Unlike you may be tempted to believe, being a positive mom doesn’t mean that you are never negative. Being a positive mom simply means you choose to deal with negativity and move on!
One of the practices that bring us the most misery as moms is to pretend that we have it all together and that everything is “fine.” I don’t know about you, but there is always something or someone raining on my parade…
I’ve always considered myself to be “strong,” and independent, you know, not the whiny type… yet I often experience devastation, fear of the unknown, anger, bitterness, the worry about measuring up, the pain of loneliness and isolation, the insecurity of not being enough. I feel the rejection of not being treated fairly, judged harshly, or wrongly accused, guilt, discouragement, disappointment, and overwhelm. I feel lost and alone just like you.
With that being said, in the media, and often on the blogosphere, we are sold on the “SuperMom” idea… you know, the unrealistic expectation that as moms (and especially a stay-at-home mom) should be the kind who “has the time and the endless energy and resources” to bake fresh bread daily, make her own laundry soap, have a spotless clean home, look impeccable while doing it all… and making a 7-figure income. Oh and did I mention she also has the desire to do all these things?
While I do strive to do my best at all I do and to balance being a mom, a mompreneur, a homeschool educator, and a housewife, I have learned to recognize that something has to give sometimes because I don’t possess super powers (unless you count the power to choose, of course lol).
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said these powerful words: “Our strength grows out of our weaknesses,” and I agree, because it is while working through all my negative emotions that I become the positive mom, the positive wife, the positive me I want to be.
I think it is time for us to be honest with ourselves and with others, especially those closest to us. After all, the way we treat ourselves truly sets the standard for others in our lives. We must put our well-being first if we truly want to be successful at nurturing others, and this starts with honoring our feelings and emotions.
Conceal, Don’t Feel… Don’t Let Them Know
Poor Queen Elsa of Arendelle! [In the movie Frozen] The whole “conceal, don’t feel… be the good girl you always have to be” didn’t really work for her. Does it work for you? We tend to suppress a lot of negative feelings and experiences because of the pressure to live up to others’ ideas of the kind of mother we should be. God forbid they would find out we are not perfect!
My days of hiding are over. If I can post on Facebook when I’m feeling happy, excited, and blessed, then why not also post that I feel sadness and anxiety, or need prayers? If I post about how proud I am about a coaching session I just had because I love what I do, why not post when my sink is overflowing with dirty dishes? It’s so liberating!
I have learned to speak honestly to my husband and my children about my emotional state so they know what to expect from me – and what not to expect, too. I don’t want my daughters thinking that I’m an iced robot… I want them to know I’m real and they have seen me cry (more like bawl my eyes out), pray and plead, and yell “oh no!” in complete frustration and overwhelm. When they know how I feel, they offer me more compassion, words of affirmation, more support around the home, and more hugs, which accelerates my healing process.
Being real, taking off the mask of perfection, and having the freedom to experience negative emotions is a huge source of peace and relief for me.
Just Deal… You’ll Heal!
The truth is that the antidote for negativity or negative emotions is actually to feel and show them. As you do that, they dissipate and you can move forward to the positive side. Negative emotions are useful tools that help us gain self-awareness and self-mastery.
Do you have a hard time dealing with negative emotions?
The next time you are feeling resentment, anger, guilt, sadness, overwhelm, jealousy, fear, or any other so-called negative emotions, don’t hide them, don’t be ashamed of them. These emotions are not sinful, but God-given.
Like Elsa, we are taught that being intense or “too emotional” means that we are some kind of a monster, but the truth is that our emotions are simply warnings that let us know something needs checking. Consider it the soul’s “check engine” light, if you will. I believe I’m not the only one who finds that little light to be very worrisome and annoying… especially when I don’t know exactly why or what it means.
Okay Healthy To Feel Negative Emotions
It’s okay to feel overtired, sad, and resentful, at times…motherhood is exhausting, and there is a lot going on that causes struggle, heartbreak, and worry. Tell yourself it’s okay to feel like that… it is the human reaction to the craziness of being a mom and have your family’s world resting upon your shoulders.
We all feel sad, frustrated, irritable, and on-edge, and it can lead to disappointment because we think that we should manage it all and still be positive, ALL THE TIME. Being a mom is hard work, and add the anxiety about the children, the marriage (or the singlehood), the finances… and the hormones!!! … and
if when we are stressed, we must recognize that we have plenty of reasons to be! These emotions are NOT negative, they are normal!
Several studies, including a Gallup poll of over 60,000 women in the US found that stay-at-home moms feel more negative emotions on a daily basis, as well as to have been diagnosed with clinical depression. It also revealed that stay-at-home moms are “less likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot, learned something interesting, and experienced enjoyment and happiness yesterday.”
Know that you are not alone. Everyone is fighting a battle – or a few. It’s not about “misery loves company” or anything like that… you and I are not the type to feel better because others suffer. We are all imperfect and we all face the same opposition in different degrees at different times in our lives. When I perceive someone as “so perfectly perfect,” I know it now to be a figment of my active imagination or a sign that they are choosing to pretend to cope, not allowing themselves to grieve. Sadly, if they are hiding instead of being honest, they will not get out of their nightmare.
With everything that you are juggling, you may feel that your emotional needs are not worth a mention in the book of life. Dealing, healing… ain’t nobody got time for that! Actually, the more you pretend to cope, the bigger the issue becomes and the more time you’ll have to invest in getting it resolved. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings!
Even when it sounds crazy, it was when I allowed myself to admit that I am NOT where I want to be, that I started to progress on my journey… and as the recovering perfectionist that I am, I decided that progress IS success, and started to pat myself on the back and say no to beating myself up.
Suppressing my feelings has a history of making me a chaotic, dramatic, and explosive woman… someone I don’t want to ever be. Thank goodness I can’t build giant evil snowmen on the spot! Whew!
Freedom comes when I give myself permission to be authentic, to honor my imperfection, and every feeling that comes up with it… but more importantly, to honor who I can become as I move past it. As corny as it may sound now… we must learn to surrender and let it go.
Dealing with the negative emotions of motherhood is a great way to keep sane and to reclaim the joy it is meant to give us as women.
How do YOU deal with the negative emotions of motherhood?