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Criticize Me Not

One of the hot topics among my Fishful Thinking peers is being your own biggest critic. No kidding, right? When asked the question about what brings out your inner critic, I was surprised to see – and then not really surprised to see – that many of the mom’s answers were similar to mine:

My inner critic is always around when I’m in one of those “parenting” situations where I could have done MUCH better…or when I feel like my kids could have done better (in public) and it’s perhaps a reflection on my parenting skills.

So what does this mean? If so many moms feel this way – what’s made us like this? Is it one or two moms who exude so much confidence at the park who make the rest of us feel like we’re not cutting it? Perhaps. But I suspect that those moms are also feeling the same way.

So what do we do about this? I’ve been trying to check my expressions at the door (or Park entrance…). Sometimes just a single look from another mom is enough to send me over the edge…she’s looking at me or my kids for just a split second too long, or raises an eyebrow at something…you know.  I’m trying to consciously exude an “Oh, I’ve SO been there – I feel your pain” to other moms.

But I’ve also been trying to stop putting “words” into other mom’s looks. Perhaps they’re just curious about how *I’LL* handle the situation, rather than thinking about how they’d do it so much better than I am. In difficult situations I’m also trying to remember all of the things I’ve handled exceptionally well (which, I must admit, is difficult to do while you’re in the moment!).

There’s a wonderful article about how to Accentuate the Positive. It’s written for how to help your child stay optimistic; but you can absolutely apply it to yourself as well. To paraphrase: Highlight your abilities. Promote your confidence by telling yourself specific things that you’ve done well and you’ll learn that positive outcomes are the result of your own actions. For example, if you’re really good at keeping your calm when one of your kids is picking on another one of your kids, mentally take note each and every time.

Another really helpful article is How to Be a Happier Mom. Some of the items touched on are pretty common sense ones, but sometimes it’s really good to be reminded. I know *I* need the reminder every now and again. And we all know that a happy mom is a relaxed mom. And a relaxed mom can tackle just about any situation thrown at her. 🙂

2 Responses

  1. Great post, Nancy. I’ll have to read that Accentuate the Positive article. The Happier Mom one really does have some great tips. I’ve also tried the Bag It Up activity – trying to quiet that inner critic of mine. ugh!

  2. Perhaps the “bad-Mommy inner critic” gets passed down from generation to generation. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you stopped it in your generation!

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