Mom Guilt is Making You Deaf
I just had a session with a client whose 7 year old son is driving her nuts with clinginess. He won't go to sleep without her, badgers her during the night for more snuggles, and whines and complains every time Mom goes out without him.
"Please don't leave, I can't fall asleep without you!"
"I need you to help me get dressed! I can't pick my clothes!"
"You're not going anywhere, are you?"
When I asked her what she thought it meant when he said those things, this was her response:
"I just don't understand why is he so afraid I'm not going to be here for him! It makes me sad that if he's not physically touching me, he's afraid that I'm just not there for him at all."
I pointed out to her that she was interpreting his behavior to mean that he's afraid she's not there for him, which made her feel like a bad mom, but did it really mean that? What else could it mean?
It could mean that he really likes his mom and feels connected to her, the exact opposite of what she was telling herself it meant! Maybe his fear is of not being able to do something on his own, rather than fear his mom isn't there for him.
When we interpret our kids' behavior to mean that we are failing as moms, we become consumed with guilt. Instead of actually hearing what our kids are telling us, we just hear an inner voice saying, "you suck you suck you suck you suck," and it drowns out anything useful or true from entering our brains.
How would it be if you just KNEW you were the best mom your kid could ever have? What if you were confident that you'd know what to do in every situation? What if there was no shred of any of your kids' behavior that meant anything about you at all?
I'll tell you how it would be: when your kids do something that crosses a boundary or needs redirection, you can see what they are doing in relation to them.
You can listen and empathize without making it about you. When your kid says, “I can't sleep on my own,” they're telling you their experience and asking for support while they learn something new. And you can respond with confidence in both of you, in yourself as an incredible mom, and in your child as a kid who's got what it takes to navigate a challenge and come out on top.
Ready to make that switch and drop the mom guilt so you can HEAR and SEE your kids for real? Reach out and let's make it happen (firstname.lastname@example.org)