Do you ever feel inadequate?
Do you ever feel like you’re stumbling through the minefield of parenthood, while everyone else has it together?
You’re not alone.
In fact, every single one of us has these moments.
Those moments where we feel like we’re failing, flailing, or floundering.
Anyone who doesn’t, is either lying or kidding themselves.
We ALL have moments of inadequacy.
We ALL have moments where we feel like we’re not good enough, or not worthy enough.
We ALL worry about being a bad parent, or doing things the “wrong way”.
Guess what? Feeling like a “bad parent” is totally healthy.
It’s like having a bad hair day, but magnified about a billion times.
Having a bad hair day doesn’t mean that we actually have bad hair, any more than having a “bad parent day” doesn’t actually mean we’re had parents.
And, it can be good to experience it – when it propels us to do something about it.
Here’s an example. Let’s say we’re having one of those days when we feel totally disorganised and chaotic. We’re running late, forgetting to do things, feeling short-tempered and irritable with the kids – and with almost zero quality time (or even down time, for ourselves).
Cap it off with a big dose of guilt, and it’s a classic recipe for feeling like a “bad parent”.
That feeling is extremely important. Because it lets us know that something isn’t working.
Perhaps we need to delegate more, or schedule less, or change our expectations.
Inadequacy is NOT there to simply make us feel bad.
It’s a valuable signal, to which we must pay attention.
The problem is, so many of us think that there’s something wrong with feeling inadequate.
We try to avoid it. Or we try to ignore it. Or suppress it. And we do so without even acting on the reason it’s there in the first place.
Feeling like a “bad parent” is there to let us know that something isn’t working.
And if we avoid, ignore, or suppress it – then nothing changes.
The “thing” that isn’t working – the thing that led to the feeling in the first place – continues, and we find ourselves feeling inadequate again and again.
Inadequacy isn’t unique.
Even the most confident, charismatic, brilliant individual still has moments of inadequacy.
It’s how you handle the feeling, that matters.
So, when we’re feeling like a “bad parent” – we must ask ourselves “What needs to change?”
It could be anything.
Maybe there’s something we need to do, or something we need to stop doing.
Maybe it’s that our standards and expectations are too strict (or too relaxed), and we need to adjust them.
Or maybe it’s simply a shift in perspective that’s needed.
And the way to deal with feeling like a “bad parent”?
The first step is to stop worrying about it! That’s just wasting time and energy, which could be better spent figuring out solutions to whatever has gone awry.
The second step is to remember that EVERYONE feels inadequate sometimes. And EVERY parent feels like a “bad parent” at times. There’s nothing wrong with you. Really.
Which allows you to move to the third step, which is figuring out what needs to change – and doing it.
Because that’s the KEY to feeling like a “good parent”.
Taking action gives us a feeling of empowerment and confidence – which diffuses the feelings of inadequacy. And overshadows that inner voice telling us “you’re not good enough”.
Confidence is the antidote to feeling like a “bad parent” (and for specific strategies to feeling more confident, check out my audio program Chaos To Calm).
So when that feeling of inadequacy comes knocking – let it in. And use it to your advantage.