It doesn’t matter how many parenting books you read, the number of experts you talk to or follow on social media or how many children you have…imposter syndrome in motherhood can hit you at any time. It can leave you feeling defeated, confused and a bit like a failure.
All the books you read and classes you took seem utterly useless as you fly into mothering. It ebbs and flows all throughout your mothering experience as you learn as you go; not only learning who your child is becoming, but also yourself as a mother. This is motherhood imposter syndrome Chelsea Robinson of Mama’s Modern Village explains in depth about this chronic feeling you may come across, what triggers it and how to break it.
What exactly is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is defined by the Oxford Dictionary, as “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.” That’s modern day motherhood in a nutshell. We’re all striving for this idea of perfection in motherhood, comparing ourselves to one another and left paralysed in the sea of contradictory experts. We can’t do anything right, no matter how hard we try.
But wait. There is hope, Mama. There are absolutely things you can do to strengthen your defenses against it. Read 5 tips for embracing and overcoming imposter syndrome as a Mama below:
Be honest and communicate
We all feel imposter syndrome somewhere along our motherhood journey. That means you aren’t alone in this experience. So talk about it, be honest about your experience with your friends, sisters and fellow mamas. Be vulnerable and don’t paint a picture to anyone that you have it all figured out (because no Mama does, even the picture perfect ones on social). If you’re looking for a community of like minded Mamas to help you on your motherhood journey, visit Mama’s Modern Village.
Remind yourself that there is no such thing as perfect, especially in motherhood
In modern motherhood culture, with intensive parenting on the rise, mothers constantly feel as if they can’t measure up. No matter how hard they’re trying, they feel as if they are always failing.The pressure to be perfect in motherhood is so intense, more mothers are reporting higher levels of stress than ever before and they simply can’t stop doing it. Why? Because the messages they receive on the daily suggest they shouldn’t stop because everyone else has it somehow figured out (cue IG) and they just aren’t “good enough”. You aren’t alone, Mama. This phenomenon is prevalent across the board. Try reminding yourself that there is no such thing as perfect and tell yourself all the time “I am good enough”.
Remember no one knows your baby/child like you do
This can feel hard to remember when we’re surrounded by well-intentioned family members who think the way they raised their children was the best or by doctors and other experts advising us on best practices before we even ask about them. Just know that you are the one who is the Mama to your child. You know them better than anyone else. You know what makes them tick, what calms them down and what makes them happy. So get picky with who it is you listen to on parenting advice, limit your intake of the experts and know when to say “enough”.
Get to know that inner critic when it pops into your head
Doubts are common; we all are going to have them at one point or another, in many areas of our lives, not just in motherhood. The doubts can become dangerous when we don’t catch them in time, then we ultimately end up spiralling, leading us to places much darker than anticipated. So get to know the inner critic so that when she pops into your head unexpectedly, you can tell her “Hello. I hear you. You can leave now.” and move on to more positive thoughts such as “I’m doing my best. Everyone struggles sometimes.”.
Celebrate your wins!
Chances are you don’t feel like an imposter all day, every day, so celebrate the moments that you feel you crushed. Those are the moments to tally up, for your confidence grows when those seeds are watered. Start reflecting on what made that moment go so well. Can you replicate it? How can you set yourself up for that again? Practice an affirmation when those moments happen, that simply brings your attention to your success. “I did it”, “I’m doing a really great job”.
Remember Mama, no one has this whole mothering thing down all the way; there is no singular “right way”. There is just your way. Your ability to embrace your imperfections as a Mama will show your children that it is okay for them not to be perfect either and isn’t that worth modelling?