I read something by way of a Facebook post recently (apologies for not having the source...) that included the idea that we often need to cut ourselves the slack we would give to our friends. This really resonated with me as a mom, friend, wife, and woman. So often I find myself feeling guilty for letting Noah watch Mighty Machines while I get lunch thrown together, or beat myself up for missing a workout. Yet, if a friend calls and feels guilty for the exact.same.things. I am the first one to say, "You are being ridiculous...it's one day...you are an amazing (wife, mom, friend), and it's ok". It's ok. I don't know where the enormous pressure we put on ourselves comes from but in the past few days I have told myself on a number of occasions..."it's ok". And, guess what, I feel better leaving the guilt behind. I am actually able to focus on the things I did good versus the guilt of what I would have liked to have done better.
Speaking of the self inflicted guilt, I told Scott the other day that I am actually so happy that we are having another boy and that we won't be raising girls. The amount of pressure that we, as women, put on ourselves is insane. And it starts FAR too early. The amount of background dialogue that runs through my head in any given moment is really unfortunate and I cannot be the only one to experience this. For example, sitting at a lunch enjoying time with a friend and all the while thinking about whether my hair is getting stringy, that zit I covered up this morning is showing, if I should order what I really want or the salad (I have no problem pigging out in front of my husband, but in front of a girlfriend...rarely!), if my tank top is cutting into my "armpit fat". This is ridiculous and it takes away from the time I should be enjoying with the person I am with (because I can assure you I am not remotely aware of any of these things happening to her, nor would I care if it was). Yet, I do believe this is the plight of women. We are constantly judging ourselves and, unfortunately, often one another. However, the self judging and pressure far exceed that which we place on others. I am trying to let some of this go. To allow myself some room to breathe and enjoy myself and my life without the constant stream of thoughts and criticism running through the back of my mind. You could boil this down to "being present" but I think it is more than that. It is checking the insecurities at the door and embracing some self confidence. It is taking the compliments we receive and believing them versus shooting them down. I am the first one to shrug off a compliment versus saying "thank you" and adding that to my self confidence piggy bank. Instead, I am now going to start saving those pennies and cashing them in when the little negative thought monster starts creeping in. I can assure you I will still have pouty "I feel fat" or "I was a lousy mom" today moments but I am hoping to ease up on the self pressure a bit!
Back to having boys...Don't get me wrong, I know my boys will have their fair share of challenges and self doubt. It will be uncharted for me as I have no brothers nor experience being a boy ;-). Yet, I have to imagine that the insane amount of self introspection that girls experience has to be less for boys. Or maybe I am naive and will be facing a rude awakening as my boys examine their muscles, practice their corner kicks, and gel their hair.
It all kind of reminds me of the scene in Eat, Pray, Love where they are eating pizza and Elizabeth Gilbert encourages her friend to indulge in the pizza and says, "I have no interest in being obese, I'm just through with the guilt". I think this is a very applicable statement to how I am trying to think lately. I have no interest in letting my parenting rules disappear, or giving up looking nice for a dinner with friends. However, I am going to stop making apologies or worrying (well, worrying less) when things slip or I miss a workout here or there (which is often in favor of spending time with my family...so why feel guilty for that?!). And, by golly (yes, I just used "by golly" on the blog), if I want to indulge in a giant bowl of pasta, I am going to enjoy it, not hate myself the minute I finish it. Make the choice, savor the process, and resume normal habits at the next opportunity.
So, that is hopefully my new lease on life. I hope to be able to continue to cut myself the same slack I so truthfully and easily give to my friends. Or, maybe I am just 31 weeks pregnant, with hips that are making me feel like I'm 80 and looking for excuses to sit on the couch and let Noah watch Cars ;-).