Reversing My Limiting Beliefs About Parenting

Last weekend, I got to Sunday night and almost cried because I was so tired. I had spent the whole weekend doing housework, and half my to-do list was still undone.

It started with the fact that this was our first full weekend home after a week-long vacation. That meant the whole house had to be cleaned. Laundry had to be done. Meals had to be planned, grocery lists organized, food bought and prepped for the week.

I spent a lot of Saturday pushing myself to do this stuff and feeling tired. Sunday morning seemed more promising: I took Elijah to Starbucks and sat down with a coconut milk latte to plan meals for the next few weeks. He happily sat in a high chair, ate a snack, and waved to everyone who came in.

This peaceful interlude came to an abrupt end when we got to church and there weren’t any kids for the preschool to first grade Sunday school class. (I help out in part to entertain Elijah, since he’s too young to go to Sunday school on his own.) I thought, oh great, I’ll get to hear Simeon preach, for once. Um, right. I did hear him preach, sort of, but I literally chased Elijah around for a full hour and ten minutes. I mean, we did not stop moving for a single second. It was exhausting, and it was followed by a too-short nap, a trip to the grocery store and laundry while Simeon was at a church event. I arrived at dinner time completely exhausted and dispirited, because the next day was Monday.

What I’m coming to realize is that I create chaos on the weekends because of my own limiting beliefs about what I need to do to be a good parent. I make it much harder on myself than it needs to be.

Let’s examine a few of the limiting beliefs that appeared last weekend.

Limiting belief #1: Weekends are for catching up on housework.
I tend to have completely unrealistic expectations for myself every single weekend. You’d think I’d know better by now, but nope. Last weekend, for example, my to-do list literally looked like this:

  • Vacuum upstairs and downstairs
  • Laundry
  • Plan 1 month of family dinners and Elijah’s lunches and snacks
  • Make grocery lists
  • Go to Stop and Shop and Costco
  • Clean both bathrooms
  • Change sheets
  • Cook dinner
  • Meal prep for the week
  • Family outing – fire department open house
  • Do yoga
  • (relax)

New belief I’m working with: Weekends are for fun and relaxation. I’m working on divvying up the housework more equally, and doing it in bite-size pieces during the week. Honestly, it only takes 15 minutes to clean a bathroom. I can definitely do that on a weeknight. And I can definitely ask Simeon to help me more. Which brings me to…

Limiting belief #2: I must do it all myself.
Why? Why must I do it by myself? What points do I get for getting stuff done by myself and being completely exhausted and miserable?

New belief I’m working with: I reserve the right to ask for, accept, and hire help when I need it. I can ask Simeon to mop the floor and help prep Elijah’s lunches. I can accept the offer of a church member to drop off dinner. I can hire a babysitter on Sunday mornings if I want to go to church alone.

No more saying, “No thanks, I’m fine!” Instead, I’m saying, “Thank you so much.”

Limiting belief #3: I have to take Elijah to church every Sunday.
It literally did not occur to me that I didn’t have to take him to church until my mom gently suggested it to me last Sunday afternoons. My husband is a pastor, for God’s sake. Doesn’t our family need to show up every week to support him?

I tend to be an all-or-nothing person, as I’ve discussed before on this blog. New belief I’m working with: I get to decide each week whether I want to take Elijah to church or not. I offered to help with Sunday school – and I can show up just for Sunday school. I can leave right afterwards instead of staying to talk to people until everyone leaves.

Limiting belief #4: Because I work full-time, I must spend every single second of every weeknight and every weekend with my son.

This one is a doozy. It prevents me from doing all sorts of things: taking yoga class, going on dates with Simeon, traveling to visit friends, and basically having a life outside of work and mommying.

New belief I’m working with: I’m a better mom when I take care of myself and take time with the people I love. My goal is to have one fun activity each weekend without a toddler who’s moved from walking to running. This weekend, I organized a mom’s night out with some friends. Next weekend, Simeon and I are traveling for my cousin’s wedding and leaving Elijah with his grandparents.

What beliefs get you stuck? Do you believe you have to be superwoman? Or that it’s lazy or selfish to take a break?

September 24, 2017

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2 Comments on “Reversing My Limiting Beliefs About Parenting

  1. This is super helpful! I too struggle with unrealistic weekend expectations; it seems to be the time when all of my limiting beliefs collide and form a kind of car pileup in my brain. 😉

    A related trick that helps me: I do a brain dump of all the things I think need to happen, then I organize the items by category: household tasks, medical, favors for other people, fun, etc.

    This helps me take a look at how my vision for the weekend (i.e., fun and relaxation) contrasts with the expectations/limiting beliefs I have (i.e., be insanely productive). It also helps me to clarify what on the list is “for me” and what is for others. When I do this, I’m more able to look at the list pragmatically rather than just respond from a panicked “I have to do it all!” mode.

    Thanks for the post! 🙂

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