👩‍👦"Do You Feel Like a Bad Parent?"

(5 Minute Read) If you think you failed as a parent and want to stop feeling that, this is the article for you.

Today’s edition is brought to you by us! - The newsletter that gives you great resources for free. Spread the news!

A demanding schedule during the day followed by the constant of being needed by a tiny human all evening, which is physically exhausting. There's not enough support for the mental load when it comes to the numerous tasks of running a home and caring for children, which leaves me incredibly mentally drained after a day full of decision-making at work. Limited time to myself, sleep deprivation, sickness cycles, and the list goes on.

So, that moment—the moment when I lost it—wasn’t really about the struggle of trying convince a toddler and a preschooler to go to bed. It was about needing support. It was about needing some time to myself. It was about having too much on my plate, likely a result of poor boundaries on my part. But when I heard THIS particular cry after essentially screaming in her face like this (see gif below), I felt AWFUL.

Screaming Season 5 GIF by Broad City

Gif by broadcity on Giphy

“Get away from me!” I yelled at my daughter as she tried to stop me from leaving her room after over an hour of trying to get her and her brother to sleep. Has that ever happened to you? A long evening of trying to get your kids to bed and then all of a sudden you just snap?

That moment felt like an out-of-body experience. I know the person who just yelled at a 4-year-old was me, but she looked so angry and full of hurt—I almost didn’t recognize her. The truth is, my yelling had little to do with the difficult bedtime; it was just my boiling point. But before we continue this conversation, go support the sponsor we love today, here’s a quick ad for them.

This is the GentleParents Agreement

The article is almost free 😅

All we ask is for you too share this article, its the GentleParents agreement because we trust you will hold your part of the deal 😎

Want to be a part of the sponsors we support and love? Sponsor the newsletter down below!

Although it didn’t actually play out like the clip above, that’s how I imagine I looked to her. This cry was full of hurt and sadness, making the gut punch that I inflicted on myself feel even worse. I immediately went to my room and started to cry. This is NOT how I imagined I would show up as a mother, but it was, and so I knew I had to do something to change that.

When you feel like a bad parent, and guilt and shame start to consume you, pay attention to the underlying emotions. I can guarantee that behind the guilt and shame lies a more honest feeling. Perhaps you’re resentful because your partner carries less of the load than you. Maybe you’re disheartened by reacting emotionally instead of responding mindfully. Perhaps you’re scared about how this will impact your kids. Taking time to notice the true feeling helps you become more aware.

After you notice it, take a moment to acknowledge the feeling and the need it's connected to. I find the non-violent communication sentence stem, “I’m feeling _____ because I’m needing/deeply value _______,” very useful for this purpose. For instance, it might sound like, “I’m feeling resentful because I need more support from my partner,” or “I’m feeling disheartened because I deeply value kindness.” Acknowledging both the feeling and the need allows you to show yourself empathy and understanding.

Once you acknowledge it, act on the empathy and move towards self-compassion. Consider how you can show yourself kindness in that moment. One recommendation I give to clients is to have an affirming phrase you repeat to yourself, such as: “I’m a good mom who’s having a hard time” or “I am kind, I am loving, I am good enough.” This might look like you embracing yourself using the butterfly hug method or swaying to help calm your nervous system as you say an affirmation. When you move towards showing yourself acts of kindness, you’re able to replace guilt and shame with compassion.

*Please give a gentle round of applause too…*

Subscribe to keep reading

This content is free, but you must be subscribed to GentleParents to continue reading.

Already a subscriber?Sign In.Not now

Join the conversation

or to participate.