At a recent meeting of the most brilliant, kind, independent, well-meaning moms I know, I observed the number of times we apologized to one another. Would you believe, though none of us had committed any actual wrongdoings, the word sorry was used over one hundred times? That, my friends, is a mompology epidemic.
What the heck is a mompology? A mompology is an unnecessary admission of error spoken by mothers in an effort to protect everyone’s feelings but her own.
I‘m sorry my baby is fussy. I’m sorry my toddler is loud. I’m sorry my teenager ate all the poptarts. I’m sorry to be a bother. I’m sorry I’m late. I’m sorry I’m early. I’m sorry I failed. I’m sorry I succeeded when you failed. I’m sorry my house isn’t spotless. I’m sorry I’m such a neat freak. I’m sorry for having so many questions. I’m sorry for knowing all the answers. I’m sorry I forgot. I’m sorry I reminded you. I’m sorry I’m so sorry.
I’ve asked my mommy, Licensed Professional Counselor and recovering mompologizer, Jeanye Mercer, to help us break down the mompology.
Why do we mompologize?
We are all striving to be the best mom we can be. Yet we receive constant messages from advertisements, parenting advice, and social media that we are not enough. So we fight the uphill battle to be more. Then the world says wait, don’t you dare be too much… who do you think you are, supermom? Like a cracked rib, our feelings of shame are jolted and bruised by the constant messages of not enough or too much. So on we go, apologizing when we’re not enough, apologizing when we’re too much.
What impact does the mompology have?
These innocent, empty apologies are our best attempts to avoid being a burden on others. What starts as politeness morphs into a mompology habit. No longer are we only apologizing for the tiniest slight, we begin unintentionally apologizing for our existence. Unbeknownst to us, the mompology perpetuates the not enough/too much messages we so desperately wish to prove wrong. Constantly saying “I’m sorry” can become a damaging belief: I AM sorry. This belief undermines the wonderful contributions we are making as mothers, as sisters, as daughters, and as friends.
What can we do instead?
1. Awareness: Simply begin to notice when you mompologize. Don’t judge it; just notice it.
2. Self-Compassion: Let yourself off the hook. Give yourself a little grace. Recite a new message: I am enough. I am just right.
3. Gratitude: As often as you can, replace “sorry” with “thank you.”
Thank you for waiting. Thank you for listening. Thank you for helping. Thank you for accepting me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you.
We’re all in this together. When you find yourself on the receiving end of a mompology, look that mama in the eyes and remind her: Your existence is not a burden. You are enough. No mompology needed.