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4 Ways Motherhood Feels Like Being a Con Artist

"You're an amazing mom."

People say that to me from time to time. Family. Friends. Strangers. It's meant as a compliment, obviously. But it always has the opposite effect on me.

My immediate response is to dismiss or downplay the compliment. I will say something like, "Oh, not really." Or, "You should have seen me yesterday. Not so amazing." I run through bad parenting moments I've had recently in my head and feel the need to correct the person's perception of me.

The assessment of my mothering skills that leads to kind words is based on a moment when someone "caught" me doing something right. Instead of owning that moment and celebrating it, I think about how the person doesn't know the whole story and hasn't seen my less than stellar moments.

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Here are just a few things she may not know about my mothering skills:

1. I yell too often

I hate this about myself. I try to hard not to do it. It makes me feel awful every single time. I vow to change and then, in a moment of weakness, I find myself doing it again. I believe if the person complimenting my parenting witnessed one of those moments, she would think less of me.

2. I let my kid have too much screen time

Not always. In fact, this is something my husband and I have been very conscientious about from the beginning. But sometimes? It is just too easy to give in. Or rely on devices to keep my child occupied. And when that has happened, I agonize over it.

3. I don't spend enough time with my child

The No. 1 reason I left my corporate career was to be with my child. But no matter how much time I do spend with her, it is never enough . When I have to make excuses in order to complete an article or respond to an email from a photography client, I feel guilty.

4. I have no idea what I'm doing

I think that is one thing about motherhood that is so frustrating. It never allows you to get comfortable. Just when you feel you may have a handle on one phase of childhood, a new one begins. And all the rules change. You never feel you have mastered parenting, and you always doubt if you are doing it right. So when someone holds you up as a standard to which others should aspire, you feel undeserving.

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Motherhood has changed me in so many ways. One of them, apparently, is that is has caused me to feel like some sort of con artist. I've lost my confidence. As well as the ability to take a compliment with grace and appreciate the spirit in which it was intended.

Why do I do this to myself? Why does motherhood make me feel like a big, fat, liar? Can you relate?

Photo via Photofest/Paramount Pictures

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