O Style | The Fastest Way To Kill Your Confidence, Mama
I am going straight to the point – Mom Guilt. What the hell is up with that?
I swear society has it all f***ed up when it comes to gender roles and expectations. And sadly, because of how deeply ingrained that is (we’re talking centuries of oppression), we, as women, can get subconsciously swept into it, without even realizing that it’s happening to us, the strong, independent, smart, driven humans that we are.
When I first launched my business, one of the reasons why I had decided to take the leap of faith and do a complete career change, was my child. Even before I gave birth to him, I had felt the strongest, most inexplicable urge to unleash the creative side of me and finally honor who I have always been and who I was becoming. Maybe it was me going through an existential crisis, and it sounds dramatic, but it sure felt like a kick in the butt to be very real with myself. Was my current career in the non-profit fulfilling me? Did I feel in alignment? Was I shaping my life in a way that felt authentic and that I’d be proud of as I raise another human being? And the answers were a hard NO.
So I did a scary thing, yet what I knew in my heart to be the most honorable and loving thing to do for myself, ever: I gave myself permission to follow my creativity, which I learned very quickly, required being utterly vulnerable and deeply uncomfortable.
Now you’d think seven years into the hustle and grind of launching a blog while having a full-time job, to switching careers, to having launched 3 businesses (OliviaRStylist, TBE with my best friends, and Antou Studio with my sister), there would be noooo reason (absolutely none) to experience any sorts of guilt, right?! I mean I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do (and more) and have never felt this aligned and this passionate about my career and life. So why would I feel the slightest guilt when I am putting my best foot forward each day and doing the best I can do to provide for my child and my family, you ask?
I call it the syndrome of Not-Enoughness; the feeling of not being/doing enough.
Let me demonstrate how it shows up subconsciously in my thought process :
“I don’t bake... but I should know how to bake and make delicious homemade desserts. How come I don’t bake?”
“I should do more crafts activities at home…”(as if my child isn’t already into the arts. He loves music and plays drums and is learning piano and guitar.)
“Should I go to the gym as I had planned or instead scratch it and take him to the park and just go tomorrow... or maybe Saturday morning if he’s not up yet?”
“I want to take a day off for myself, but I feel funky asking/paying someone to watch him while I go to the beach by myself... when I could just take him with me.”
Here’s what I think of mom guilt:
It is a CONFIDENCE KILLER that poisons everything that has to do with our physical and mental wellness, self-care, and overall well-being as mothers/parents. It stems from holding this ideal that we should be like other moms, fit into that notion of perfection, and additionally do all those things selflessly.
Mama, that is an exhausting way of living! Just having to spend my energy writing and thinking about this makes me sad and angry, because I do this to myself and although I am aware of it now more than ever, it still creeps in from time to time.
I don’t have the right answers, but here’s what I do know to help combat those feelings because my support system is strong and won’t let me down.
Remember who you are and why the thing you want to do is significant to you. Either way, your child will benefit from that as well (both in the short-term and long-term). A thriving parent means a thriving child who will also learn the importance of nurturing themselves and their interests as adults.
Give yourself some grace. That story you’ve created in your head about you not doing enough/being enough is a lie the patriarchy made. So tell perfection to go fly a kite, which leads me to my next point.
Whether you have a job, a career, a business you’re passionate, your work ethic and dedication will make an impact on your child as they grow up. The sacrifices you’re making should be celebrated. The vision you hold so dearly for your family should be celebrated! All of it! You are making moves. Yes, maybe your mother, grandmother, or mother-in-law did everything differently back then, but you’re not them. And they’re not you.
Mamas/sisters, let’s step fully into our brilliance, for real. On our own terms. And let’s quit looking for that confidence everywhere else, it’s already inside of us.