Moms everywhere are striving to be the perfect mom – a mythical role of perfection. They are trying to get it all right and be everything their family needs them to be. But what if, instead of trying to reach an unattainable standard, moms embraced unconditional self-love?
Terri Britt, former Miss USA, spiritual coach, TEDx speaker, award-winning author of “The Enlightened Mom,” and the founder of the Women Leaders of Love global movement, is on a mission to help moms establish a new family paradigm based on unconditional self-love.
Girls are raised to be good. We are told to be quiet but not too quiet. To look good but not too good. To be smart but to never be the smartest person in the room. And on and on the list goes. “I was raised to be good. So good, that in the moment I won Miss USA, I felt guilty. I actually considered giving back the crown,” shares Britt. “I believed that if I received it, that my boyfriend would suffer as I would have to move away. I lived by a rule that said, ‘Love means that you must deny yourself.’ And I learned it from my family.” So many little girls grow up to be women and then mothers who believe this very thing. And that is so very damaging.
Many families live by the old paradigm of putting their kids first, their partners next, and themselves last, believing this is love. When parents, particularly moms, operate under this outdated family paradigm, they don’t feel very loving. They begin to feel angry, resentful, and even trapped. The mother sets the tone for her family. By setting an example that her feelings, needs, wants, desires, and dreams don’t matter, the Mom sets a tone of unworthiness. Despite her doing everything for her loved ones, her example will affect them most. We must be examples of abundance if we want them to live lives of abundance. If we want them to have happy lives, we must be an example of happiness. If we want them to enjoy peace, love, and fulfillment, we must lead by example and be those things for ourselves and in doing so, teach them to do the same.
“It’s not what we do for our families but how we live our lives that impacts them most,” explains Britt. “Most mommas don’t live by this truth. Instead, we deny ourselves, believing this is the loving thing to do. But when you deny yourself, you disconnect from your heart. This is what causes your pain and suffering. You become angry, resentful, overwhelmed, sad or depressed. And the next thing you know, you’re handing your pain over to your spouse and kids.”
The moment a mother is able to shift her mindset from the idea that love is sacrificing yourself for your family is the moment she sets them all free, and the family unit is able to enter a new family paradigm. “Loving myself was the greatest gift I could give to my loved ones,” shares Britt. “The old family paradigm of self-denial teaches us to perform for love and approval and shuts us down to receiving the abundance we all deserve.”
The new family paradigm is built on unconditional self-love vs. performance/rule-driven parenting. This helps individuals heal from relational traumas and leads our world into greater mental health and productivity. When we understand that there is no such thing as a “perfect” mother, we can begin to work together to create a healthier and more supportive environment for everyone in the family system.
Moms need time for things that make them feel nourished, loved, and supported. They need to take time to nurture their creative side, spend time with friends, engage in meaningful conversations, and participate in activities that bring joy and fulfillment. Moms need these things, but it goes even deeper. The real need is for moms to heal. They need to go deep within to release the beliefs that they harbor telling them that they are not good enough and that they must perform for love and approval. When a mother is able to stop performing and own her worth, she sets a new example for her loved ones. By embracing unconditional self-love and investing in themselves, moms can become pioneers of change for their families, communities, and the world. When the mother heals, the family heals.
The dangers of striving for perfection as a mom are real. It can lead to burnout, guilt, resentment, and a feeling of not being good enough. It can be extremely challenging to unlearn this pattern, but when we understand that love is not performance-based but is found within ourselves through self-care and connection with others, it changes everything. Moms can create a safe space for their families to learn to love themselves and each other. It is time for mothers everywhere to take back their crowns – it is time to own our worth and inspire positive change that can benefit us all.