Explore the Too-Good Mother Archetype

Exploring our inner self takes courage and tenacity to stay the course. Looking inward is an important tool for creating sustainable change in our life and in our families. Sometimes asking questions can start a whole new wave of truth that we wouldn’t have noticed had we not taken the time to ask.

Here are a few Journal Exercises from my book (Living in the Shadow of the Too-Good Mother Archetype) that explore the idealization and suppression of mothers, unrealistic expectations, judgement and guilt.

  1.     What does the word “sacrifice” mean to you as a mother?
  2.     When are times that you think it is necessary to sacrifice as a mother?
  3.     How do you feel that our culture simultaneously idealizes and suppresses women?
  4.     What are some memories of your mother in relation to sacrifice?
  5.     What would a more balanced role of mother look like?
  6.     How can women live out the feminine values of nurturance, cooperation, compassion, and relatedness without so much sacrifice?
  7.     In what areas of your life do you feel like you have to look good?
  8.     What memories do you have about your mother and her need to be perfect?
  9.     Make a list of the things that have to get done, and a list of the things that you can let go of for awhile.  Is it hard to tell the difference?
  10.     How do you think the need to keep up appearances affects children?
  11.     How do you think that our American culture influences the “Martha Stewart Complex”?

With love,

Patti Ashley, Ph.D., Licensed Professional Counsellor

& Author of ‘Living in the Shadow of the Too-Good Mother Archetype’


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