Articles and Books
Our Secrets Keep Us Stuck
by Corrine Bucher
As my client's tears welled up, I felt her pain as she told me about yelling at her kids a few hours earlier. My client, who quite often awes me with her deft parenting skills and sage wisdom, had done something much more common than she realized. At some point even the most serene among us will falter and lose it with our kids. This misstep is made all the worse by the way it instantly registers on our kids' faces, adding to our guilt the fear that we've done some sort of long-term damage. A fear that lingers long after our anger has subsided.
My nickname in college was “Sweet C”, so when I became a mom I met a side of myself I had no idea even existed. I remember that first moment when both kids, whining incessantly from the back seat of the car as I tried to navigate rain-slicked streets, took me over the edge. I yelled; wide-eyed, they both froze and then broke into tears. It was awful. All I could think was that a good mom would never act like that. What I had done was unforgivable and damaging, so how could I possibly tell someone what I'd done? The more guilt I piled on, the more I found myself becoming impatient and crabby. I was spinning down the rabbit hole. Finally, I called my best friend and told her what had happened and what I was feeling. I felt immediate relief when she shared a similar experience. I needed to be reminded that I am not unique, nor alone. As soon as I stopped loathing myself for what I had done and began looking at how I might avoid having the same reaction again, I was on my way to a solution. And peace of mind.
The pursuit of perfection as a mom is tricky. I can strive for it, but I also have to accept that there are days -- perhaps quite a few -- that I'm going to fall short. I have found that I can't have true love and compassion for my family without having them for myself. Loving myself means not carrying my burdens alone. Having compassion for myself means accepting that I will make mistakes. There is a poignant saying: “We are only as sick as our secrets.” Sharing our fears allows us to see them in proper perspective, instead of the towering monsters they can become if allowed to grow inside our heads. The pain for my client was that she hadn't been the mom she would like to be and knows she can be. Been there, thought that. As soon as she let the monster out, the healing began. For both of us.
Ask yourself: Do you continue to beat yourself up and feel guilty, creating more negative emotions and feelings? Or do you talk about it openly, let it go and learn from it?
Corrine Bucher is a veteran coach and mother devoted to transforming the lives of both working and stay-at-home mothers. Her Workshops for Working Mothers, originally developed for a Fortune 500 Company, challenge and inspire women to define their work/life balance vision so they may begin to feel a sense of control again. Learn more and sign up for her online newsletter, Embracing Motherhood, at http://corrinebucher.com.
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