Have you ever experienced “imposter syndrome”? Imposter syndrome is when you think that you are not “good enough” to share on a topic or do a particular task because you are imperfect, and your brain tells you the story that your imperfection and doubts make you inadequate, unworthy, a fraud, etc. Interestingly enough, when I consider sharing with parents strategies for helping kids become self-compassionate, I sometimes experience imposter syndrome. I think, “Who am I to share about parenting when I so often fall short?”
It’s true. I do fall short as a parent. And it’s also true that self-compassion helps. We will all fall short in any endeavor that is important to us. What is important to remember is that our imperfections do not negate our strengths, nor do they make us unable to do the important work that we have been called to do in the world.
As I gather courage to share tips for parents, I will challenge my imposter syndrome by sharing 6 ways that I fall short as a parent and six ways that self-compassion makes me strong.
Here’s a list of my parenting shortcomings (not exhaustive, and not even necessarily the most glaring offenders):
1) I sometimes struggle with housework. Ummm… really. We are talking about inside out underwear…which can actually be a great strategy when you are behind on laundry.
2) I am addicted to audio books. I have earbuds in my ears while listening to audiobooks a lot!
3) I can get impatient when my kids interrupt me. My brain tends to be mono-focused, and I don’t shift easily.
4) I have a really hard time listening when my kids talk about things that I consider to be trivial. Small talk in general is a growth edge for me.
5) I work too much (but I love my work, and it helps children!!)
6) I can get easily overwhelmed when life gets busy.
I’m giving myself compassion for numbers five and six, and even one through four. Self-compassion doesn’t mean that we pretend that our weaknesses are “fine” or that we don’t strive to grow and change. Self-compassion means that we meet ourselves with kindness and recognize that we, just like others, are imperfect human beings. Self-compassion both helps me try to grow and change, and also recognize that I’m still loveable when I fall short.
In addition to my weaknesses, I have strengths as a parent. Here are a few of my parenting strengths:
1) I usually show up well for my kids when they are upset.
2) I have awesome strategies for helping kids integrate difficult emotions.
3) I know how to say, “this is too much. I need help.” I can find affordable and/or creative solutions for parenting or household tasks that I find overwhelming (including my housework!!).
4) I let my kids know that I, too, am on the learning team.
5) I am very creative, and I have awesome, creative strategies for helping parents and kids grow mindfulness and self-compassion.
6) And I’m pretty good at loving myself and the other imperfect beings who live in my house.
Please know that when I share tips about how we can help our kids (and ourselves!) when we are struggling, I’m sharing them as a fellow struggling human – with strengths and weaknesses…just like you.
Thanks for accompanying me as we collectively learn to grow, stumble, and love together.