Being a mom has always been hard, and these days, more than ever, we’re being pulled in a million different directions. On top of that, we’re constantly being exposed to societal pressures to do more as parents, as employees, as family members, and with our physical bodies.
A quick look at social media, tv commercials, or even standing at the register waiting to ring out our groceries will remind us how our bodies ‘should’ look like, all the great parties people are throwing for their kids, the amazing vacations they’re taking, and all the ways everyone else is living the picture perfect family life.
Because of this, a lot of moms are suffering, trying to be everything to everyone. We’re burning ourselves out, and even though we’re giving everything, it still feels like our best isn’t good enough.
If this sounds like you, here are 5 tips to help you change that narrative for yourself so you can feel better and stop beating yourself up.
Check in With Yourself
Is the thought that your best isn’t good enough even true? We tend to take every thought we have as truth, but we can’t believe everything our brain tells us. Sometimes we’re just used to saying or thinking we aren’t good enough because we’ve heard it or said it for so long and never questioned it. It’s become a social norm – so many moms talk about feeling like they aren’t good enough or are failing at this mom-life thing, it can get into our heads without us even noticing. We mirror the thoughts and feelings to help us feel connected and part of the group.
Create Your Own Standard
Remember that you get to create your own standard. As unique beings, we all have different ideas about what good enough even means. And what’s good for one mom might be extraordinary for another mom and below the standard for the next mom. And that’s ok! We all get to mom (and live!) our own way. But if we don’t take the time to clarify for ourselves on what our standards are, we’ll adopt the expectations of others and judge ourselves against standards that might not even be ours.
Change The Story
Once we’ve defined our own standard of what’s good for us, and we’ve checked in to see where we currently fall in comparison to that, we have the information we need to really look at our lives in an honest way. From this new perspective, we get to decide if we can be happy with what we’re seeing or if we need to make changes. In many cases, we think we need to do more in order to feel like we’ve done good enough, but the most effective thing to do is actually to change the story we’re telling ourselves about who we are and what we’re doing. You might realize that actually, you’re doing a damn good job, or a good enough job that you don’t need to do anything different besides stop telling yourself that your best isn’t good enough.
Close The Gap- If Needed
Get clear on the gap between where you are now and what ‘good enough’ is for you. If you truly feel like what you’re doing now isn’t good enough, then you can work on making changes to get closer to your own expectations. Before you put the energy into changing things, make sure you go through the above process and specify both what you want things to be like and how they currently are. From that point you can brainstorm out all the smallest possible ways to get there, so we can start baby stepping our way to the change we want to see. Don’t try to make a bunch of changes at once, that’s the best way to overwhelm yourself into feeling worse than when you started. Pick one small change and practice that until it becomes second nature, and then add another small change, and so on.
Write It Down
Don’t just do it in your head. I like to start by brain dumping, which is allowing myself to freely write down everything that comes to mind on a given topic without editing it or stopping until I’ve run out of thoughts. Being able to look at your thoughts on paper instead of just thinking them in your head really gives you a different perspective on them. From there you can decide to write your new story and decide which steps you want to take towards change. Bonus, this also leaves you with a way to check your progress.
If you’re struggling with the feeling that you’re giving all you can and it’s just not good enough, grab a piece of paper and start answering the questions below. From there, you’ll be able to access all the answers that are inside you that will help change this experience of your mom-life.
Questions to ask yourself:
- In what ways does it feel true that my best isn’t good enough?
- In what ways is that not true?
- What areas of my life am I feeling like I’m not doing good enough in?
- What does good enough actually mean/look like to me in those area(s)?
- Where can I allow what I’m doing to be good enough?
- What is the gap between what I’m doing now and what feels good enough for me?
- Brainstorm all the ways I can close that gap, breaking them down into the smallest possible actions.
- If what you need to do is change the story, just notice and acknowledge when you’re thinking your old ‘not good enough’ story and remember this thought isn’t the truth, it’s just an old habit. Then practice telling yourself a new story that feels more aligned with your life and where you’re at right now.
- If you decide to make changes to help you better meet your own standards, start with one of the smallest possible steps and focus on that until it’s engrained in you. I like to look at my brainstormed list and start with things that feel the most important or urgent, what’s easiest to do, and where can I make the biggest impact with the smallest effort – and decide from there where to begin.
Remember that we’re all doing our best with what we have, and you are not alone in feeling like your best isn’t good enough.