Limiting stories (or limiting beliefs) impact everyone. Some have more stories than others, and some have stories that pack a bigger punch. But, motherhood can bring out stories that keep you from finding that mom-life balance we all desperately want.
If you’ve ever let that little voice inside your head tell you “I can’t” OR “Moms like me don’t get…”, then you may be letting limiting stories dictate what’s possible.
If you struggle with finding balance between motherhood and EVERYTHING else, then it may be because your limiting stories are holding you back.
ID those Limiting Stories
Figuring out what stories you’ve got running in a loop may require you to do some deep dive investigating. However, some limiting beliefs may have become part of your identity.
Limiting stories can come from ANYWHERE. They can come from our families, communities, churches, school, society, social groups, etc. This is something to consider when thinking about the role limiting stories play in how we perceive motherhood.
For example, one of my own limiting stories that impacted motherhood for me was the belief: “I can do it all by myself.” Though it doesn’t sound like a limiting story on the outset, it was. This story line ultimately held me back from pursuing other parts of my identity. Motherhood consumed all of me because of it.
Limiting Stories Drag You Down
The next thing you’re going to need to understand is the role the limiting story plays in your life. Limiting stories aren’t really TRUE. They are only true because we MAKE them true.
Think of all the things you HAVE missed out on, ARE missing out on, and WILL miss out on because of this story that you keep telling yourself.
Let’s take the example of my own limiting story that “I can do everything all by myself.” This was one I had to work really hard to become aware of and change. It was NOT easy because this STORY had become part of my identity—and perhaps a badge of honor. And, it was making me miserable because it was holding me back from obtaining happiness.
When I couldn’t ask for help in motherhood—it made me isolated. It was also exhausting. Then, there was no other energy left to pursue (or figure out) what I wanted that would make me truly happy.
I couldn’t do it ALL by myself without sacrificing my happiness. It created a huge imbalance in my life. I was to “busy” doing it all myself to have time for me.
What’s WRONG with the Story?
Once you’ve got your main limiting stories laid out, then you want to dissect them. Think of it like one of those search-and-finds you do with your kids. You know—“Find 5 Things Wrong With This Picture.” That’s what you’re going to do with your story. Find the flaws.
For example, if you have a limiting story that says, “I’m not the creative type.” You could come up with 5 things that you’ve done in the last few years that show a different story—–did you come up with the fundraising theme for the school? Do you always make the kids’ costumes? Did you find a creative solution to a problem at work?
Basically, you’re going to think of times when life has proven this story wrong. Whatever your story—this simple act of finding the flaws will poke holes in the storyline that has been holding you back.
How Does it Impact Others?
There’s going to be a trickle down effect that these STORIES have on those around you.
Think about it. If you have a limiting story like mine—I can do this whole mommy thing all by myself—then, over time, the effects will start to show. For me, it was resentment, frustration, and all the nasty stuff that comes with a tired unhappy mommy.
I stuck to my story, and it made me unhappy. Then, all the ICK could be felt by those closest to me.
Maybe your “STORY” is one that your family, community or the media reinforces in your mind constantly. Like, “Good mothers stay at home with their kids.” Or, “Mothers with daughters need to be out there modeling how to break those glass ceilings.”
It may be subtle, or it may be hard-core. But, if it’s playing on repeat in your head, stopping you from living the life YOU want, then it’s likely making you unhappy.
AND, ultimately, if it’s making you unhappy, then there’s going to be some residual effects on those closest to you. That’s just a given.
Change the Story
The final piece of this puzzle is to CHANGE IT UP. Create a practice of doing the opposite.
Let’s use the example of “Good mothers are out there modeling how to break those glass ceilings.” Maybe this is what you’ve got on a loop in your head. BUT, maybe your dream is to stay at home with your kids. Perhaps you want to stay at home, but you can’t get this limiting story out of your head.
Start taking note of the ways a stay at home mom can model strong behavior to a daughter without ever working outside the home (standing up for social justice, organizing with nonprofits, learning a new skill to work from home, coaching a sport, etc.).
Every day, identify how this “story” is wrong. If you can keep proving the story wrong, day after day, then it becomes harder and harder to believe.
And, that’s the point. Limiting stories are ONLY true because we make them true.
You’re the Author
If you’re having a hard time finding balance and happiness between motherhood and life, then there’s likely a limiting story at play. These stories can go unnoticed, unchecked and unchanged for years.
We all have varying degrees of stories, but we ALL have them. It’s up to us to figure out what they are and how to correct them. We have to learn to “re-write” our own stories.
Media, family, culture, society—there’s a million different stories you hear daily about who you are, should be, or can’t be. All I know is that the only one who really knows who you are, is you.
Don’t let a story that you didn’t create steer your life.
Change the story to make you as happy as possible. It’s truly that easy. Happiness can be just one storyline away.