Lately, I’ve been quite surprised with myself over how toxic I’d let my thought patterns become. Over the years I’ve created this process of self-sabotaging that I continually allow myself to go through. I’ll have a wonderful thought or idea or a compliment from someone and within seconds I’ll have handfuls of reasons why it wasn’t a superb idea or how I’ll fail at it or this, that, and the other thing. It’s disheartening to live like that.
There are a few problems that I’ve run into with living like this. One is that you won’t ever make any progress or be successful (in whatever you choose) if that’s how you view yourself. The other is that if that’s what you’re made-up of, it will eventually bubble-up and spill over into your view of other people and the world around you.
I’ve been very pointedly trying to replace my negative self talk with positive, uplifting thoughts. It sounds so cheesy, but I do think that there is power in positive thinking for people like me. But it’s hard!
A light went on a few days ago shortly after a friend posted a picture on Facebook. It was a list of 10 things that people spend time thinking about too often. I read through the list and it’s safe to say that a large majority of my thoughts are taken-up by these things (number 3 & 7 especially).
After I read through the list I chuckled to myself. “Yup!” I said to mysef, “That’s me.” Later in the day when I had a bit of peace and quiet to do some soul-searching I was stopped in my tracks by a thought. I looked down at my body. I looked at my legs and my hands. I looked at my squishy post-baby tummy. One day this body will be rotting away and could be next week for all I know. Every day, every breath is unknown. We don’t have a right to the next day…it’s a gift, it’s a blessing. Yet I’m spending this gift and blessing on all the wrong things. I’m spending it worrying about everything and what people think. I’m spending it in fear of failing so I don’t even take steps to try. I’m spending it feeling overwhelmed by so many things that are inconsequential. How many days, months, years have I wasted with thinking this way!? I was sad for a little while after I thought about all of this.
I’m learning a lot about myself these days. I feel like God is pealing back all these layers and slowly revealing a vision of how He wants me to be. I need to set aside my fears and disappointments and follow Him. Life is too short to spend it absorbed in such silly things.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
I was sitting out on our steps this morning while Amelia was riding her scooter and waiting for a friend to get dropped off. The sun was shining, I had a cup of coffee in my hand, and the never-ending “Mom, look at this” or “Mom, watch what I can do” or “Mom, my friend Darci is 5 and she can whistle already and Max scraped BOTH of his knees and my and Kate’s favourite patrol is Denoso, but now he rides his bike to school so he’s not our bus patrol anymore but he’s still a crossing patrol so that’s okay and when is Jessica going to be here? We’re gonna ride scooters and watch a show and have a snack!” was going on in the background.
I can’t help but smile.
I thought about a few things that are going on right now and about a few things that are on the horizon. James and I are doing well. The kids are doing well. Not too much is changing all at once. I’ve been trying my best to work on some of the smaller “behind-the-scenes” things with myself.
I closed my eyes and said a prayer.
Today, I find that I am quite content and happy.
I often beat myself up over the way I mother. I know that I’m not the exception, most mom’s have a seriously flared-up case of mommy-guilt. We feel bad when we focus on our kids and not the house. We feel bad when we focus on the house and not the kids. We feel bad when we take time to take care of ourselves. We feel bad when we have a career and put our kids into care. We feel bad when we have to discipline our kids even though they’ve disobeyed. We look at other families and falsely tell ourselves that they don’t ever yell or want to strangle their children. We feel bad, we feel torn, we feel like we’re horrible mothers.
I was suffering from a momentary case of ‘woe-is-me-ism’ while standing in the kitchen this evening. I had blanked-out in front of my fridge and I’m sure I was thinking about something I’d done wrong earlier in the day (you know, reactive parenting) and when I ‘came to’ a few things stood out to me. The first thing that I saw was my kids chore chart being (somewhat) faithfully filled-in. In fact, Rhys had just taken a break from his video game to walk to the neighbours house to pick-up his sister then he was coming home to take the garbage out…all without complaints or a fuss. Just a “yes mom”. The second thing I noticed were all of the little pictures of our family that Amelia likes to draw. I’m depicted as having pink hair with long spindly fingers and James has a huge balloon head with a curly moustache, but she spends time drawing all of the people she loves and she gives her pictures to us with pride.
For some reason, tonight these two things spoke volumes to my mommy heart. So I lose my temper and react more times than I probably should…I’m a work in progress. The important thing is I see clear evidence that my kids are being taught and nurtured and cherished. I see them loving and serving their family, their friends and, most importantly, God. If I take a second and think back on the week, I see my so much to be proud of in my kids. Rhys made the whole family breakfast on Sunday morning without being asked. Amelia washed a whole sink full of dishes just to help out. Eli, well, he mainly just plays on his tummy.
There might be days where I need to take a deep breath, apologize and start again, but I need to stop beating myself up. I stopped my pity-party in its tracks and told inner-Bria that I AM a good mother, something that I should probably do more often.