If you’ve heard of impostor syndrome, chances are you’ve probably felt it at least once in your life. It’s actually a term that’s somewhat new to me. I first heard it a year or so ago when I was telling my husband that I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing as a blogger.
He told me there was actually a name for that- Impostor Syndrome. It’s when people doubt their skills and accomplishments and they feel like a fraud. When I looked it up, I found out that it was pretty common for bloggers. It helped to know that I was wasn’t the only one who felt this way sometimes.
Now that I’m exploring my options for going back to work as a counselor, I’m starting to feel impostor syndrome again. I haven’t done it in so long and I’m afraid that I won’t know what to say or how to help. Plus how can I help others when I’m dealing with my own problems? Surprisingly, I’ve learned that many counselors feel the same way. The more I learn about it, the more I see that most people have felt like an impostor at some point in their careers.
Letting it stop you from trying the thing you’ve always wanted to do isn’t the only option though. I’ve been working through mine with my counselor and today I realized that for me impostor syndrome comes from being a perfectionist. I put too much pressure on myself to be perfect. So I don’t feel like I’m an expert because I’m not perfect.
But expecting perfection from myself or anyone else is unrealistic. No one is perfect! No matter how hard you try, you can’t know everything there is to know. So instead of focusing on what I don’t know, I’m working on paying more attention to what I do know.
Fighting Impostor Syndrome
To overcome impostor syndrome, I’m working on reminding myself these things:
I have the skills I need to be a good counselor.
Not only do I have a Master’s degree, but I went through all of the steps to get licensed.
I care enough about helping others that I want to make it my job. That has to be a good place to start.
Before I had kids, I was building a successful private practice. My clients were coming back so they must have thought it was helping.
If I don’t try, I’ll never know if I could have been successful.
This is still a work in progress for me, but I will always have to keep learning and working on myself if I want to be good at anything.
If you’re trying something new or going back to work after some time away, maybe you’ve had the same fears I’ve had. What has helped you to work through the self-doubt?
Why is it that every self-help article or book for moms reminds us that we have to ask for help yet moms still don’t do it?
For one thing, we all have this mentality that we should be super mom and that we have to do it all. Or at least I do anyway. Maybe that just comes from my competitive nature and the desire to be the best at everything.
I’m working on not comparing myself to others, but that’s hard to do! Especially when sometimes it feels like everyone else around me is happy and I’m not.
To make matters worse, moms are constantly being bombarded with more things to-do.
My To-do List On A Typical Day
“Mom I need more clean underwear! “
Suddenly I remember that I forgot to do that load of laundry before I ran out the door to carpool. Now I set out to move the huge pile of dirty clothes to the basement laundry room, sort it, remember to switch the clean clothes from the wash to the dryer, fold them or at least sort by person, then I can put some underwear in my son’s drawer.
As I’m going through the clean clothes I remember that my 8 year old has had yet another growth spurt and none of his pants from last year fit anymore. I make a mental note to shop online later and order him some more pants. Then I remember that the pants I ordered online last week from brands he usually wears were long enough but too loose in the waist. Maybe I can find some on Ama….I think as my thoughts are interrupted by my youngest son.
“Mom, what are we having for dinner?”
Oh yeah, I’m getting to that, as soon as I finish the laundry. Crap I forgot about the dishes in the sink. As I’m going to the sink I remember that when I did the grocery pick up order this week they were out of low carb tortillas, so I have to run out to the store if we want to have taco night. I didn’t defrost any other meat and it’s 5:30, so that’s our only option.
Husband: “You know we could just get take out. That would be a lot easier.”
But we’ve eaten take out the past 2 nights and I know that’s not good for us. We were just at the pediatrician’s office last week and I had to fudge on my answer when the nurse asked how often we eat fast food per week. Plus it costs a lot of money. And if we want to stay within our budget this month we can’t eat out every single night!
This is the constant battle moms have to face.
Figuring out how to do what’s best for our kids, but at the same time finding the best work/life balance. Which is another added stressor for many of us moms.
We’re constantly asking ourselves:
Do I go back to work full time or do I continue being a stay at home mom?
Do I take on more hours at work so we can be in a better situation with our finances?
Or do I continue working part-time so that I can be there more for my kids?
Maybe I should pick up a “side hustle” so that we can save even more. Plus my friend’s always asking me to join her business selling stuff. Then I could get it for free! (Ahem I’ve tried this one a few times!)
Another reason that we don’t ask for help is that we don’t see other moms doing it very often.
How many times have you seen a friend struggling and said, “let me know if you need anything” only to realize 6 months later that you never heard from them? Then you find out they were struggling a lot of that time and they didn’t reach out. They figured out how to make it through it themselves, or maybe they just didn’t want to ask for help.
Why is that? It’s not easy to admit that you can’t do everything it takes to be a mom on your own. We all want to show that we’re strong. Or we want to BE strong. We don’t want to admit defeat. Plus we know deep down that all the pressure we’re under is worth having kids. And we know that it’s not going to last forever.
There’s also the mentality for some that all of these things are our jobs as moms. So if we complain or ask for help we sound ungrateful. I personally also don’t really like burdening my friends or family with my problems. I feel like most of the time I created them, so why should I need help solving them?
Or maybe moms don’t like to ask for help because we’re ashamed. If we ask for help then we often have to explain why we need it. Then we wonder if we’re sharing too much about our personal life. This is probably more related to my own social anxiety than anything, but I do think more people struggle with social anxiety than not. Or at least a lot of the moms that I know do.
I know I will survive!
I’m pretty lucky to have some great friends and family who are willing to drop everything and do what they can to help me when I ask. It’s not always convenient for them, but they will help anyway. They’d rather inconvenience themselves than see me suffer, because that’s what people who truly care about you will do!
I just have to actually ask. Otherwise, they won’t even know that I need help. Most of the time they’re either too busy or too distracted with their own lives. Plus, I do a pretty good job of hiding it when I’m struggling.
So, moms, I encourage you to get past your fears, your embarrassment, and your pride. Talk to your friends and family if you’re struggling. Ask for help. Find a therapist or call your doctor. You don’t have to suffer in silence. There is so much more to life than that! Sometimes all it takes is one call to help you get back on your feet.
If you know a mom who might need to hear this, be sure to share it with her! Sharing is caring!
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