“Normalizing the Hardships of Motherhood”

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, the day when the ideal of motherhood is celebrated.

On this day, the day after, let’s look at some reality: “Experts say the United States has the most family-hostile public policy of any developed country, and sociology professor Caitlyn Collins’ new research shows among Western industrialized nations, American mothers stand apart for their stress and feel the most acute work-family conflict.”

“Combine a lack of public policy with a culture that bullies mothers for everything from breastfeeding in public to sleep training, and the generosity of a single holiday starts to pale.”

“We celebrate moms who work to meet society’s demands, who overextend to fill in the gaps, who never cease sacrificing for those they love. But is this the version of motherhood to revere?”

These quotes stood out to me in this USA Today article, as did the following:

“People think motherhood is inherently overwhelming because we’ve made that idea seem natural,” said Virginia Rutter, a professor of sociology at Framingham State University in Massachusetts and author of “Families as They Really Are.” “We normalize the hardships of motherhood. … This is now what’s familiar.”

I definitely felt the pressure of this when I was raising my children. I knew I would never measure up. I always expected to be subjected to criticism. I also expected it to be hard and terrible and unrewarding, especially when they were teenagers (which became self-fulfilling).

If you’re a mom feeling a teeny tiny stressed, if you sometimes or always are waiting for the smack down, if you just can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong or what you should be doing more of — you’re not alone. It’s not you. Start looking at your expectations of yourself — see where you can lighten up a little, give yourself a break. Do you need to be part of every fundraiser at the school? Do you need to be at every sporting event? Do you need to be the one to do the laundry? So many questions to ask!

Feeling compelled to always be on, to always be the mom, to put the children before all else, can be set aside for a moment. Consciously reject this belief. Feel the wholeness of who you are, of which being a mom is just a part. Feel gratitude for the richness that mothering brings to you, and feel gratitude that you and your life are so much more.

For a free copy of my #1 bestseller Surviving the High School Years with Your Sanity Intact: A Guide for Moms of Out-of-Control Teens, go to www.survivingyouroutofcontrolteen.com.

Parent Traps

My book, Surviving the High School Years with Your Sanity Intact: A Guide for Moms of Out-of-Control Teens, was published on April 11! I’m thrilled and touched by the response I’ve received.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 5, titled Parent Traps:

“There’s a freaking huge amount of advice on how to parent, isn’t there?! And when your teen is behaving badly, there’s even more.

We tried them all: behavior modification plans, privilege removals, talking about what was appropriate behavior, etc., etc.

They didn’t work.

This is the thing: the way I parented was determined long before my son’s behavior escalated and had been active for many years. It was driven by how my own parents parented layered over by my inner wounds and not-so-stellar beliefs about myself. In fact, I think I got the worst of both of my parents – my dad’s anger and my mom’s victimhood, lack of self-esteem, and deference to authority.

This wasn’t going to magically change because I put up a chores chart on the refrigerator.

One of the first steps you can take toward shifting to saneness in your situation is to look at your beliefs about parenting and how they contribute to the issues with your child. Do you parent by being in control or through fear? Do you try to be a friend? Can you not stand to hurt your child’s feelings?

It took me a long time to realize that we parented through guilt. We were always trying to guilt our son into behaving properly. When I realized I treated him in a way that I would never treat anyone else, I taught myself to not respond as I always had and start treating him like I would any other person. I had to bite my tongue many times before it became more natural to me, but it really shifted our relationship.

In this chapter, we look at three aspects of parenting: not having faith in your parenting, lack of boundaries, and using control. What other beliefs about parenting do you have that don’t serve you?”

To read the rest of the chapter, download a copy of my book for free at www.survivingyouroutofcontrolteen.com. I’d also love to hear more about what’s going on with you; send me an email if you’d like to chat for a few minutes.

The Out-of-Control Teen

When I was going through the very difficult years of having an out-of-control teen, I was beside myself. I was frantic with worry, fear and unhappiness. I was often paralyzed from making decisions on what actions to take.

I am convinced that things started to turn around – and my relationship with my son began being repaired – when I realized that the way I parented was based on guilt. I constantly tried to guilt my son into behaving better.

When this finally got through to me, I started shutting my mouth on my habitual responses. I started treating him the way I would treat everyone else. And slowly but surely our relationship shifted. Today, I enjoy being around him again and I am so grateful for a growing closeness (hopefully he feels the same).

I believe that if I had spotted my limiting beliefs around parenting earlier, our experience with our teenager would have been shorter, less intense and much less expensive.

I want to help other moms who are going through the same experience. I can’t guarantee any change in your teenager, but I can help you find more calm and peace in the midst of the chaos. I can help you release your own limiting beliefs and emotional charges that keep you stuck in patterns that don’t serve you. By changing your story, you will have more confidence and clarity on how to help your teen.

To this end, my new book, Surviving the High School Years with Your Sanity Intact: A Guide for Moms with Out-of-Control Teens is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be published officially on April 11. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss the situation with your difficult teen, email me at lisa@tappingintoyourtrueself.com.