Am I a bad mother?
Am I a bad mother? When I typed this question into the Google search bar I found a whopping 728 MILLIONS (!) hits. The reason I googled this phrase was because I was curious if other moms, like me, ever asked themselves this question. So apparently I’m not alone, phew. 😜 As a mom, I have asked myself this question many times. Am I doing a good job as a mom? Am I there enough for my daughter? Am I raising her “right” (if right even exists I guess) Am I not saddling her with my own mini traumas, insecurities,…? The question came to me again yesterday and during my walk this morning I thought about it very deeply. My journal also had to chew on it early this morning and I devoted quite a few words to it.
The reason for this introspection?
The occasion for this introspection? Well, yesterday I went for a drink with my 16-year-old daughter Gina at one of my favorite bars in my town, Waregem, Cottage. Together, we celebrated the happy ending to a situation that has had a pretty firm grip on our lives over the past year. A ‘Picon vin blanc’ and a delicious plate of nachos were the perfect way to celebrate in all serenity. Going out to a café with my daughter is something I do quite often. When she was still at ballet and in the first year after my divorce in our new home here in the center of town, it was a weekly moment on Friday nights. She would meet me at the market square after ballet class and then we would have a drink together with some snacks to go with it. Those were always beautiful moments. When you stay at home the conversations are always different. Then it’s about who empties the dishwasher, whether your kids room is tidy, those shoes that should be under and not next to the hallway closet, and so on. And then you get tension, slamming doors and immediately you are done talking. In a different environment you create a different atmosphere and you are away from your normal habitat for a while. That helps to engage in conversation with my child in a different, often more profound way and to make time for each other. That’s also why I often take clients on multi-day retreats at the start or halfway through a health program with me. That’s when I experience the biggest breakthroughs and they make that “click” for more self-care and then health and healthy weight almost seems to come naturally.
At the bar with my daughter: the conversation.
Now, back to the café. Since my daughter quit ballet, which used to mean taking an intensive dance class 4 times a week, she hasn’t been exercising since. Apart from some meager attempts at jogging or doing a work-out in her room. I started talking about it during our drink together. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that, or should I? She pointed out to me that I was largely the cause of that. With all my health talk about how important exercise and healthy food is, but especially that once, when she went jogging and was back home after 15 minutes, I made jokes about the fact that she was back so soon. Or that I joked when she did a work-out in her room and asked if I could give her some tips and if she could keep up with me in terms of muscle strength. No offense on my part, I saw it more as an encouragement because I know that like me she likes some healthy competition. Apparently I had touched a very sensitive chord with this and thus demotivated her to continue. Gulp… I could sink through the floor of shame. Had I done this to her? Was I the cause of her disappointment and had I deprived her of the courage to exercise? It came hard especially since I saw the tears in her eyes when she told me. This had not been my intention but the harm had been done. I realized that my behavior, my words had left a deep impression on her. I cannot turn back the clock. Unfortunately. But saying ‘sorry’, I can and I did so sincerely yesterday. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry that I fell short here as a mom. It will be a working point for me in the future. And so I have resolved to work on this. Am I going to make any mistakes in the future? Most likely I will. And maybe that is even a good thing because that’s what makes me human. And as a mom I am first and foremost a human being and so I make mistakes. I have learned to say ‘sorry’. But I have also learned to forgive myself. So when I ask myself ‘am I a bad mother’, I go deep within myself to think about a situation where I could have done better. But then I’m also going to let it go. Holding on to that awful guilt doesn’t help me move forward, and neither does it help the other person. We all have to move on. What was yesterday cannot be changed. I prefer to look at today and what I can do today to be a better person, starting from the idea that I am already a pretty good person and that I am also a good mother. Every day is a new opportunity. I give the past a place in my heart but then let it go.
Letting go and forgiving yourself and another is a very powerful gesture. It is also something that I approach with my clients in their health journey and their way to a healthy weight. Feelings of guilt play a very big role in your physical and mental health and also result in extra pounds on the scales and tension wrinkles in your face. Those who work on this sometimes suddenly lose a few pounds in one week. Kilos of unnecessary guilt that literally weighs on your health and your weight but mainly stops you from really living your life. So take the handbrake off your life, let go, forgive and see today as a new day. Am I a bad mother? Most certainly sometimes I am, but that’s perfectly ok.
My name is Lies Helsloot and I call myself the first TAKE YOU TIME™ Expert. I am the author of 3 health books (“Walk Yourself Slim & Happy. How taking More Steps can Change Your Life”, “Move yourself slim and happy”(English translation coming soon) and “The Complete Guide to healthy Hair“), I blog here at takeyoutime.com and coach individual clients, groups and companies around the world to a happy, healthy life and more work-life balance with my 7-step concept of self-care called TAKE YOU TIME™. For more motivation and free training and challenges, be sure to sign up for the newsletter on this site and follow me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Or get in touch to know about my online- and coaching programs.
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