I will preface this with the fact that I do not have any tiny humans that I’m being charged to raise into fully functioning adults. I am only a 30 something single woman who has wanted to be a mom her whole life, but has instead been given the opportunity to read lots of self-help books & articles before spending a year in therapy. Also all of my friends have kids from pre-born to teenagers to young adults, so I’ve been doing a lot of observing and thinking as of late. So take this for what it’s worth with that in mind, but these are some things I’ve been wrestling with lately, so I’m going to share.
We create our own situations of ‘not being enough’ when we think we might actually be handling it.
We make things more complicated than they actually are, I think, subconsciously, to prove how many complicated things we can do (mostly to ourselves).
We even feel guilty for not feeling mom/wife/sister/friend/daughter guilt. We say, “I feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty right now.”
When we hear someone say they make bread from scratch or read a lot of books or works out each morning, we feel compelled to give all the reasons why we don’t do that. [I don’t do those things in order to make you feel inadequate, they fit into my lifestyle right now. There’s no judgement. Why do we presume judgement?]
I think that’s what it comes down to: We presume people are judging us. ALL OF THE TIME. We say “I don’t judge other people,” but in the same breath we act like the opinions of other people are all we care about for ourselves.
The fact of the matter is that anyone’s who opinion about your that matters is not sitting around judging you and what you’re doing with your spouse, kids, work, yard, car care, cooking, driving, tv watching, book reading, exercise doing, etc., etc., etc. Anyone who is judging you isn’t someone who’s opinion about your matters. Period.
We focus on other people’s opinions way too much. And I know, here’s a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. I can dive into this as well … but the truth of the matter is that we are all just doing the best that we can with the tools that we have. That’s all that matters. You doing the best you can with the tools you have today. Could you get better tools? Maybe, but right now might not be the season for you to cook everything from scratch, read all the books, or wake up an hour earlier to work out.
I know it’s not as simple as me saying “stop feeling guilty” and then you’ll magically stop feeling guilty. However, we can work on this though, one step at a time.
We can stop worrying about what other people think of us.
We can stop comparing our lives to those depicted on Instagram.
We can stop asking what other people think if the only reason we’re doing that is to measure ourselves as less than them or show someone else how great we’re doing.
We can stop letting guilt take over our lives.
We need to figure out how to transform our inner critic into our inner champion. The truth is that we are doing the best we can right now and shaming ourselves doesn’t do anything useful.
How? Some of my favorite books about this are: Dare to Lead, Daring Greatly, I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t), Unworried, Girl, Wash Your Face, It’s Okay To Start With You, Why Her?, Uninvited, The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity, One Beautiful Dream, and The Catholic Table. Those are the best self-help, be a better Christian, silence the inner critic books I read in recent memory.
If this sounds crazy, too overwhelming, or impossible, carve out some time to talk to a counselor. You’re worth more than the judgments and opinions of other people. You’re worth more than your anxiety and just ‘deciding to do something different’ might not be the best way for you to work through this. Taking time to work on you is a very valuable way to spend time and money. If we aren’t our best, then we can’t give our best. We’ll spend our time making ourselves and others miserable, not on purpose, but because we can’t get out of the rock we’re under.
*p.s. I started typing this post with the title “the one where everyone gets mad at me” … because I really just want to yell from the mountaintop “stop making mom guilt a thing that we celebrate” but I decided this was a bigger issue than just one thing.