I spent a lot of time this Christmas break reading some new, deliciously amazing self help books. I am a sucker for finding new ways to improve myself because in a way I have always felt like I needed to. I’m deeply flawed and can find about 3,287 faults within myself on a daily basis. I’m hard on myself, always. This amped up more when I became a mother and creates anxiety and stress on a constant basis. I’ve always looked at things I do or don’t do in a negative light, like I was broken or weird in some way and felt that I could fight these quirks and change. For the better! It wasn’t until I read Carry On, Warrior this past week (and bookmarked the whole darn thing on my Kindle), that I have thought that perhaps I am too hard on myself? Why do I focus on my faults instead of embracing them?
Here are some of the things I think I feel guilty about.
>I don’t find a lot of enjoyment playing pretend games with my kids. If you put My Little Ponys’ in my hand and ask me to play, I just end up brushing their hair and organizing their accessories. I don’t like building sandcastles at the beach, or playing tag in the front yard, or building train tracks for Thomas. Do I do these things? Well, sometimes, but it isn’t something I love and I say no more than I say yes.
>I think motherhood can be boring in so many ways. The monotony of doing and saying the same thing day in and day out. Answering questions that seem to drop your I.Q ten points. Putting together a 200 piece Lego tree house. Feeling guilty because raising children is infinitely harder and more mind numbing than I ever thought. Feeling guilty because, aren’t mothers supposed to love and cherish every second because it is going to be over before we know it?
> I hate cooking. Maybe hate is a strong word, but planning, shopping for and creating meals on a daily and weekly basis is a hassle to me, and if I ever struck it rich I would hire a cook, right now. Entertaining also freaks me out, the pressure to create wonderful meals and have a super perfect home and perfect table settings. I love parties and going to them, but having to throw one myself? It strikes fear in my heart. I almost always take the easy way out, not planning much in terms of get togethers and sort of hibernating in the comfort of my own family. I cook because I have to and because my family needs to eat, but I don’t like it.
>I have to force myself to be a good friend. I am a very introspective, self contained person and find great comfort in my own home with my things around me. My first instinct when asked anything is to say no. I typically have to be dragged out to social events (which my good friends know, thankfully!) and I am pretty shy at first. I am definitely more of a one on one friend than a crowd friend.
Here is where my epiphany happened.
Why do I have to apologize or feel bad for the things I am not good at?
I’m not a huge participant in kids play, but I do love going out and about and exploring with my kids, and watching movies with them or reading books. I love doing simple crafts with my daughter and snuggling with my son. I write them notes in their lunch boxes everyday, because when I was little, my friend’s mom did this, and I still remember it. I can be silly with them and plan carpet picnics and build living room forts. They may remember me sitting beside them and reading while they play more than me actually playing with them, but they will know I adore them and that they are the best things that ever happened to me. They will know that they have been a gift in my life and that their faces are my heart. I hug and kiss them a thousand times a day and tell them I love them, constantly. I keep a nice home and love their dad passionately and I’m there for them, always. I’d like to think that a Mother’s love for her kids is like the concept of the universe, it is never-ending and so much bigger than we will ever know. There may be a thousand moments in the day where I roll my eyes behind their backs and refuse to let them put makeup on me, but it’s an honest life and despite the craziness, they are my happiness.
I also may not be a great chef and a fabulous hostess, but if you come in my home I promise you a meal where you will feel comfortable and welcome, (as long as you know you may have to get yourself a drink and will most likely have a paper towel napkin.) I’ll serve from the stove and will probably have my yoga pants on, but the house will be inviting and clean(ish) and I promise to do my best to have you leave happier than when you came in. I’d like to think that the people I invite into my home are there for me, not perfection. I don’t expect perfection out of those homes I go to, so why do I do it to myself?
I’m not the person with a zillion friends, but my closest friends, those that I speak to constantly and are my backbone most days, these friends know me and respect me and seem to love me for who I am. They may laugh at my inability to get out of the house, or know that I am really very much inside my own head most of the time, yet they support me and sustain me and make me a better person in the end. They make me see what a good friend is and create the need in me to be the same for them.
Finally, I feel like I am a pretty good advice giver, yet when it comes to myself I dig up my perceived faults and beat my self up over them. The solution? Turning these faults into something that just is and looking at what I do right. Being content with the way I am and not beating myself up over it. I may not be the best cook, or the perfect person to call for a night out, or the mom at the park playing hide and seek, but I am me. I’d rather focus on the things I do well and improve those instead of worrying about faults that may, in the end, just be something that doesn’t really matter after all.
Tell me, what do you beat yourself up about?