Today’s #Wellness Wednesday article and video aims to help those moms who at times feel like The Worst Mom Ever. Please click on “read more” to see the video and full post! And remember, if you have ideas for topics you’d like me to cover, please don’t hesitate to contact me, either through the comments section on my blog posts, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook, on Twitter (@DrCBTMom) or on Instagram (@drcbtmom).
As a clinical psychologist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for stressed moms, I cannot count the number of times other moms have said to me, “I’m the Worst Mom EVER!” And as a mom of two, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve said that to myself (as recently as yesterday, when I sent my son to baseball practice with no mitt and no water bottle).
Here’s a classic CBT strategy that will help you with your feelings of maternal inferiority: the continuum technique. Draw a line with 0 at one end and 100 at the other. The 0 represents the worst mom you can think of, someone who does everything wrong. This can be someone you know, a celebrity, or even a fictional character (I’ve heard everything from Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, to Betty Draper from Mad Men, to “My mother-in-law.”). The 100 represents the ideal mom, a paragon of motherhood who never loses her temper or cool and whose children are always well-behaved and gracious. Usually, clients tell me that they cannot think of a real person who fits the “100” description, so they end up choosing another fictional character (I often hear Donna Reed or another fictional 1950s-era housewife).
Next, I ask clients to pick someone who’s at a 50, halfway between ideal and horrible. Here’s where people are readily able to identify real people they know who fit this description. Finally, I ask clients where they think they fall. When I’ve done this exercise, most women are surprised to conclude that, all things considered, they fall above a 50 in the motherhood department. That is, they are better than average. And I always stress that there is no mom on the planet who’s at 100; and in fact, you don’t need to be at 100 (or even close to 100) to be doing a good job mothering.
Next time you find yourself feeling like the “Worst Mom Ever,” put yourself on a continuum of moms. I guarantee you’ll be surprised about where you end up. And please share your results in the “comments” section!