Loving yourself is hard. In my opinion it is one of the hardest things to do. It is easy to love our kiddos, our spouses, our friends and family but it can be so challenging to really, truly love our self. Not like our self, but love who we are, right now. I don’t think I can say that I have always loved myself but this year I do. I am turning 40 this year and not only am I not bummed about it, I am downright excited. EXCITED! In the past I have struggled to feel like I am good enough. Good enough for what you say? Am I a good enough wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, earth loving recycler (yes, I feel like a failure if I throw one damn thing away).
When we are children we are in school and if you are a good student than you get good grades and praise from teachers and parents. That praise comes in an almost constant stream. I was a great student. I was just plain good at and loved school and that meant it was easy to feel good about myself when there was so much positive feedback.
After school you get a j-o-b. If you are good at your job then you will get raises, prime shifts and promotions. Put in the work and you will get positive reinforcement. You guys, I was decent at this too. That means my self esteem wasn’t terrible.
Fast forward a few years. I have a baby and leave the workforce to stay home with her. Being a mom is a thankless job, amiright? Being a parent is a thankless job. Babies don’t thank you for staying up all night with them, usually they just fuss all day as well, they don’t thank you for the diaper change, the money you spend, the time you spend, and it doesn’t get any better as they get older. I have teens now and boy are they ungrateful, and I don’t mean to make my kids sound bad, they aren’t, all I am saying is being a momma is not full of positive reinforcement.
I love being a mom but have floundered a bit since having babies. My three kiddos shook my confidence like nothing ever has before. Am I doing it right? Did I hold them enough, am I too hard on them, too easy, am I feeding them too much junk, teaching them balance, teaching them what is important? Did I mention that I am a perfectionist? Well I am. I want to do this life thing perfectly and that is just not reality. Also, the mommy scene messed with my head. I feel like I am too crunchy for the mainstream mom’s and not crunchy enough for the crunchy moms. I have heard about mommy wars, but I haven’t experienced that personally. I didn’t need to experience it to feel like shit. I did it to myself with all the pressure I put on myself to be perfect at everything. The mom’s I know have not made me feel judged, I made me feel judged. I was judging myself off of what other moms were doing. Girl, you can never win playing that game. You just can’t. And society! Society has this cruel joke going that women can do it all. Now I think women are badass, but I don’t think anyone can do everything. You must choose your priorities and let some shit go. Just let it go. And know that things will change, too. Today you may be letting housework go but next month or year it may be that you are letting cooking at home go. Seasons of life baby, seasons of life.
But things are different now. I have never been more comfortable in my skin than I am right now. I am completely ok with letting housework slide, so I can go run and I am completely ok with not being the best runner I know. I just do my best and to hell with the rest. How did I get here you ask? It took years of self-study and a lot of hard work. I have done therapy, energy work, I read a ton about the subjects that interest me and all that led me to realize I just need to be easier on myself. I also admitted that I was depressed. That was hard because for years I have been angry, but I never equated that with depression. I don’t get sad, I get mad and admitting that finally pushed me to talk to my dr and go the antidepressant route. I know this isn’t the road for everyone and that is ok, get help in whatever form feels right to you but for me it has been great! I feel so much more level and able to work on what I want to work on without the anger looming over everything like a dark cloud. I have also learned to set boundaries. Man is that hard, but it is necessary. You must set boundaries with everyone in your life so that you are not drowning but especially with those people that don’t make your life better. If there are toxic people in your life or people that don’t like you let that shit, go! You can’t make someone like you and they are entitled to their opinion. But you, you are absolutely entitled to your opinion too and allowed to only surround yourself with people that enjoy you for who you are. So, go set those boundaries. Start small. Don’t go trying to change your entire life in one day, it will fail, and you will feel bad about it. Pick one thing to say no to. I started by saying no to the PTA. I felt like I should be involved, and my kids would be happier if I was involved but I just don’t have time and it was so stressful. So, I started saying no to the PTA. It grew from there.
It has taken years but now I am ok with the messy house because I use that time to go run, which I love. I am ok if the kids are eating a few frozen meals, because while healthy eating is a passion of mine I hate cooking! I hate it! So I don’t do it every single day. I love my kids but am not a sit down and play with toys kind of mom. I am the let’s play a board game or go for a bike ride mom, and that is ok. I do the things I do well and leave the rest alone.
So set some boundaries, say yes to things you love and be at peace with what you can’t change. It will all be OK in the end. You are beautiful, strong and amazing. Revel in it. Soak it all in, and believe that your are nothing short of perfect!