Imposter Mom Syndrome: Are We Hardwired To Doubt Ourselves?
No one ever said motherhood is easy. However, all the terrifying stories about sleepless nights, bawling kids lying spread eagle in supermarket aisle, projectile vomits and bizarre eating habits do no prepare you enough when the time comes. Despite knowing this, and the fact that we don’t come coded to be expert mothers (one wishes that we did) and learn on the go, we women seem to be prone to constantly doubting our parenting skills, taking any criticism that comes our way to heart, and burying our heads under a huge pile of guilt. Are we actually bad mommies, or do we just suffer from imposter mother syndrome?
- Moms are prone to second-guessing themselves, and their parenting capabilities.
- The conditioning that women can’t be smart decision-makers and managers often leads to lack of self-worth.
- Always remember that no one comes coded to be great parents and we are all bound to make mistakes.
- Also when you are kind to yourself, it becomes easier to not scrutinise other moms for their way of parenting.
Moms are prone to constantly second-guessing themselves, even for good parenting decisions, which may have earned them a gold medal, had there been a mommy Olympics.
Motherhood comes crashing on women’s shoulders armed with huge pressure. Especially, in India, where women still remain the primary care-providers to their children, despite increasing participation from modern hands-on dads. The pressure to give your child the best of everything and constant social scrutiny plays with our psych. The result is we are constantly second-guessing ourselves, even for good parenting decisions, which may have earned us a gold medal, had there been a mommy Olympics.
It is cold outside, is my kid wearing enough woollens? Is she getting her daily dose of vitamins? Should I have packed parantha subzi instead of a sandwich in her tiffin? She doesn’t mingle with kids on the playground, am I doing something wrong? Am I helicopter mom? Am I too aloof? What did my child ever do to deserve a mother like me? I battle with such questions on daily basis, and am sure other mothers too. The second guessing and feeling that you aren’t doing your best just doesn’t go away, even when others compliment you that you are doing a good job, and you have healthy and happy child (attested by your paediatrician, under no pressure). Just why do we feel like imposters? Why are we so unsure in our own capabilities, despite knowing well that no one can manage our child better than we do?
The stereotyping that women aren’t expert managers, confident decision-makers, also gnaws at our conscience, making us feel like imposters.
Apart from pressure and social scrutiny, a tendency to criticise oneself plays a big role here. Women aren’t brought up to be confident and self-reliant. We are conditioned to be dependants. But then we are thrown at the deep end of motherhood, without much help. The stereotyping that women aren’t expert managers, confident decision makers, also gnaws at our conscience, making us feel like imposters. Am I actually doing as good a job as people seem to be saying, or have I just managed to dupe them into believing so?
That feeling of being an imposter, keeps us from being happy and enjoy motherhood. Mums seriously need to bring down their expectations from themselves and learn to be confident in their capabilities. We have so much on our hands; our coincidence could do without that burden of self-doubt and guilt. Besides, when you are generous to yourself, you automatically become more empathic towards other mums around you. Each one of us going through same battles, on different fronts and we could all benefit from nurturing a support system, by becoming each other’s cheerleaders. But for that to happen, we need to begin rooting for ourselves.