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Mothers – Stop Setting Yourself Up for Failure

Mother’s Day is only a couple of days away, and if you’re like most mothers, you’re NOT looking forward to it.  Maybe Mother’s Day reminds you of all the ways you think you have come up short and failed. It can be a really painful day when you are caught in the negativity your brain will want to give you about your own performance.  The way we tend to think about being a mother and treat ourselves as mothers is really setting ourselves up for failure. We have created expectations of ourselves and bought into the expectations society has put on us, and no matter what we do, we can’t win. Failure is inevitable. There are shifts you can make that will begin to get you out of this negativity spiral. Listen to this episode for 4 ways you can begin feeling better today.

Download a free pdf training “5 Ways to Feel Better Right Now”  CLICK HERE

Full Transcript


shame, perfectionism, children, life, mothers, perfect, mother, feel, loved, parents, disappointments, worth, shifts, compassion, relationship, helping, brene brown, voicing, coach, younger


Tina Gosney

You’re listening to Parenting Through the Detour episode 47. “Mothers stop setting yourself up for failure.”

Howard W Hunter said, “Your detours and disappointments are the straight and narrow way back to him.” Well, how are your detours going? Does it feel like everything has gone wrong and you don’t know what to do now. I am Tina Gosney, a life and relationship coach for LDS parents with adult children. And I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I’m going to help you find your footing again through those detours and disappointments. And when you find your strength, and your courage to navigate your own detours, you’re going to begin helping your family through theirs as well.

Welcome back to the podcast today, I am so happy to have you here. This is a really special episode for Mother’s because Mother’s Day is just a couple of days away. And I know so many mothers who are just dreading it. So many women who every year when this time of year rolls around, they just dread Mother’s Day. So if this sounds like you, then this is your episode. This is something that you might want to share with a friend share with another mother that you know is struggling, because this is a really important episode. And it’s the second in a two part series.

So the last week’s episode also was dedicated to mothers and how we should prioritize them for the health of the family. And this one deals with a different thing, a different issue with mothers. So if you haven’t listened to last week’s episode, you don’t have to listen to that one first. But it’s great to listen to them both. So you can get both sides to different issues that that really get in the way of mothers feeling good about themselves and giving themselves the validation that they need in their lives. So I’m just finishing up the beta test of my healing your family relationships program.

And I want to read you a review from Suzy, Suzy was one of my clients. I coached her for a month we had some great coaching sessions together, she participated in the group call that we also had, she got into the digital program and participated in that. And this is what Susie had to say. She said, “The thing that I loved the very most was that my feelings were not dismissed. And Tina confirmed to me that it’s okay to feel sad when your children choose a different path. Then I was taught ways to get through situations and feelings, worksheets that helped to spell it out by writing things down. And actually seeing what the situation truly was. The videos we had access to were my favorite and so many apply to me. I also listened to a few with my daughter. And even though we’re going through completely different things, there was so much that could apply to her also. Thanks, Tina, I loved getting to know you and how real you are.”

Suzy, if you’re listening to this podcast, thank you so much for this review. I thought it was a privilege to coach you, as well as all the other participants in this program. And I loved getting to know you too. And thank you so much for participating in this program. Your feedback has been invaluable in helping me to improve this program even more for those who will be coming after you.

So are you familiar with who Brene Brown is, if you’re not familiar with her, I hope you get familiar with her really soon. She is changing the way we look at self help in this country. She’s changing the way that we deal with ourselves. Brene Brown is a shame researcher. She talks a lot about shame and guilt and vulnerability, and things that we don’t like to address things that we don’t like to look at. She’s done a lot of research on shame. And she says the number one shame trigger for women is perfectionism. And I have seen this firsthand show up big time in myself.

And in the mothers that I talked to are just some of the ways that I’ve seen it show up in me and I’ve seen it show up in other people. Maybe you’re fine some of yourself in this too. So you think if you don’t do all the things that you’re supposed to do, then you’re gonna mess your kids up. And so when they’re younger, you sign them up for the right activities. They have to be signed up for the right activities. You spent so much time and busyness and energy, trying to create happy family memories for your children. You spent lots of time trying to figure out what the right food is to feed them.

You have to make sure they are hanging out with the right kids have their good friends. You make sure they have a testimony that you are doing family scripture Studying in prayer and come follow me a family home evening, that they are attending seminary that they go to EFY every summer that they go to every young, every youth activity, that they are at church every single Sunday that they go to girls camp or boys camp, or trek, and all the other things. And you also have to make sure that you have a perfect marriage too, so that they don’t have relationship baggage from a marriage that they saw that wasn’t perfect from their parents relationship.

And you have to set a good example for them of exercise and giving service, having a clean house, and going out and doing all the things in the community, including PTA and being your child’s classroom, parent, and making sure that you have Pinterest worthy birthday parties, and all the things. And also, let’s just add to the list, that you need to care about what you look like, but don’t talk about it, or you’re gonna give your child a body issue.

However you look is just fine, as long as you’re thin and fit. And if you don’t look that way, then you just need to try harder, you’re not doing enough, you need to do more. And this list, I could keep going on and on and on, I could probably talk for half an hour about all the ways that we expect ourselves to be perfect and the things that we expect ourselves to do.

And no one could keep up with this level of perfection. But the problem is that we think that we’re supposed to, that that’s the way things are supposed to go. And then when we don’t keep up, we have failed. And we exhaust ourselves trying to do all the things that we think that we’re supposed to do. And then your child still has issues, they still have problems. And then you start thinking things like this. Well, I tried so hard, but I failed. I did all these things, and it didn’t make a difference anyway.

Or maybe this is all my fault, because I wasn’t good enough. These are super common thoughts that moms have, especially moms have older children, like teens and young adults or even past the young adult years. And then we get to Mother’s Day. And what happens. You listen to people at the pulpit talk about their wonderful mothers, and you feel even worse, because then it reinforces the thoughts in your head about all the ways that you weren’t wonderful that you failed. And you get resentful, or you get angry, or you get really sad that your life didn’t turn out the way that you wanted it to.

So then you feel even worse. And you listen to what that person at the pulpit is saying and you know, your child wouldn’t be saying those things about you. So even though you gave years of your life in service to them, and trying to help them have the best life possible. You don’t have the relationship that you want to have with them. And that hurts. And you feel even more acutely that in spite of your efforts, you are not good enough. And that perfectionism takes the stage, even stronger.

No wonder women hate Mother’s Day, we set ourselves up for failure by expecting ourselves to be perfect. And thinking that if we do all these things in we can control the outcome. But we can’t control the outcome, no matter what we do. No wonder women dread this day. No wonder we’re glad when it’s over. And we feel shame all day long for not being more perfect. Let’s talk about perfectionism for a minute because it’s a virus that’s been going through our culture for a long time. Perfectionism as not being our best selves. That is not what it means.

Perfectionism is actually driven out of fear. Fear of not being good enough fear of being criticized, fear of not living up to what you think you’re supposed to do. Fear that if you let your guard down for one minute, that you’ve affected those kids lives forever. Perfectionism is a no win situation for those who are caught up in it. And so many women are caught up in it.

And like Brene Brown said, the number one shame trigger for women is perfectionism. But what does shame look like? Shame is pervasive. It brings thoughts like I’m not good enough. I’m a failure. And I’ll never be good enough. And shame hides the parts of you that you think are unacceptable to others. You don’t tell other people the things that if they knew it about you and about your family, that that would be unacceptable, and it would change To the opinion they have of you. It thrives in secret, and in the dark recesses of your mind.

And shame takes over and covers up any successes that you’ve had in your life. Because it demands your full attention. It takes over your thoughts. it drowns out the positive emotions, and the positive thoughts that you could probably access. If shame weren’t squashing them down. Then you get to Mother’s Day, and you feel even more like a failure. And your brain is going to spin in all that shame and negativity. And it’s gonna take you down a shame spiral. And that shame spiral dumps you down into a giant, deep, dark pit. I know a lot of people that call themself a perfectionist, and think that those are one of their positive characteristics in their life. I want to tell you, that being a perfectionist is not the same thing as striving for excellence.

Trying to be your best self is very different than thinking that you need to be perfect. Because remember, perfectionism comes from fear, striving to be your best self, comes from a very different emotion than fear. So if you can start shifting your perspective, even slightly, in the way that you think about yourself, from trying to be perfect, to striving for excellence, you can start to get rid of that shame, you can start to change things for you. So you don’t get dumped down in that spiral of negativity.

And that deep, dark pit, I’m going to give you three shifts today to start working on, to release the perfectionism and shame so that you can start to breathe again. The first one is I just want you to allow yourself to not be perfect. And to love yourself anyway. You are a human being, you are allowed to not be perfect all the time, have compassion for yourself or being human, have compassion for yourself that you don’t always show up your best, you don’t always put in your 100% effort. You don’t always do everything perfectly. It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes with your kids, you’re actually working on limited information.

You’re making decisions based on the limited amount of information that you have. And some of those some of those decisions that you make down the road, you’re going to, you’re going to find out they were not the right one. And that’s okay. You did what you could do at the time. Now most of others I talked to are not okay with making mistakes. They’re so consumed with doing things, right. Right is an air quotes that they can’t even allow themselves a little bit of imperfection. Now think about this. Heavenly Father sends us these children, when we’re pretty young, in our lives, actually, childbearing years are in our younger years. We don’t know very much at the time.

We don’t even know ourselves very well at the time, and we become parents. And we’re going to make a lot of mistakes. Now, if Heavenly Father required for us to be perfect parents, he would never give us children in the first place, he would give us a lot more training, and require a lot more of us before he allowed us to be parents. You are not meant to be a perfect wife, a perfect mother, or a perfect anything. You are meant to make mistakes, to miss things in your parenting, to do the wrong thing and say the wrong things sometimes, and it’s okay.

You’re going to create problems for your kids, no matter what you do. That’s just like It’s the circle of life. So just keep trying. Loving yourself and them and keep apologizing. Apologize to yourself for requiring so much of yourself. Apologize to your kids for not being perfect. It’s okay, just keep moving forward. Getting stuck and being perfect will be crippling for you emotionally, mentally and spiritually. And you’re going to pass that same perfectionism onto your children so that they start picking those things up and they become crippled in the same way. expect yourself to not be perfect. Allow yourself compassion and grace. Fail forward in as much love as you can give yourself and the other people in your life. The second one is allow your children to be human not be perfect.

What they’re doing or not doing does not affect your worth as a person. Mothers are often not aware that they are caught in a trap of using their children to validate their work. If this happens when you lose yourself so much in the lives of your children, that you don’t even know who you are without them, you are living your life through what they are doing, and basing your worth off of that. So basically, what you’re doing is leaving your worth up to someone, that’s not you actually giving it to someone who’s much younger, and less mature probably, than you are.

So your worth is constantly up for debate. If your worth is constantly up for debate, if you always feel like it’s a moving target, guess what you’re going to try to do as a mother, you’re going to try to control your children. If your worth exists in them and their choices, you need to control them, and what they do in their life, in order for you to feel okay for you to feel like you have value as a person, and to feel like you’re worthy of taking up space on this earth. And here’s the truth, your children do a terrible job of taking care of your worth, you don’t even know how to do it for yourself. And then you hand it over to your children who are much younger than you. It’s not fair to them, to put that burden on them, they do not need to be taken care of you in this way.

It’s also not fair to you to give that to them and not take control of it yourself. So that you can actually begin to affect how you feel about yourself. This is something I also gave in the last podcast. But I’m going to repeat it again because I think it’s so relevant here. And that is, you know, a few years ago, my Relief Society president was the week before Mother’s Day. And she said something like, next week as Mother’s Day, ladies. And there was this collective groan that went through the Relief Society room. And she smiled and she said, you know, through my years, I’ve learned that if your child is doing good, you can’t take all the credit. And if your child isn’t doing good, you can’t take all the credit. And I loved that. I have thought about that so many times.

And if you are basing your worth your success, your value on this earth based on what your children are doing. That’s not a good place for you to be. Take it back. It’s not fair to them. And it’s not fair to you take it back and start looking inward for your own value, not outward. And certainly not putting that burden on your children. The next shift is I want you to open up to someone that you trust and let them know how you’re feeling. There is a lot of power in voicing out loud, what is true for you. Even voicing it starts to minimize the shame.

Because whatever you’re beating yourself up for at night. That’s that’s the thing that you want to tell somebody, the thing that you think if they knew about you that it would change their opinion of you takes a lot of courage to do this. It’s very hard. But by bringing it out in the open by saying it out loud and sharing it with someone that you trust, starts to shine a light on that shame and shame, guess what? When it has a light shining on it, it can’t survive, it starts to die.

Because shame thrives in secret and it thrives in the dark. And as soon as you start to shine a light on it, it starts to die. So who do you trust that you can talk to? Who can you open up that will have compassion for you? And maybe they’re also feeling the same way? Do you have a friend? Do you have a trusted family member? Maybe it helps to talk to someone who you don’t have as another relationship with like a therapist or a life coach. But talking to someone having the courage to say what is true will keep you from spiraling down that shame into the negativity pit. So those three shifts again, allow yourself to not be perfect and to love yourself anyway. Allow your children to be human and not be perfect. They don’t prove your worth, relieve them of that burden. And the third one is open up to someone that you trust and let them know how you’re feeling. Voice what’s true for you.

Now, since Mother’s Day is just a couple of days away, expect some of the same emotions that you have felt every other year to come up for you on Mother’s Day expect that your brain is going to focus on negative things. And that you’ll have some emotions like sadness, regret, failure, disappointment, frustration, it’s just expect those to be there. It’s all okay, nothing has gone wrong. And then I want you to write down these three shifts that I outlined today. And over the next year, start working on them. They’re not things that can be fixed overnight. They are things that you need to consciously put into your life every single day to get rid of the shame and the perfectionism. And then next year, Mother’s Day is going to feel very different to you.

Now, I will be starting a new masterclass in a couple of weeks. Next week, I’ll be opening up the registration for that. And there next week, there will be a link in the show notes for you to get registered for this class. This class is called “Three Shifts to Begin Repairing Your Relationship with Your Adult Child: even if it feels impossible right now.”

I’m just putting the finishing touches on it right now. And it’s almost ready. I’m really looking forward to having you attend, there will not be any charge. This is a totally free class. And I’m really excited to give it to you because you’re gonna find so much value in what I have to share with you in this masterclass. So make sure you’re coming back next week. And you’re grabbing that link out of the show notes so you can get registered.

Or you can also sign up for my email list. And when you sign up for my email list, you’ll also be given a free PDF five ways to feel better right now. And I’m there’s a link to that in the show notes as well.

Now who do you need to send this podcast to? Who what woman in your life is being triggered by perfectionism and shame? What woman in your life struggles with Mother’s Day? I want you to send them a link today to listen to this podcast. Send them a link so that they can see things that will help them to start changing and taking back their value and their worth and releasing shame for themselves.

I want you to remember that your detours and your disappointments do not define you and they don’t define your family. Have a great day and I’ll see you next week.