I wanted to write a piece for working Mum’s so asked a few what they wanted to know more about. One very passionate woman said to me that she found ‘playground politics’ tough. I dug a bit deeper. She said she felt a competitive edge amongst many of the Mums and sometimes suffered feelings of not being good enough.
Yep, have heard this one before! It is a real thing for many school Mum’s, whether they work or not. The site of that Mum who glides effortlessly into the playground on time, dressed stylishly with perfect make-up, accompanied by her smiley child who is dressed head-to-toe in the most awesome home-made super-hero costume….. well, it can bring up all sorts of feelings of guilt and inadequacy, allowing your inner critic to have an absolute field day!
Being a parent seems to come hand-in-hand with guilt and it’s multiple variants. Us Mum’s know it and we often talk about it. We empathise with each-other’s feelings of guilt. We talk in great detail about what it is that makes us feel inadequate. We talk about how the school puts far too much pressure on us, “There is too much to remember! We can hardly be expected to keep up with all those emails, surely!?” Plenty of coffee mornings are fuelled with secret discussions about the ‘perfect’ Mum, or the ‘outspoken’ Mum or the ‘pain in the butt’ Mum – offsetting our own inadequacy. And, what if you can’t make the coffee mornings because you have to work? For many working mum’s that is a golden opportunity to ruminate on guilty feelings of being too busy, of having no balance, of missing their children growing up and so on.
Have you ever considered that you have a choice about whether or not you feel guilty or inadequate?
I would like to invite you to consider the following to be true:
- Where you put your energy is what you will receive in your life.
- How connected you feel internally and how you love yourself will be reflected in where you choose to focus your attention, which brings us back to point 1.
You have a choice. You can choose to focus on what you are not achieving, on the costume you forgot to make, on how busy you are etc. And, you can choose to take it a step further and give it even more energy by talking endlessly about it. And a step further, paying it even more attention, by ruminating about it until it affects your sleep and your health. And the result of all of that? Well, more of the same to worry about. More guilt. More inadequacy.
Or, you can choose to focus on what you HAVE. What ARE you achieving? What DOES work for you and your family. Where ARE you feeling satisfied as a Mum. What ARE you great at? Placing your energy and focus on those things will not only mean you have less time to ‘play victim’, it also means you are raising your energetic vibration which attracts more of the good stuff into your life. And, when you are attracting in more to feel happy and grateful about, you have the energy to consider what realistically isn’t working for you, get pro-active and change it.
If you are having thoughts around not being good enough as a Mum and feel a level of playground competition, I would invite you to consider where else in life you do not feel good enough. And, where do you think that stems from? Do you think that you are fundamentally good enough? Are you in competition with yourself? Are you good enough for YOU? Are you worthy of loving yourself?
Often what is going on internally is reflected in our perceptions of what is going on around us. If you fundamentally don’t feel adequate at the core of you, could you conceive that you will perceive inadequacy in various other areas of your life?
Let me use myself as an example.
I am often the one racing from the car to the playground, 6yr old hot at my heels. I very rarely arrive looking calm & organised! And, if it is a costume day, I have either made something far from ‘perfect’ or it is my car you hear screeching off into the distance, dashing home for a delve into the dress-up box because I completely forgot all about it! (dang all those emails….!)
But! I usually have a smile on my face. And, I would like to think that my smile comes from within. I do notice the kids in the awesome costumes. And, I do notice the supremely organised Mums. But, I judge myself against myself and my own self worth. Not against them. And, my self worth is the highest it has ever been. Loving myself is my absolute daily focus and priority (as is loving my son, naturally!). I know that where I place my attention is what I witness in my world. So, I see the same things as you in the playground – my perception is just different. I know I am doing my best. Because I love myself, I choose to be kind to myself. To treat myself with understanding and compassion. And, because ‘love’ is my focus, I am able to look at ‘those’ Mums with genuine delight – good on them for making an awesome costume! Infact, they inspire me to create something equally as cool next time. They are not my competition. Why do that to myself?! And, as a working Mum, I focus on all that I DO provide for my son. Not least imparting the importance of self belief and self worth!
I am not saying this to ‘big-up’ myself. I am not saying it to suggest I am better than you. I am saying it to demonstrate that there is another way of being. And, I have experienced both. I lived a long time as a ‘victim’ and my focus was on what others had and what I lacked. I know how it feels to think I am inadequate and not good enough. And, I know what a mess my life looked like as I attracted more of what I gave attention to. I chose to do something about it. I chose to love myself and the most incredible journey of my life started in that moment.
What do YOU choose today?