Imposter Syndrome

Ever have a case of imposter syndrome? I feel like as moms, sometimes we try to be perfectionists or superwoman—trying to make the holidays the best ever for your kids, trying to do it all at work and home, and feeling like a failure when you can’t do it all. Wikipedia defines imposter syndrome as,

“a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.”

How many times do we minimalize what we have accomplished- from making a good dinner for your family to having a big win at work?  

For example, we had so many nice comments about how beautiful our Christmas card was last year (with the exception of the friend who let me know that I just sent the envelope and forgot to put the actual card in there.)

It was very nice, but here’s what it took to get that shot: I bribed my youngest son to actually look at the camera and not smile weird (like Chandler from “Friends”), threatened both of my boys not to fight or jump in the creek we’re posing by, or to not throw the stick in the creek so our dog won’t jump in and splash everyone (unfortunately, that happened this year). Textbook imposter syndrome: yes, our picture did end up looking like the perfect little family, but behind the scenes, getting there was more like a scene out of sitcom.

Another time I’ve suffered from imposter syndrome is at work. I am very passionate about what I do, but I really do need to cut myself some slack. Goal setting is important, and when I don’t hit all the milestones I’ve set for myself, I feel like a failure, even if what I accomplished is making a huge difference for the mission of our organization. This leads to hustling more, working later, and trying anything and everything to meet my goals. Although I believe hustle & reaching your goals is a good thing, too much can lead to burn out and not being the most effective employee and mom.

So, what’s a mom to do? Here are a few simple ways to overcome imposter syndrome:

• Let it out! You’re not the only one who feels this way.
• Stop comparing yourself to others
• Make a list of all of your accomplishments (personal & professional)
• Accept failure sometimes and learn from them
• Practice positive affirmations—write them down, say them aloud (such as, “I am capable.”)

I’m sure you’re not alone, mama, and you’re doing a good job.

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