• Paige Hill

I love feedback (and other surprising things becoming a Mum has taught me)

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

I love feedback. I used to think I didn’t because when you’re a psychologist and your Director says ‘good job’, it’s pretty hard to feel like that’s valid because they don’t actually SEE your work. Then when I had my beautiful baby, I suddenly realised that actually, I had been getting feedback from multiple sources– from the gym where I was encouraged by trainers and felt increasingly fit, from my friends who I would meet out and they would say nice things about what you’d been doing (they’re great like that), from clients who I could see were making progress in part due to our work together, and from my colleagues who I would talk about cases with… even from the bank that would give me financial feedback and let me know I had been paid (or that I had spent too much on cheese at the markets or Mister Zimi). Suddenly, I was at home all the time with a newborn and there was no gym, no colleagues, no clients, no more wages, and limited social interaction. I had always chased the feeling (maybe even the reputation?) of being competent, and suddenly, there was no measurement of that. I found myself seeking it from my husband, the maternal child health nurse (whose appointment I found myself dressing up for*), and from the baby who couldn’t talk. Realising I needed validation initially felt like a weakness. Thankfully, I soon came to the conclusion that I was just human. AND (a very big AND) that I could give it to myself. When I found myself craving hearing some version of ‘good job’, I’d say it. Out loud. To myself. Hand on heart (I’ll post a video of this too) It might sound like this: I saw how connected you were today when you danced with your baby. It was beautiful. You’re doing a great job. Well done. I know how hard it was for you when your baby was crying and you were washing your hair (I’d shower with her in the bassinet in front of the shower). It was really hard. You did so well to get through that. I see how tired you are. It is really tough. I’m with you. You’re doing great. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t want it or ask for it from others, but this skill of validating myself quite literally changed my life. I use it a lot. I thank myself for doing the washing, making time for a walk, being patient with my children etc. One of the cool things about validating myself is that when other people do too, it feels more like a nice compliment than something I am desperately craving or ‘fishing’ for. If you’re not in the habit of asking yourself for what you need and then giving it to yourself first, give it a try. Putting your hand on your heart also releases oxytocin so it’s worth feeling a bit awkward to do this too (see Linda Graham’s work in you want to geek out on this more).

It starts with you. *dressing up at that time meant putting on a clean(ish) top and brushing my teeth

#newmums #mums #motherhood #somuchlearning #growth #selfsoothe #validation #tired #