How To Practice Self Compassion As A Mom

by Ann deBruyn

I don’t think there’s another group of people who are as hard on themselves as moms.

It sounds like…

  • I’m just not cut out for this.
  • I should know better.
  • I’m failing left and right.
  • I should be able to handle this.
  • My kids deserve better.
  • I’m truly the worst.

This is the “mental chatter” (as I call it) that lives inside your head on default.

The problem is that it’s riddled with such harsh negative judgment toward yourself.

It’s like being the mean girl to you.

On default, your brain thinks being self critical is useful. It thinks it will help you do better in the future and change. But here’s the truth: it’s completely unnecessary.

In fact, it’s harmful.

You can (and should) change from a place of love and acceptance. This is the best way to grow and change into the amazing mama you want to show up as.

So, today, I’m sharing the solution to being self critical—self compassion.

Self compassion is the answer to beating yourself up and having negative self talk.

Self compassion will provide a way for you to feel better without anything in your life needing to change.

It’s that good.

Here’s how you can get started practicing self compassion as a mom…

1. Take breaks

As a mom, you probably aren’t giving yourself enough breaks.

I’m talking about when you find yourself running around, in go-go-go energy without a moment to yourself.

It can be tempting (and even satisfying) to live like this for a little while. But soon enough it catches up with you and you’re exhausted (at best) and feeling anxious or depressed (at worst).

I’m here to tell you that you need to take a break.

And not just one break one time. You need to take breaks regularly as part of your routine.

Regardless of your circumstances, this is so important for you to do.

Breaks create a moment of pause for you to connect with yourself. Connecting with yourself means you notice you. You see your value. You check in with yourself. You give yourself a break. You simply do nothing but be with you.

Your break can look like unplugging and sneaking away for just ten minutes. It can be a walk outside to your backyard where you breathe in and notice your senses. It can be anything small. The key is that you’re not distracted and you’re present with yourself.

When you give yourself a designated time to take a break you’re reinforcing the importance of taking care of yourself. Ironically, this makes you an even better mom because you’re showing your kids that they should prioritize taking care of themselves, too.

Resources:

  • Mental Chatter (podcast)
  • How To Become A More Mindful Mom (free class)
  • Doing The Inner Work (podcast)

2. Redefine who you are as a woman

Motherhood brings on a huge life change and with that comes a new identity.

In the beginning, though, it’s likely that your identity is “caretake” of your new baby. This is normal.

What’s important is that you notice this and decide intentionally what identity you want to create.

Who are you as a woman now? Not just as a mom. But as a woman. Who do you want to be? What has shifted? How can you be both “Their mom” and “[your name]”?

One of my girlfriends struggled with this tremendously and when she made this shift it had a huge impact on her overall happiness. She redefined who she was outside of her sweet baby girl. She was both a mom and a woman. She rediscovered who she wanted to be in this season of life.

Resources:

  • 75 Journal Prompts For Moms (free download)
  • 3 Steps To Reduce Anxiety For Moms (free class)
  • Self Compassion (podcast)

3. Do The “Hand On Heart” Exercise

Place your hand (or hands) on your heart and ask yourself, “what do I need right now?”

This is a simple exercise that helps you calm down your nervous system (the fight, flight, or freeze response) and check in with yourself.

As a mom, you’re often so focused on everyone else’s needs that you forget about your own.

As a human being, we all have needs. You have needs ranging from drinking water to sleeping to connecting with other people to feeling loved to having a purpose. While some needs (the physiological needs in particular) are shared by all people, other needs (like your personal needs) are specific to you.

Your needs matter because you matter.

You may not be able to give yourself exactly what you need in the moment of doing this exercise, but just doing it will provide a way for you to check in and focus your attention on yourself. This will help you become more mindful of how to take care of you best. And then from there, you can create space where you give yourself what you need.

You become a better mom when you take care of yourself. Always.

To Get Started: Practice 10 Minutes Of Silence  (I give you the exact steps to do this on Instagram).

4. Practice Loving Kindness Phrases

The antidote to being self critical is to practice loving kindness.

Loving kindness means that you are warm and friendly to yourself.

You’re not harsh, negative, or intense.

You’re warmhearted, gentle, and attentive.

To practice loving kindness, come up with a list of phrases that set the intention of how you want to show up as a mom.

Here are examples of loving kindness phrases:

  • I am do my best and that is good enough.
  • I’m a human who makes mistakes just like everyone else.
  • I love me no matter what.
  • Being a mom is half amazing and half challenging.
  • When I fail, there’s a lesson for me to learn, so it’s never really a failure.
  • This is hard, and I was made for this.

Resources:

  • Time Management Tips For Busy Moms (free class)
  • Who Mothers’ Mom? (podcast)
  • How To Support New Moms (blog post)

5. Journal For Five Minutes Every Morning

Start journaling every morning just for five minutes.

Writing down your thoughts and feelings is one of the most effective ways to overcome a challenge, resolve worry and anxiety, and stop the mental chatter that you’re experiencing.

Instead of your thoughts being all over the place in your mind, they become more concrete when you write them down. And with this, you gain control over them. It’s a way for you to see what’s going on in your mind.

This is the “thought work” we do inside Grow You, my mindfulness community for moms. It’s where we examine our thoughts on purpose to become more mindful and compassionate in our own lives.

You can also get started with my free journal prompts download.

CLICK HERE to download 75 Journal Prompts For Moms.

A Final Note

Practicing self compassion as a mom isn’t something that’s fluffy or something that should be done in another season that’s less busy and overwhelming.

I promise you that whatever season you’re in—whatever you’re going through right now—will be easier to manage with self compassion.

Self compassion is the way to feeling better without needing to change anything in your life.