Hey mamas….ever have one of those days where you are full on Dino-Mom, roaring at your children and contemplating eating them for lunch?
Sooo tired of your tiny, beautiful newborn baby not sleeping, that the next time they wake up crying after a whopping 2 hours of sleep, that you think to yourself, I just can’t do this?
Have a succubus nurser, on the boob constantly, and you just want them OFF?
Did you think you were only going to serve handmade, homemade pureed fruits and veggies to your babe, only to end up serving store bought?
Did you do or say something you never thought you would when it came to parenting?
And how are you about those things, when all is said and done? Do you judge yourself? Do you give yourself grace? Maybe a little of both, depending on the day or what happened?
Forgiveness Leads to Growth as a Mom
What is it that has us judge ourselves so much and hold ourselves to such high standards? I think it’s the immense amount of love we have for our babies and the desire to do the absolute best we can for them. And it makes us crazy sometimes. And with that, it makes it all the more important to be gracious, kind and, something that I think is key, to allow for forgiveness.
Forgiveness for ourselves is critical to our growth and learning as Moms. If we can look at a situation that didn’t go so hot, get real with ourselves about what happened, acknowledge our missteps, have compassion, and then be able to forgive ourselves, we are cultivating a positive relationship with ourselves and also with others.
True Story: Dino-Mom Lives
My husband travels usually a couple times a month for a couple days at a time, sometimes as long as a week away. There were a few months that it felt like it was back to back, and when that happens, it takes a toll on my kiddos and I. They are still little and learning how to verbalize their feelings and not just wile out all the time like crazy people, so there are some BIG emotions happening. He also tends to travel when I’m hormonal, which does not help matters AT ALL (I swear he has a calendar that is tracking my cycle LOL).
My son really takes it hard and tends to act out a lot when Daddy’s gone; and he’s four-ish and has a strong will (insert sarcastic YAY here). He would fight me almost every morning that Daddy was gone to get dressed and ready for school. I dreaded getting him ready, because I knew that he was going to fight me and I was OVER IT—TOTALLY OVER IT. I’d bring my best happy face to the routine, be playful, try and be patient, do different tactics, walk away, pretend not to care – didn’t work. After the UMPTEENTH time of him resisting getting dressed, MOMMY LOST IT. Full on Dino-Mom. I yelled and huffed and puffed and said a lot of things that I can’t exactly remember right now, but they weren’t great. I took it out on his sister too and got her all involved in this super awesome yelling angry Mom party.
I felt terrible. Sick to my stomach. Awful. I sat down with them both and I cried. I told them I was tired, sad, and frustrated that things go this way when Daddy’s gone. That I don’t like fighting about getting dressed every morning because it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong…..And then I felt the energy shift. I felt things get a little lighter. I felt my son breathe a nice big sigh, and sissy soften into me. The truth will set you free….And I forgave myself in that moment. I said I was sorry, and that I shouldn’t have yelled. Then my son said he was sorry, and I forgave him for being a tiny little tyrant – knowing that the fights to get dressed were a cry for connection, his way of expressing, and all he could really do in those moments.
If I hadn’t forgiven myself, I know how this would have gone. I would have stayed resentful, righteous, and angry at my son – blaming him for his role in my upset, and whittling away at my ability to love myself (because I don’t want to be the Mom that doesn’t take ownership of her upset and blames her little guy). It would remain something kind of “incomplete” for me, and then the next time something would come up, it would add fuel to my fire adding to self-loathing and a negative relationship to myself—a pattern that in just the last year have I really begun to break through love, compassion and forgiveness.
So, Mama, what can you forgive yourself for? How can you learn from your missteps, your way too high expectations, your mistakes and/or journey? I invite you to be kind, gracious, and to forgive yourself on the daily, and be as in the moment as you can. Let the little things go, learn from the “big” ones, and give yourself permission to love yourself just as you are, imperfections and all.
Dawn Herring is a Childbirth Education Teacher, Birth and Postpartum Doula, recovering perfectionist and Empowerer of Mamas. She teaches classes and serves women and families in the Tampa Bay Area. Learn more about her at www.empoweredbirthsandbeginnings.com.