Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Recovering Guilt Lady

Lately, we've run into a sweet stretch of lovely time here.

We've made friends visited throughout the week when we're lucky and on the weekends when we're luckier.  The kids have made their own friends who star in retold tales at dinner time and down time.  Details of coloring with Claire or indoor soccer scores embellished remembered with small grins and happy eyes.

Even Sadie and Sparrow feel a routine of feedings, walks, naps, repeat, settling into their days.

This is not to say I have been parenting well all the time.  Nor am I treating myself to daily afternoon tea.  It's just to say this is a positive rise in our family tides of swell and release.  And it's good.

Being a busy mom, I no longer have down time.  I dearly love down time.  When I was a teenager, I preferred to hang out in a rocking chair with my headphones on, surrounded by my family cooking and chatting upstairs to going out with my friends to a party.  There were actual grooves in our carpet from the hours I logged in that rocking chair.  Also, I know every lyric to Janet Jackson, Tori Amos, and Sting if you're ever in need. 

As a mom, one of the hardest struggles I've fought is dealing without down time.  Earplugs are temporary.  Hiding in the bathroom only makes them more creatively noisy.  Laundry piles not put away make my husband itchy.  There is always someone needing me to do something every single second of my one person life.  Before kids, I dreamed this is better than being famous.  What's better than people needing you, really depending on you?  I'll tell you what.  A three hour stretch of time with a trained masseuse banging on your shoulder blades while you slurp café mochas through a large hose.

I find it impossible to live moment by moment.  I think most of us do, really.  No momming necessary.  We'd have to take notes from our canine friends to see how living in the moment is professionally done.  Except Sadie.  She's a worrier.  We think that's how she stays so thin.

Within seconds of waking up I find myself unable to process anything in the moment.  I don't even pee first.  My thoughts crank me around the house like a wooden puppet, stalling then starting from the kitchen to the garage, circling back to the kitchen because I forgot my sunglasses.  I am the last thing to brush its teeth.

Like most of us at 6:30 a.m., I react to my surroundings rather than enjoy them.  This is completely ok.  Who rises with the sun on their eyelashes whilst soft bongo drums usher their consciousness into existence?  Ok, so that actually sounds really nice and if you do that, please comment to tell me how I can get started waking up that way.

Regardless of how insane my mornings have been, I try my darndest not to build my own panic into my children.  If I'm running late and find myself internally at MACH 3, I shut my mouth.  Very simple directions to myself:  Do Not Speak.  It helps everyone to no longer let that conversation out of my own reactive sleepy-head.   Those abrupt words only make my kids anxious and worriers themselves.  I'm disgusted proud it only took me 7 years to figure this out.

Pushing my kids to "Hurry up" or "Oh CRAP, we're late you guys, let's go!" only serves one purpose.  It feeds a Guilt Machine.  I rush them, they feel anxious, someone drops a cup of orange juice or an unzipped lunchbox, everyone loses their minds, and we all feel bad about mean things we all said two minutes later.  There are times when putting Abby's hair clippies in her hair have brought me to my knees.  Literally.  Tears streaming I am praying to God to just give me the patience to clip this child's ever moving hair successfully so we can leave the ever loving house.  Then I feel bad I made her sad, too.

See?  Guilt is useless and damaging.  The good news is that guilt is also preventive.

I'm at a place in life now where I try very hard not to speak from a reactive state.  To my children.  To myself.  To my husband.  He likes me more now because of it.  I can tell because yesterday he said I looked "fit" and then told me I was "fun to be around."  From a Marine, that is basically a marriage proposal.  Those are kind, big, heartfelt compliments that mean my work on myself is working.  It's also just beginning.

It's amazing what else gets better when I keep my own guilt in check.  My inner critic gets bored, my children notice I'm listening better, and there is more energy spent refining building supporting than chopping cutting spiraling.

By reminding myself to Hush, Not Rush, I have slowed myself down enough to see all the good I manifest instead of the not good enough.  As parents we think we can't blow our own horns.  I say if we don't stop to notice our good then the negative starts to grow larger in our minds again, bringing back the evil circuit of blame and shame.

Here's a few good things that have manifested as I slowed my internal roll:
  • Abby comes to me with "secrets" and things she's been afraid to tell me before.  Example:  I have discovered she needs tissues on the ride to school.  Trust me when I say there is a place in my van that nobody wants to touch.
  • Grayson hums again.
  • My husband smiles that gorgeous smile.
  • Feel grateful for my friends instead of worried they might not like me as much as I like them.
  • Rock some new canoe earrings without care they're kind of stupid.

  • Sadie doesn't lick her mouth constantly (nervous habit she picks up when I'm stressed, dear baby).
  • Sticking to my new workout routine - Circuit Weight Training at the gym 3xs a week - results in glorious energy I've missed so much.
  • We shoot for fun around here, not perfect.

So, don't be afraid to list off all the good you're doing.  It helps Bam! Boof! Pow! some of the stressors that happen naturally in our busy lives.  In fact, blow hard and see what happens.  Please practice blowing your horn here, believe me, I want to hear the good you're manifesting throughout your day even if you think it's no big deal.  It is.  It's a big deal with beads on.




Anna See said...

Love this! I have tooo much down time and need to engage more these days.

Andrea Mowery said...

So good. I am not a great horn tooter. You are right - when we do, it displaces the negativity and makes everything better.