Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

June 17, 2011

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

"You have no idea what you are doing."

The whispers usually start some time in the morning.  They come after a tantrum or a blow out diaper or the incessant crying of the baby. Most of the time, you don't notice them; they exist as part of the din of every day life.  Yet, throughout the day, they weave a quietly told story to your subconscious.  By the time you are ready for bed, the voice is almost audible. And as you replay the day in your mind, you can't help but believing the tall tale that has been published in your head.

It's the curse of Parenting Lies.

And none of us are immune.

Parenting is a rollercoaster:  you have your up days, you have your down days.  Just when you think you've mastered one parenting skill, you are completely thrown for a loop in another area. Some days it's hard not to doubt yourself when the baby is crying and you can't figure out why.  It's difficult not to berate yourself when you snap harshly at your child's whining demands. 

But the mind can be a dark and tricky place.  It is here that the whispers are born.  And not only are they born, but they are set on repeat.  All throughout the day, if we allow ourselves to be drawn in, we are fed these Parenting Lies. And the longer they are left to fester, they grow bigger and get louder.  Soon, the nagging in our ears becomes a tugging in our hearts.  We can't shake the feelings and thoughts, and before long we start to believe them.

"You have no idea what you are doing."

"Your kids resent the fact that you work."

"You'll never lose this baby weight."

"You are doing a disservice to your baby by feeding him formula."

"You can't handle breastfeeding."

"Your kid is going to be really messed up because you let him watch TV."

"Your kid cannot sit still. Something must be wrong with him."

"I'm a boring stick-in-the mud now that I have kids."

And when we begin to believe them, the Lies win.

Part of winning the battle against Parenting Lies is recognizing they are just that: lies. I've realized there are a few Lies I've been hearing and believing recently.  They go something like this:

"You have no idea what you are doing."
I hear this one plenty during the day.  When my 5 month old is crying for seemingly no apparent reason, when I can't get her to nap or eat, I hear it.  When my 3 year old throws a tantrum or talks back or is bouncing off the walls and I'm not sure how to handle her, I hear it. There is nothing more debilitating as a parent than to believe that you are completely ineffectual at caring for your children.  

"Only you can take care of these kids."  
This is a lie that I've only recently recognized. I stay at home with my kids, so I am their daily primary caregiver.  Because I am with them day in and day out, I've learned their little idiosyncrasies. I know what each cry means. I know that if you put Little Chica down even 10 minutes too late for her nap, she most likely won't nap.  I know that Bitty Bug needs to cry a bit before falling asleep. I know that Little Chica gets frustrated easily if her block towers continually fall over and needs to be redirected to another activity before she explodes. I know that when Bitty Bug gets a little fussy, she usually calms down if you put her in her swing.  And because I am the master of all this knowledge, it's easy to believe that no one else could take care of them as effectively.  So, I sometimes find myself buying into the lie and choosing to stay home instead of going out.  And it's so limiting and isolating!  Parents need time to regroup away from their kids, and kids benefit from being under the care of someone other than their parents. As a stay-at-home mom, I need time outside of the house with friends or my husband. It's good for my soul.

The list doesn't stop there, believe me. If we are honest with ourselves, we all have a list of various and sundry lies.  And we all, unfortunately, allow ourselves to believe some of these lies.  When we believe the lies, we are not only hurting ourselves, but we hurt our kids as well.

So, friends, I'd like to encourage you to fight back:

1) Recognize the lies - write them down. Things become more real when we see them in front of us.

2) Call out the lies - share them with someone.  There is strength in numbers! You can remind each other that the lies ARE lies and not worth believing

3) Fight back with the truth - write down a corresponding truth to each lie.  And when you begin to hear the lie, remind yourself the TRUTH.  And over time, you just might start to believe it!

So, no. I'm not crazy.  I'm not hearing voices.  But I do fight the very common battle against Parenting Lies.  I hope that you are encouraged to rise up and overcome the Parenting Lies in your life as well. Are you willing to share the Lies you are battling?  I think you'll find you are far from alone! Leave a comment below!

And remember:

You're good enough. 
You're smart enough.
And doggone it, people like you.

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Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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