Nobody is perfect, not even mums

The other day, I noticed what looked like a mosquito bite on my youngest daughter’s leg. We have a big garden and she plays outside most of the time we spend at home. The weather has been lovely lately (not complaining!) and with that of course, come mosquitos. Coupled with my daughter’s fierce refusal to wear any socks, shoes, or long trousers, she was bound to get a bite or two.

I didn’t think much of it until a couple days later, when a rash started developing around the bite. After a bit of googling, I decided to go get it checked out. The diagnosis was a tick bite, and early stages of Lyme disease. “14 days of antibiotics and she will be fine”, said the doctor.

“14 days?? Are you kidding me?”

My little one had never been on antibiotics before. With my background in Functional Medicine, I know how important gut health is, and how antibiotics kill both the bad as well as the good bacteria. 14 days felt too long, and wrong. (I did of course start and will finish the prescribed course of antibiotics. I am very grateful for modern medicine and know how important treatment is, especially in cases like these).

Guilt and blame

All sorts of upsetting, negative thoughts started spiraling in my head: If only I had used more of that insect repellent. I could have made sure she was covered in it every single time she was outside. Maybe I should have insisted she wears shoes and long trousers. I shouldn’t have let her play around the bushes. Had I checked her body for signs of bites every hour on the hour, I might have seen the tick and gotten rid of it before it caused any damange.

If I had done my job well, this wouldn’t have happened.

The inner stories we tell ourselves and their impact

All sorts of emotions and thoughts were going through my mind, with guilt and blame at the very top. You see, mums aren’t supposed to make mistakes. They have one job and that is to raise children. No errors allowed. The stakes are too high.

It pains me to even type the sentences you just read. How harsh, cruel and untrue they are! Yet we all carry this painful inner story inside of us, to various degrees. It is often this story that doesn’t allow us to truly love ourselves, to cut ourselves some slack, and to forgive ourselves for being the imperfect human beings that we are.

It leads to increased anxiety about every little thing that might go wrong with our child and a racing mind that always look for the worst-case scenario. We might second-guess ourselves and spend hours making decisions that involve our children.  Emotional eating might become our outlet, creating even more guilt. Most importantly, all of these negative emotions and self-talk drain both our physical as well as our mental energy.

And when we have small children, we need every single bit of energy we can get.

A socially-accepted narrative

The pressure to be perfect isn’t only self-generated. It is very much part of our western culture. We associate mums with perfection and see a woman that is able to multitask like no other, tirelessly serving the other members of the family with a smile. The pressure to be perfect is accentuated by the fact that we do not have a ‘tribe’ to fall back on, as most of us are living away from our families. Not only do we have to be perfect, but we are alone in trying to do so.

The truth is, giving birth to a human being doesn’t automatically grant you the superpower to do everything perfectly. Then why do we believe the lie that says we should?

Nurturing a new perspective with Positive Intelligence®

In the example I shared above, I could have carried that guilt and blame for days, weeks, or months, but I didn’t. The negative thinking spiral I was in as I walked out of the hospital didn’t last longer than a few minutes. In my mind I was quickly able to explore what was truly happening for me, to develop empathy and compassion for what I was feeling and to forgive myself. I saw this incident for what it was: one of the many unpleasant events of life that I had 0 control over. I hugged my little one tight. It was going to be alright.

If you’re reading this thinking “this all sounds lovely Annie, but I could never do that”, I’m here to tell you that you can. That is exactly what I help my clients do using a groundbreaking programme based on neuroscience called Positive Intelligence®. While it was originally geared towards top-level employees,  thousands of people from around the world and in all sorts of circumstances have used it since. I use it with everyone I work with and I an convinced it is perfect for mums: after all, don’t you often feel like a top-level employee, or even a CEO in your role as a mother?

Imagine a life where your mind is your friend and not your enemy, and the tremendous amount of much-needed energy (that you surely need and can put to better use) this would liberate.

Contact me if you’re curious to find out more.

 

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Hi, I'm Annie!

I’m a mum of two and a coach with a mission to help fellow mums prevent burnout, eradicate stress and overwhelm and live their best lives.

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