Upon said reflection, I am aware that most of the pressure that I feel is self inflicted.
I am constantly supporting, encouraging and reassuring other women - and meaning it - but don't always extend that courtesy to myself!
Whether it's dissatisfaction with my body, guilt about my parenting prowess (and lack thereof) or negative feelings about how I'm fulfilling this wife/mother/friend/housekeeper/teacher/runner role I think I should be rocking
- it's my own standards I'm not meeting.
Realistically, I don't care if Mel B or Jessica has her bikini body back or if so-and-so only feeds her children organic produce from her lovingly tended garden.
'They' don't dictate my worth - I do.
Yes, society is putting unrealistic expectations on women to 'have it all', 'be it all', 'do it all'.
Yes, the media is bombarding us with unrealistic images of motherhood and stupid flippin' 'yummy mummies'.
But I know I am my own harshest critic.
I have a stronger sense of self than to look to outside sources for affirmation - or measure.
Yes - I received (and receive) 'interesting' looks and comments when I say that Missi is no longer breastfed - or worse actually produce a bottle.
But I wouldn't even notice those looks or comments if I didn't have my own prejudice going on in my head.
Yes, I have friends who are super diligent with their family's health and friends who cook amazing meals on a daily basis.
I know women who provide creative, crafty activities for their children constantly, who sacrifice more than I do and make me feel like crap.
But, I wouldn't feel like crap if it weren't for my own habit of comparing.
Comparing and always coming off second best.
It's not all bad though.
In some ways, this gives me a little freedom from other peoples' judgements.
"Go on little old lady - judge away. Say what you will. Look me up and down.
Stare at my beautiful baby with the large bottle in her mouth or the lovely little patch of baby spill on my shoulder that I didn't notice until now.
There's nothing you can think or say that I haven't already thunk or said to myself."
However, four + years in this mothering gig (and some fantastic realistic women to look to) is slooooowly teaching me to be kinder to myself.
To suppress that smart alec, know it all, judgy judgy Shar who likes to bring me down.
I'm learning to accept that it's ok.
It's ok to provide fairly boring but mostly nutritious meals most nights of the week.
But I still feel uncomfortable with having meals provided for/gifted to us! A work in progress. I should just accept that I have gorgeous friends!
It's ok to read a magazine, turn on the tv or blog for some down time in each day.
It's ok to make use of daycare or a friend's offer to pick up Magoo occasionally.
It's ok to expect some contribution from my partner - he is the other parent and householder after all.
It's ok to leave the baby in the travel capsule and bring it inside if she is comfortable and sleeping.
Or enjoy a meal with my boys while Missi dozes in the bouncer all askew - but content!
|It's ok, Mum!|
It's ok to say that being up all night, even with someone I love with all my heart, is exhausting and frustrating.
It's ok to be out and about with my children a lot because that makes me feel good.
It's ok to buy a bigger size in those jeans and cut myself some slack - because caring for my children and enjoying small pleasures take precedence over dieting right now.
It's ok to suggest a different (cleaner) activity because I can't be bothered with all that mess today.