Impostor Syndrome – Or Just Too Swamped?
You know, I nearly didn’t start this blog.
I’ve been mulling it over since Little B was born, and generally putting it off. Of course it’s easy to put things off when you have a baby to keep alive. You barely have time to clean your teeth for the first few months. Then the weaning starts and you’re busy chiselling dried up pea puree from every flipping surface. Then the blighters start crawling and tearing your house up – so there’s never a good time to be mucking around with a blog.
Impostor Syndrome – Look at All the Proper Mums!
But maybe the real reason is I wasn’t quite sure if I was a proper mum yet. At least not one that had anything useful to say. When I looked at other mummy blogs they all seemed to be juggling multiple kids and being gorgeous and hilarious all at once. Some of them even made dainty cupcakes and nice bits of jewellery out of pasta. Bloody hell. Maybe those are the proper mums. I don’t even have a proper mum car.
Then I had this strange, creeping sensation. Hang on a minute. Haven’t I felt like this before? Quite often even? Didn’t I read something about it once? Aha yes, there’s a word for this. And if there’s a word for it, it can’t just be me! It seems a bit like the thing they call Impostor Syndrome.
Hallelujah, I’m not just weird.
Now I’m not quite sure whether it can relate to being a mother, but it’s similar, and it’s definitely not the first time it’s reared its sinister head. So I looked it up again:
Bloody hell, I have all five. Is that even possible?!
Does Mummy Have Impostor Syndrome?
To explain, Impostor Syndrome is when people who are actually pretty good at stuff convince themselves they have no idea what they’re doing or how they got to be in this exclusive club. They’re just a faker, who will at some point be exposed.
Now I can’t go saying I’ve actually suffered from this psychological phenomenon. I’m no doctor, and I don’t sneak through life wearing a fake moustache in case the impostor police rock up in their special van to take me away. But it does feel eerily familiar. Is it just me? Or are you with me on this?
For example, I used to be a solicitor. I got a first in law, passed my post-grad qualification with a distinction, and worked as a solicitor for nearly ten years until I had Little B. I did some pretty good work and nobody kicked me out, so no reason to feel twitchy. And yet I always had this feeling that I wasn’t a real solicitor just yet. I had a list of absurd excuses, like “I never work ‘til midnight, I hardly ever wear a proper suit, I look nothing like Ally McBeal…”
Is Mummy A Real Writer Type?
Then there’s this writing thing. I love to write. I’ve written a 110,000 rom com novel which I’m still editing (three million years later). (Read more about that here). I’ve had some really positive feedback from The Romantic Novelists’ Association. I’m now writing this blog. I’ve even had articles published in Cotswold Life. That’s a glossy magazine for real grown up people!
And yet I’d never go around calling myself a writer, as my book baby is still in utero, as it were. I’m pretty determined that it will one day in print (even if I have to get the printer out myself) But to call myself a writer would surely bring the impostor police out in force. (Quick, where’s my swishy cloak.)
Is Mummy the Only Impostor?
Keen to check other people were living in the shadow of this odd phenomenon, I asked B-Daddy if he felt like this. He was a safe bet for it, I assured myself. On the inside we’re like two peas in the same odd little pod.
But no! B-Daddy does not feel this way. He accepts we’re all just winging it. He’s no more a faker than anyone else.
What?! I’m the bloody brazen one!
I should question him again. Maybe weave some doubts… Are you sure you really understand that funny computer job of yours? Maybe you’re just a sneaky fraud. Have you ever considered growing a moustache…
Of course I don’t want B-Daddy to doubt himself. But the morning I wrote this blog post he “accidentally” cut a mole off his face whilst shaving. Could he secretly be trying to disguise himself from those impostor police? Seems a bit extreme.
And then my mother-in-law appeared, looking all forlorn. She has a drawer full of art materials and a soul full of visions waiting to be painted, yet she’s too afraid to start. Because she’ll never be a real artist. Anything she creates will be a waste of good canvas, she tells me.
Don’t be so ridiculous, I cry. I’ve never heard such a thing!
If the feeling is there in your heart, bouncing away like an excited little imp, you will be good. Because a feeling like that is meant to be, and you must strive until you conquer.
Oh god, there was my answer! Wrapped up for me by the universe in a little parcel and delivered to me, unknowingly, by my mother-in-law.
Girl, have a word with yourself.
Dish out advice as you would to a friend, moustached husband or other kindly relative. You were a real solicitor (even if your trousers were only from Topshop), you will succeed as a writer of witty books about love, and god damn it you are a proper mother to a delightful, happy little kiddiwink. So back off, impostor police. We’re all just winging it anyway.
So do you sometimes get this odd feeling that you’re just a big, phoney impostor? Have you been growing a handlebar moustache, just in case? What is it that’s making you feel like the fake kid on the block? Or is it really just me. Please tell…
Give Me More!
So, you’re loving all these confessions? Why don’t you read the one where I win an award and confess seven more embarrassing things!
Or if you are struggling with self-doubt and comparing yourself to others, go and read my motivational kick about that too.
Click here to find out more about the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
To read about the proper mums, all gorgeous, hilarious and running awe-inspiring blogs:
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