Being Kind Starts With You, Mama! Our Friends At Lighthouse Arabia Tell Us How To Change Your Mindset & Be Kinder To Yourself
When you’re trying to leave for work and your child won’t let go of your leg, it’s hard not to feel like your heart is breaking as you wonder why you can’t seem to manage all the demands in your life. When you’re a stay-at-home mom who never stops working and your child still behaves like a terror, it’s hard not to wonder what you’re doing wrong.
Research shows that women in general (and mothers in particular) carry a lot of guilt about all kinds of things. Sometimes it feels like we can’t do anything right! But research also shows that guilt is generally unhelpful. What has a big impact on the wellbeing of the whole family, and is linked to positive outcomes in children, is maternal well-being. So feel good, Mama!
One of the ways mothers can reduce their guilt and improve their well-being is by being kinder to themselves (and others!) about the choices we’re all forced to make, all the time.
For example, some mamas stay at home, some work outside the home and some do a combination of the two. Social media alternatively glorifies or degrades different choices – depending on who is talking about it. And why. Certain cultural expectations or contextual attitudes towards women also breed competitiveness and negative social comparisons between different roles and choices. But if we apply some light of kindness and respect towards our thinking and attitudes about this, it becomes obvious that some moms have no choice but to work. Dubai is an expensive city. Meanwhile, some moms have no choice but to stay at home. Some seemingly-lucky moms are able to choose, but whatever choice they make means sacrificing on the other choices they didn’t make.
Working on the assumption that everyone is doing the best that they can is surprisingly liberating. We’re all basing our decisions and our choices on the limited information and resources that we have at this time, in our own specific and unique situation. When we make the decision to think in this kinder and more respectful way, we release ourselves from all kinds of pressure and guilt and free ourselves to see other women differently, in a kinder and more forgiving light. We feel more secure in ourselves and our overall well-being improves, and this has a positive knock-on effect for everyone around us.
Whatever we do or don’t do, none of us has a crystal ball to see the future. All of us are basing our decisions on what we know now and what we hope will be best for us and our families.
Whatever we do and whenever we do it, it’s important to respect the right of other mothers to do it their way, even if we don’t understand their decisions. Knowing that when we offer kindness and respect to other moms, our respect for our individual choices increases and makes a positive difference to our personal well-being. Changing our perspective changes our feelings, so instead of focusing on what we’re not doing right, let’s own our choices, respect the choices of others and shine a little light of kindness.