Before I became a mother, I said and thought really, really stupid things. Truly, I am so embarrassed by these things, it makes me cringe just thinking about them. I was soooo naive. I remember having dinner with a mentor from my church, who had grown children, and she asked me if I was going to stay home once I had kids. Here was my answer (I’m cringing as I write this), “Well, if I do stay at home, I’m going to have at least 4 kids, so that it will be a challenge.” I seriously just threw up. Who did I think I was?!?! And here comes another painful thing to admit. I remember walking through Target and seeing a child scream and throw a fit, and I thought, “Oh, MY children won’t do that.” Seriously, can you believe I thought that?!?!
Well, that pride was stripped away within seconds of having my first, and thank goodness! That person needed a good humbling experience, and what a humbling experience the last 4 and half years have been for me. You see, ever since I had my boys, I have been fighting feelings of inadequacy. Especially since I had such unrealistic expectations to begin with! My head has been filled with thoughts like: “Why can’t you get your baby to stop crying?”, “Why aren’t you cherishing this 2am feeding?”, “Why don’t you love playing with play dough?”, “Why can’t you get your son to listen to you?”, “Why aren’t you happier as a mom?”, “Why do you get so frustrated with them…shouldn’t you be nicer?”, and “Why do you get so impatient?”. As you can imagine, all of these thoughts really had me down. And not to mention, were totally sucking the fun out of being a mom! I just kept wondering, “What’s wrong with ME?!?! IF you were a good mom, you would be able to do all of these things, and you would do them happily.” After all, “these years go by so fast” -AHHHHHHH! Well, I’m on the mend thanks to Dr. Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection“. In the book she had us take Dr. Neff’s Self Compassion Scale. I had the lowest possible score, ouch! I’m realizing that these kinds of thoughts are not OK, and I need to start being a little nicer to myself. One of my favorite quotes from her book was about self compassion.
“A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life” – Christopher K. Germer
I’m slowly but surely learning to be OK with myself as God made me, just the way I am. I’m allowing myself to realize that I’m really terrible at bringing both boys to the grocery store. Frankly it puts me in a really bad mood, because I’m really bad at multi-tasking, and that’s OK! I’m allowing myself to realize that if I wake up annoyed with how much my boys are talking, because I’m not a morning person, it’s OK! I still love them! I’m realizing that if I get frustrated and raise my voice at my boys, its OK! I still love them! In fact, when I apologize, it’s a teaching moment that no one is perfect and that apologizing isn’t a weakness, it’s an act of love! I’m realizing that if I don’t love playing Lego’s, it’s OK! I still love them! I’m letting go of the mom I think I should be and embracing the mom I am.
But you know what the best part about learning to be nicer to yourself is? You start being nicer to everyone else. You see, when I started to not expect myself to be perfect, I stopped expecting everyone else to be. I started to accept and love the people around me just the way they were, especially other moms. I started to understand and relate that we are ALL just trying to do our very best, and if we don’t start being nicer to ourselves, we will end up defeated. All of us! So, from one mother to another, let’s be nicer to ourselves, so that we can be nicer and more accepting of each other. This way we can all win, because we are all just trying to do our very best! Love to all of you on this Mother’s Day.
Now you know why I took a picture of this quote from my Lulu Lemon bag!