Motherhood and worthiness
When growing up, thanks to Disney’s concept of Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid, I dreamed of meeting a prince of my own like him and having little girls. The belief of meeting these certain milestones, like those in the fairytale, meant that it would result in happiness, belonging and most importantly feeling worthy.
We measure so much of our self-worth by external things; this belief has been something I carried with me throughout my life.
- Do I look like the popular girls at school?
- Do I participate in the same extracurriculars as others?
- Do I listen to the same music?
These external measurements have been the most prevalent in my role as a mother. I have two little girls, a five-year-old and a three-year-old. They are strong, independent, free little spirits that are an externalized part of my heart and because they feel so close to being a part of my heart and body, they also easily become a measurement of my own worth. Especially, my worth as a mom.
Every day I am trying to look at what I could be doing better, and what I should be doing differently. I tell myself stories that if I were doing ‘XYZ’ then my children wouldn’t be doing ‘XYZ’.
Instead of giving myself the permission and grace to show up just as I am, I struggle some days to feel like what I’m doing is not enough. Especially in seasons where the world feels scary and I am just exhausted.
That’s the tricky part of learning to give yourself the grace and compassion to be just as you are. When we are tired and burned out, our brain loves to return to old patterns of ways to survive, the ways to which we are usually accustomed. Rather than knowing that worthiness is not something to be earned, we start to zero in on what we are doing wrong. It’s almost as if it’s easier to hurt ourselves rather than put in the effort to challenge those unhelpful thoughts.
We don’t tend to give ourselves permission to rest and offer compassion because that primal wiring tells us to do so. When we want to slow down and give ourselves that compassion, our brain can tell us things like “If I slow down then I’m being a bad mom. If I slow down then I’m being selfish. If I don’t do these dishes or laundry or if I get fast food for my child, I’m not doing the best by them. Our children will grow up into adults with their own burdens and it will be all OUR fault.” Thoughts like these could equate to you risking your own inherent self-worth, but the important thing to remember about all these is that they are just thoughts, not facts.
So here’s what I want to leave with each of you as you go about your day:
“Slow down. Stop looking out here and start turning inward. Bring compassion to the parts of yourself that feel they need to assess and find all of the areas in which you are failing as a parent in order to feel safe. Remind yourself that worthiness is not earned but that it is inherent.”
By modeling this self-compassion and bringing this awareness into yourself, you are also empowering your children to build a different kind of wiring regarding their own beliefs about worthiness.