Being a parent is hard work; not only are you trying to keep a small human alive, but when you pop that kid out, you automatically open yourself up to a whole new world of criticism and judgement. And not only from other people, but from yourself as well! I know this far too well and so I wanted to share some affirmations for parents that have helped me on those really bad days where it feels like I’m doing a really terrible job.
In a recent study by Johnson’s Baby, 58% of the interviewed South African parents agreed that becoming a parent opens you up to more criticism, with 32% of parents agreeing that they are their harshest critics, followed by 31% saying that they feel most judged by their parents, 29% by their spouse and 29% by their parents-in-law. The Generation Gentle report also found that South African parents specifically are the most critical at 44%, while Russia sits at a low 20% as the least critical.
I never thought that I would be someone who would use affirmations for parents, but I have found myself repeating them over and over in my head to try and fight off self deprecating thoughts on those days where I just feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted. Look, I’m not saying that these words will instantly turn your day around and make your thoughts stop snowballing, but I do believe that affirmations; when repeated enough times, will have a positive effect on our thought life which will start to have a change effect on our day to day lives.
I wanted to share my top 3 affirmations that have helped me. Use them how you feel would benefit you the most; write them down in your journal, make them your phone screen saver, paste them next to your mirror, or if you’re lazy like me, just repeat them in your head when you need them.
I am their calm in the chaos: This has been particularly helpful to me when Aria is having a full on melt down about something or is just getting incredibly worked up and upset. I can often start to feel incredibly frustrated and angry in these moments and it can be very hard to pull myself back from those emotions once I start to snowball. I try really hard to remind myself that her emotions are still very difficult for her to understand and so I need to be her constant, that she looks to me to ground her and calm her. It is definitely not easy to do, at all but I find that if I take a literal step back, take a breath and repeat this to myself a few times, it is that much easier.
My children don’t need a perfect mom, they need me; I am the perfect mom for them: I can honestly say that I say this to myself at least twice a day, every day. I live my life online, I’m on it more hours than I’d like to admit. But it’s my job, it’s my business and it’s what enables me to contribute financially to my family. I have absolutely found more positive than I have negative, in the online space and I am lucky enough to not have dealt with very many “trolls”, but that doesn’t stop me comparing myself to the other moms online who seem to have a picture perfect life with children that never step a toe out of line. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that social media is a highlight reel of people’s lives, but my mind isn’t always as rational as I would like it to be, and so when self doubt starts to creep in, I like to remind myself that I am the perfect mom for my girls, that I know them best, and that they don’t need a perfect mom… and also that she doesn’t exist.
This too shall pass… maybe not as quickly as you’d like, but it will pass: Oh my word, the amount of times I have repeated this to myself at 2am with a crying baby, or at meal times when Aria went through a stint of refusing to eat, or when we were waking at all hours of the night with Maia for a solid week when she just wouldn’t sleep. When you’re in the moment, in the eye of the storm it feels like your fate is sealed, leaving you feeling completely exasperated and defeated. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture; your baby will sleep, your toddler will outgrow tantrums and they will eat when they are hungry; this is not the rest of your life, it’s just a rough patch. Sure, it may not be over in one week, or even one month, but it will pass and become a distant memory.
Parenting is not for the faint at heart and more often than not, we are our own worst critic. But mama, you’re doing an incredible job, just the fact that you are worried that you aren’t good enough shows what a dedicated and committed mom you are. It’s inevitable that we will be hard on ourselves, but try to give yourself a break every now and then, you deserve it! Do you have any parenting affirmations that help you? Leave them in the comments for other moms to read when they are having a rough day.