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Looking in the Mirror

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By: Denise E. Bailey   |   January 27, 2022

The day your child was born, so were you. This milestone often goes unacknowledged. For nothing in your life could ever take up as much time, energy, emotion, and effort as mothering. And you will never be the same. Your intentions are pure, to be the best guide/mentor possible.

Feeling Stuck
With this newfound role we often forget how to nurture ourselves and for some women we forget who we are. Up until we have children, we can often hide our blind spots and make it all look perfect. Then suddenly we are stuck. Stuck in our thoughts. Stuck in our false stories about ourselves. Stuck in the false images and social media posts we’ve been inundated with. Stuck in our belief that we would forever be fulfilled in this role and that it would come naturally because we are women. We realize there is more to being a mother than changing diapers. For me, motherhood became my biggest catalyst for evolving, for healing, and for loving myself unconditionally.

Looking in the Mirror 
Your new role as a mama will ignite the internal responsibility to work on yourself. Whatever it is in your life that you need to address…your child(ren) will show you. This can cause a tremendous amount of overwhelm because you can no longer hide from yourself. When you look at them, their behaviors, their habits, their emotions…you are actually looking in the mirror. 

Taking Inspired Action
I’ve worked with an amazing life coach since 2012. She has helped me navigate so many of life’s big decisions. She has been with me through the good and challenging times. Sometimes I talk to her every week and at other times every month. My favorite thing about working with her is that she doesn’t provide me with answers. Instead, she reminds me that the answers I am looking for already exist inside of me. Sometimes just hearing myself talk to her is enough to inspire me into action. One of the hardest parts about being a mother has been realizing that our children reveal our blind spots and force us to love ourselves enough to commit to evolving while still showing up every day to parent. 

Examining Your Triggers
I didn’t really know my triggers until 2017 when I had three children, all two years and under. It was chaos. I was exhausted. I was grieving the loss of my father and mother-in-law while running a family business. I was pushed to the max. There was no way I could pretend I had it all together—I didn’t. I was surviving and parts of me were dying. I started to think it was because of how close our daughters were in age, the fact I had colicky twins, the death of my father and mother-in-law the same month the twins were born, the extra responsibilities of running a business, and not enough help. But in truth it was simply because I was overwhelmed. The American-Webster online definition of overwhelmed is to become completely overcome or overpowered by thought or feeling. I was that and more.

My inner critic was yelling. In my mind, I was nowhere near enough or worthy of being a mother to my children. Harsh, but that is how reckless I talked to myself. 

Quieting your Inner Critic
Prior to becoming a mama, I was an educator. I have my ECE and Multiple Subject Credentials and have taught everything from preschool to middle school. I have advised so many parents on how to handle overwhelm, emotions, and more. I feel that this knowledge added an extra sense of responsibility because I knew better; so why wasn’t I doing better? It took me a year to come out of the fog and when I did, I was so sad.

Journey to Enoughness
I realized that the journey to “enoughness” isn’t easy. The universe will constantly allow us opportunities to grow and evolve. My tipping point… being a mama of three amazingly active and spirited daughters. When I woke up in the morning, I felt like I was about to work overtime. I would start my day exhausted. Our daughters weren’t exhausting, my life was exhausting. When I was able to finally look deeper inside, I realized that I was suffering from good old perfectionism, not enoughness, shame, guilt, and postpartum depression. 

Reading all of the social media posts on how to respond better to your child is maddening, in my opinion. Whether to do time outs or not do time outs and how to respond when your child is having a temper tantrum works great if you have the self-awareness to realize when you are triggered. I am personally triggered when I perceive the potential for an outburst of emotion. To avoid it, I immediately try to calm the situation down and/or negotiate. When the inevitable tantrum happens, I find myself internally hot. I just want the yelling or crying to stop and when I can’t soothe them, I often respond in a way that is not my typical response—I yell. I am aware this is literally the last thing you should do when your child is having a tantrum so then the guilt and shame kick in. I feel bad. 

Before going to bed, think about how you can manage the situation differently next time. But you can’t do it differently until you dig deep and examine why you get triggered. Why is your inner child acting out? This is where self-love has to come in. You are going to keep making the mistakes until you address these triggers. Your triggers may be a messy house, being late, snarky comments from another mom, etc… You can read all the posts you want, but nothing is going to change until you change. And to do that, you have to know that exactly how you are is already enough. If you want to stop the tantrum, you have to stop the tantrum within. 

Forgiving Yourself
You have to forgive yourself so that you can continue to show up even if you know you’re going to mess up again. If you made a mistake, apologize to your child for how you handled the situation and show them you’re human. Nurture yourself with support from a life coach, therapist, good/true friends, baths, journals, yoga, walks, your career, etc… You are learning too. Remember, you were only just (re)born.

Denise Bailey is on a mission to to help women transition into and through the various Phases of Motherhood. As a former educator and mama of three she now fully understands that the journey to enoughness requires a tremendous amount of self-compassion and self-care. She is inspired by her three daughters to help women manage their expectations, let go of perfectionism, and lean into the beautiful mess. You can follow Denise @TheNurturedMommy and learn more about this movement at
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Mindfulness in the Making: Happy New Year Read >>  

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