One of the biggest mistakes that we make as parents is thinking that everything our children do, positive or negative, is a reflection of who we are.
It’s hard to become a parent. We have to give so much! Our own identities often become diluted as we pour every bit of ourselves into caring for our children. So when people say, “he is such a good baby,” “she is so sweet,” “they are so smart!” our chests swell with pride. Those comments can feel like an affirmation on the worthiness of our hard work as parents, which so often goes without recognition in nowadays individualistic culture.
Equally, if someone turns their nose to our kid, criticizes their manners, temper or behavior, it feels like a punch in the gut. For many of us, it’s easy to internalize that judgment (imagined or not) and start labeling our children and ourselves negatively (even if it’s a joke). Hot mess mom. Bad mom. Difficult child. Etc.