This is me, just a few minutes ago. And no, this isn't an old person's sad attempt at "duck face"—it's me exhaling. Because I just took a big, deep breath.
Today started out so good. I had some good articles scheduled to run on this here site, as I am the editor. Articles I really loved and believed in. I was happily expecting the woman who comes to deep clean my house every two weeks, a gift my husband gave me when I started working a couple of years ago. A gift, that honestly, enables me to spend more time with my kids when they are home from school and I am done with work.
Then a reminder dinged on my phone: "Haircut 10:00 a.m." Ummm. WHAT? I thought that was WEDNESDAY? Nope, apparently I can't read a calendar. How could I be so stupid? It was in 30 minutes. Yikes! I messaged my boss that I was stepping out and quickly texted the cleaning lady that I'd leave the door unlocked. I paused the work that I had been so confident in and raced out the door.
NOT leaving it unlocked for the cleaning lady.
Halfway there I realized my mistake and when I arrived I texted her that I was so sorry, and she said she could still come when I got home.
Before walking into the salon I checked my website traffic on my phone and discovered those posts I loved so much had gone largely unseen.
"It's 10 a.m. and I'm up to three giant fails already," I thought. "I pretty much hate myself."
As extreme as that sounds, I am just going to admit that I say those 5 words to myself all the time. I regularly confess this sentiment to my husband, who then encourages me that I'm being too hard on myself, as good husbands do.
Thinking back over the last week, I can recall several times when I've thought this to myself.
- When I couldn't find my kindergartener's winter coat ANYWHERE, and had to order a new one (and send him to school in 25 degree cold in a thick jacket, hat, and gloves.) Seriously, my other kids' coats are right where they should be. WHERE IS HIS COAT??
- When I snapped at my daughter because I could not stand to hear one more play-by-play of every minute of her favorite TV show.
- When I thought my son was choking on an apple slice at lunch on Saturday and I panicked and yelled a not-so-savory 4-letter word as I launched myself across the room to get to him. (Naturally he was NOT, in fact, choking.)
- When I bent down to pick up a dropped earring off the floor and got my hair painfully stuck in our laundry hamper (really? WHO DOES THAT? It took me about 30 seconds to free myself as my youngest watched me. I didn't cuss, can I get some points for that?)
- When I cringed at the sight of the carpool arriving at my home after school when I really, really wasn't ready for the kids to be home yet (nice, mom. Real nice.)
- When I cried at everything, ALWAYS, because I can never keep my emotions in check.
- And (this is my favorite) for making such a big deal out of little things. Like most of the previous items on this list.
I mean, I could go on. But I don't want any of my family members to have me committed, so I'll stop here.
In case you haven't guessed, I'm a little hard on myself.
And the truth is? So are most of the moms I know.
So, Mamas? If you are there with me, if you find yourself saying, "I pretty much hate myself," or "I'm so stupid," or "I'm a terrible mother." I'm gonna invite you to do what I just did, and take a deep, deep breath. I'll wait...Okay, let it out. Breathe, girlfriend. Then get ourt your sharpest pair of scissors and cut yourself some slack.
Here's the thing, girls, and I am CLEARLY talking to myself and much as I am talking to you: we are NEVER going to measure up to the impossible standards we set for ourselves. And as I go back over my list, my reasons for self-hatred, I'm finding that...they really aren't good reasons at all. Because...
- My child did not freeze. His new coat arrived today. The old one was a hand-me-down, so I didn't ACTUALLY throw away money, at least.
- My daughter is extremely sweet and forgiving. And also? Her constant chatter is the result of that 2 years or speech therapy I paid for.
- My son wasn't choking, and my freak out is just a measure of my deep love for him. My children WILL hear that word somewhere, and now they know that their mother is not infallible and impossible to measure up to.
- The hairs that the laundry hamper pulled out were mostly gray ones.
- As soon as the kids came in the house from school, I forgot I wasn't ready for them to be home yet.
- My emotions are a measure of how hard and deep I love those around me and care about what I do.
- Paying attention to the little things means I never cease to see what REALLY matters.
Are you still with me, Mamas? Take one more good, deep breath.
When I am HARD on myself, overly hard like that? The truth is, that's me letting Satan creep up on the good gifts God has given me. No, I'm not perfect, but I am perfectly loved by a perfect Creator. And the next time I catch myself saying "I pretty much hate myself," I am going to immediately follow that up with by saying out loud that I have "the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge," from Him "who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us..." (Ephesians 3:19-20).
And I'm going to remember WHO I am, not what I've done or failed to do.
And then I'm gonna take another big deep breath, and another exhale, and begin again.
I hope you will, too.