

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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