A New Motherhood “Syndrome” Is In The Headlines – But It’s Not What You Think

As technology advances at the speed of light and people are able to instantly find information and communicate, it seems new phrases are coined daily.

New names for age-old issues that we all deal with; more specific names for diseases and disorders; new disorders and syndromes being named and worried about.

And one of these has been in the spotlight recently — not a true disease or disorder, but a “syndrome” most mothers have.

Before you become concerned, this “syndrome” is really just a term that has become popular in the headlines.  

It’s something every mother feels at one time or another, the good news being that none of us are alone in our feelings.

It’s called “motherhood imposter syndrome.”

The name comes from a psychological disorder that was researched by Dr. Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in the late 1970s.

They defined “imposter syndrome” for the first time – feeling internally “fake;” incapable of feeling like we’re doing a good job; feeling like a phony.

This feeling of being a fraud often occurs when we care deeply about something, like our careers, and don’t feel like we’re adequate.

But it makes sense in this day and age of overwhelming pressure on mothers to do and have it all that we would adapt this term for ourselves.

What could we care about – and worry about – more deeply than how we are doing in the job of raising our children?

Technology has made it easier than ever to find information and communicate with others.

But this isn’t always a good thing.  

Social media platforms, blogs, and sites like Pinterest – while meant to inspire and encourage us — often make us feel less than worthwhile.

We see every other mom’s perfect photos – spotless homes, amazing birthday parties, kids dressed to the nines involved in countless activities – and we really don’t feel like we pass muster.

But that’s only part of it.

Motherhood is the most emotional, awe-inspiring, and frightening experience in the world.  

There is no manual or guidebook, and the responsibility for guiding another human being through life can be incredibly daunting.

We never feel we measure up.  We’re often riding by the seat of our pants, working by trial and error, hoping and praying we’re doing the right thing.

Kids are unique and unpredictable.  There are no two alike.  Just how are we supposed to get this right?

It’s normal to feel like that, but the fact is, we are doing it right, no matter how differently we all parent.

Actress and comedian Casey Wilson put “motherhood imposter syndrome” in the spotlight recently when she shared her story with the New York Times about her struggles with motherhood.

Her son seemed to struggle every day – sad, angry, lethargic, disinterested.

She blamed herself for everything that went wrong in her parenting journey, and even on good days, she couldn’t imagine that she had anything to do with a positive outcome.

Her own feelings of sadness and depression those first few years made her believe that she was at fault for every problem that occurred with her son.

“I maintained the situation was absolutely dire and it was my fault, that what needed fixing was me,” Wilson wrote.

And even though she was concerned when he was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and Celiac Disease at age four – both of which were causes for his behavioral and physical issues – she was also relieved.

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Relieved because she finally felt that her son’s struggles really weren’t her fault as she had always thought.

You see, we all do this at one time or another.  We are moms.  We are ultimately responsible for everyone’s health, safety, and happiness.

That’s what we tell ourselves, and that’s what we interpret from social media platforms and media outlets.

But doing our best is all that’s required.  

More than anything, we need to give ourselves the grace that we deserve.  God gives us grace, and even our children give us more grace than we would ever allow ourselves.

If you’re feeling like an “imposter” mom, take heart.  You are not taking this journey alone.

God does not create imposter mothers.  He gives each child the perfect mother that meets their unique personality and needs.

So, learn to give yourself grace and forgiveness.  And be steadfast in the absolute fact that you are enough – and a perfect mom just the way you are.

Do you feel like an “imposter” when it comes to motherhood?  Do you have advice for other moms who are too hard on themselves?

Leave us your thoughts.

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